A win for religious liberty: School reverses ban on Christian Club
By Todd StarnesPublished October 10, 2014FoxNews.com
A New York high school reversed its decision to ban Christian students from forming a club under the threat of a federal discrimination lawsuit.
Administrators at Ward Melville High School in Long Island said they will grant Students United in Faith permission to meet on campus.
“Please be advised the district has decided to alter its position on this issue,” wrote John Sheahan, an attorney for the Three Village Central School District. “In light of this change, the district will grant SUIF recognition as a student group for the 2014-15 school year and reverses any contrary decision.”
“John Raney and Jeremy Johnson may just be high school students, but they did more for liberty than all of Washington, D.C.”
– Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser
Their decision came two days after I told you about the district’s bullying. The school district’s attorney wrote that it “generally denied” accusations they had violated the Equal Access Act.
“We are hoping that the school doesn’t make this an annual tradition of violating the Equal Access Act,” said Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser.
Liberty Institute is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases. They represented club founders John Raney and Jeremy Johnson. The boys wanted to start the club to provide a safe space for Christian teenagers as well as perform community service projects.
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Since the school had a fishing club and a Gay-Straight Alliance, Sasser said they were obligated to have a Christian club, too.
“Simply put, public schools cannot discriminate against religious clubs and must treat them equally and provide them equal access to school facilities, as non-religious clubs,” he said.
The school district pulled the same stunt last year but reversed its ban after the students retained the services of Liberty Institute. So when the district denied the club this year, the students once again called Liberty Institute.
The school district seems a little slow on the uptake, as we say down South.
Sasser heaped praise on the two teenagers for their courageous stand against the school district.
“John Raney and Jeremy Johnson may just be high school students, but they did more for liberty than all of Washington, D.C.,” he said.
I concur. We are witnessing young American Christians taking a bold stand for religious liberty. I write about these young people in my new book: “God Less America.”
“Congress can pass laws and the courts can issue opinions, but if great Americans like John Raney and Jeremy Johnson don’t take a bold stand for freedom, we will all lose our liberty,” Sasser said.
The Three Village Central School District made the right decision. It was under duress, but they made the right decision.
After two consecutive years, let’s just hope they’ve learned their lesson and will stop bullying Christian teenagers.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is “God Less America.”