Crandall: ban religious censorship in schools

by David Safier
Here we go again. A student had a picture of a bloody Christ on the cross on her notebook. Another student complained, and the teacher sent the student to the principal, who said the student couldn't bring the notebook to school.

The student had a right to complain about the notebook. A student can complain if someone is wearing a Smurf t shirt. But the teacher should have stuck up for the kid with the Christ notebook. And if not, the principal should have stood up for her right to bring the notebook to school.

Teacher and principal made a mistake, taking away a student's right to personal expression without a good reason. Students lose some of their rights when they step into the school building, but only if a student's right to free expression creates a situation where another student would rightfully feel uncomfortable or threatened. That's not the case here.

So two people screwed up. It happens all the time. Slap them on the wrist, tell them to do better next time, and let the student parade around the school proudly with the Christ notebook, feeling she won a battle for her faith.

But Rich Crandall wants to use this as an excuse to promote the annual Religious Expression in Schools law. Not only is it unnecessary. It's very problematic.

Example. A kid wears a t shirt that says, "Christ was right. Mohammed was wrong." It's an expression of religious belief. So another kid wears a shirt that says, "Christians do not know the true faith. Praise Allah!" And another kid wears a shirt that says, "God hates homos." Another wears "The Jews killed Christ." And so on.

Does Crandall want to protect any religious speech, no matter how offensive it may be to members of other groups? I doubt it — if it offends Christians, that is. What he and the folks at the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group, want is to allow Christian expression to flourish, probably with the right kind of prayer thrown into the mix. As for members of other religions? Something tells me a notebook that says, "Christ died for nothing, the idiot!" with an offensive cartoon of Jesus wouldn't go over so well with Crandall and his friends.

0 responses to “Crandall: ban religious censorship in schools

  1. Nobama, what is it about “stick to the topic of the post” that you don’t understand? It’s the unwritten rule here on Blog for Arizona: let’s have a conversation about the posted topic. It makes for interesting back and forth. Everyone seems to understand but you.

    That’s two comments I deleted this time.

  2. This stuff always boggles me.

    I went to Catholic schools and no one carried around Jesus pictures.

    These guys will write a bill protecting a kid’s religious ornamentation but are against protecting the same kids from getting strip searched for Advil.

  3. This bill is sponsored by the Center for Arizona Policy, which has a Judeo-Christian bias. If this bill truly protects freedom of religious expression, will the CAP’s lawyers come to the legal defense of students who express their religious faith or beliefs in Islam? Buddhism? Shinto? Hinduism? Sikhism? Baha’i? Zoroastrianism?

    What about Paganism? Wicca? or Atheism?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so. That would be so ACLU of you.

    Be careful what you wish for CAP: freedom for one faith or belief is freedom for all. It is a requirement of constitutional equal protection.