A school fundraising program returned $45,000 in order to avoid Biblical verses paved in stone.
Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, Calif., was raising money for memorial bricks to be installed in walkways of the school, but decided against it after two women wanted Bible verses in their tributes.
The women have since filed suit against the school district to try and get a court to compel the school to allow their scripture bricks.
To avoid that, the school halted the program entirely and refunded the money of anyone who paid for a brick. That’s according to a court filing earlier this month with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Not surprisingly, some religious-type folks aren’t too happy.
“Christians should be allowed to express themselves on public school campuses just like everyone else,” David Cortman, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a written statement to Fox News. Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian organization, initiated the lawsuit for the two women involved.
“It is cowardly to shut down everyone’s participation in this program simply out of animosity toward Christian speech. There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about a Bible verse on a brick when a school opens up a program for anyone to express a personal message. The school could simply have allowed the Bible verses, but instead, it chose to punish everyone.”
Cortman’s organization argued that hundreds of other messages had been accepted for the bricks, including inspirational and religious themes, such as a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and a Bible quote written in Spanish.
The women who filed suit were told that they would not be included in the brick program because theirs contained “religious content [that] risked an unconstitutional establishment of religion.”
When the brick program was created, no limitations were given about the content of the messages. The idea was to “create a legacy, commemorate a special event or given recognition to various entities.”
It seems to me to be a great shame that the school is turning away $45,000, as few schools these days appear to be flush with cash. However, if there wasn’t a concrete limitation about what could be inscribed on the bricks (which there clearly should have been), it does seem unfair to allow some to include religious and spiritual content and not others. Perhaps the school will think about setting clear and definitive guidelines in advance should they choose to do the program again.
Do you think the school should have established guidelines for the brick program in the first place? Since they didn’t, should they have allowed the bricks to be inscribed with anything?
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