Earlier this year, Louisiana’s Bossier Parish School Board decided to settle a lawsuit they were undoubtedly going to lose. Several schools in the district had violated the Constitution by promoting Christianity at every turn. You had coaches praying with students, Christian prayers recited over the loudspeakers before football games, school events held at churches, choir performances including (almost exclusively) Christian worship music, Creationism in the classroom, etc.
Any one of those things would be a problem. This District was doing all of them.
The Board eventually settled the lawsuit. Instead of fighting it and losing and having to pay out millions of dollars in potential fines and fees, they promised to just follow the law.
They also signed the settlement knowing there would be hell to pay if they violated the law again.
This month, the student newspaper for Airline High School (which is in the District) planned an issue in which the front page would feature a Christmas tree with snowflake-shaped ornaments, each saying what Christmas meant to a handful of students. One of those ornaments apparently said “I love Jesus” on it.
Just as that issue was being sent to the printers, though, the principal informed the newspaper’s faculty sponsor that the District decided that was a violation of the law — or at least too close for comfort. That issue could not be printed as is because it could be seen as yet another promotion of Christianity and open up litigation yet again.
The front page was indeed canceled… and replaced with a blank front page. A kind of protest against the law.
Now, Randy Brown, the publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune, which also publishes the student newspaper, is speaking out on behalf of the Christian supremacists.
In the Airline school newspaper situation, the bottom line is that while someone else’s First Amendment rights were upheld, the rights of the majority of the students were violated. In this case, the voice of Christianity was silenced. What a tragedy!
… Isn’t it a shame and an unspeakable tragedy that in today’s United States of America, a student expressing “I Love Jesus” on the front page of a school newspaper is seen as unacceptable.
Folks, we have to stand up. Christianity is under attack. We must stand strong together as one in all Christian faiths. As one of my favorite pastors and good friends prayed at an event that I attended a few weeks ago, it is time for the denominational walls to come down and for us to stand together as Christians. Well said, my friend, well said.
This whiner doesn’t understand the issues since this has nothing to do with censorship. It’s not even like some outside group called for a new front page. This is the District trying to cover its own ass. That’s all. They’re spooked and they want to play it safe. That’s their decision. I can’t blame them.
The irony is that a school newspaper front page that included a variety of students’ opinions about the meaning of Christmas — including religious ones — would arguably be legal. But when you have a long history of promoting Christianity, it’s better to just avoid the situation whenever you can.
Brown, lazy as he is, is blaming a fictional anti-Christian culture. He should really be blaming the District for breaking the rules so frequently, and for so long, that even something as innocuous as a school newspaper has to come under additional scrutiny.
(Featured image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)