Free Speech at Wilmington, NC School

By Anthony | March 8th, 2007 | 9:10 am

The Alliance Defense Fund successfully defended a Wilmington, NC high school student who was suspended for handing out “Day of Truth” material which spoke out against homosexuality and for wearing a religiously themed t-shirt while at school. I don’t agree with the purpose of the material he was distributing, but I do think that the ADF was on the right side of this case – the student, Benjamin Arthurs, should have been allowed to hand out the literature and wear the t-shirt, providing it wasn’t disrupting class.

This is especially true considering the reason that the principal gave for taking action against Arthurs, which allegedly was because “religion is not allowed in school”. Hogwash. Of course, this is probably another example of what I’ve spoken of before, where a school administrator may be skittish on the issue of religious expression simply due to the rantings of anti-ACLU folks who would have us (incorrectly) believe that the ACLU is always hauling people into court for allowing religious expression.

I think its unfortunate that Arthurs felt that his religion compelled him to distribute an anti-homosexual message, but I believe he still has the right to do so.

(Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

2 Responses to “Free Speech at Wilmington, NC School”

  1. Joe Guarino Says:

    Anthony, it is certainly possible that school administrators may be skittish because of anti-ACLU ramblings. But it is also possible that teachers and administrators are skittish because they are justifiably concerned about their jobs.

  2. PotatoStew Says:

    Thanks for the comment Joe. They may indeed be concerned about their jobs, but it’s likely that in some cases that concern is because of the fear and uncertainty spread by some of the “War on Christianity” contingent. How many teachers and administrators really understand what the First Amendment allows in schools? Without a firm grasp of their own, what are they to make of misleading rants about the ACLU suing anyone and everyone for religious expression? If the principal in this case actually understood what was really allowed, this problem wouldn’t have occurred. However, “religion is not allowed in school” sounds to me like something straight out of a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell diatribe.