Of course, this merits a lawsuit. And in a perfect example of why we need more conservative judges on the federal bench (and all other benches, for that matter):
In 2000, a New York federal court ruled that the school had the right to censor the poster on the grounds of separation of church and state.
A second court ruled in favor of the school again last year, but on Tuesday, a three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan unanimously decided that Peck’s constitutional rights may have been violated and recommended the case back to court once again.
Hard to believe. And did you catch that year there? This started 5 years ago. It's taken 5 years and we still haven't determined, once and for all, whether or not a kindergartener's inclusion of Jesus on a poster merits official concern and worry.
I guess that if this were absolutely clear there wouldn't be all this hand-wringing. However it does, in fact, seem perfectly clear to me--the 1st Amendment prohibits government from establishing religion (a la the Church of England), not from recognizing religion exists, or even from supporting religion on occasion. As examples I always hold out the chaplain of the US House of Representatives, the National Cathedral, and chaplains in the military and chapels on military installations. Let's also not forget that we don't tax churches. This "wall of separation between church and state"--perhaps I should read Jefferson's letter that included that comment so I can understand the context in which he was writing, but I doubt it would include not hanging up a 5-year-old's poster.
Now this seems perfectly clear and reasonable to me:
“To allow a kindergarten poster to be displayed for a few hours on a cafeteria wall, along with 80 other student posters, is far from an establishment of religion. To censor the poster solely because some might perceive a portion of it to be religious is an egregious violation of the Constitution," he said.
Of course, this is from the kid's attorney.
And then there's this, highlighting the interesting and oft-overlooked point that Circuit (Appeals) Court decisions are applicable only within the states covered by that particular Circuit Court:
In the Peck vs. Baldwinsville School District case, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals joined with the ninth and eleventh Circuit Courts who hold the view that discrimination--even in the public school setting--is unconstitutional.
Conversely, the first and tenth Circuit Courts opine that discrimination in the public school context is permissible.
This split in opinion could land Antonio in the Supreme Court--something which Staver says he would be all for.
I hope that even my anti-religious/lefty readers can agree that the school's action here was stupid stupid stupid.
Update: Here's an article which discusses the above case as well as other points I've made previously. Perhaps the author is reading this blog :-) Here are a couple tidbits:
This time around, the folks with the magnifying glasses are leaning on the village of Tijeras, N.M., whose seal contains a conquistador's helmet and sword, a scroll, a desert plant, a fairly large religious symbol (the Native American zia) and a quite small Christian cross. "Tiny cross" inspectors are not permitted to fret about large non-Christian religious symbols, only undersized Christian ones, so the ACLU filed suit to get the cross removed....
As if to prove that church-state objections can be found on the right as well as on the left, the band director at C.D. Hylton High School in Virginia pulled the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band after a conservative objected. He wondered why the school should be allowed to sing about the devil when they are not allowed to sing about God.
Next week: The ACLU sues to ban deviled eggs from the school cafeteria.