Now, this one is a stickler for me. In this CNN article a mother and her daughter are suing to allow the girl to tell her fellow students about Jesus Christ:
The flier, about the size of a greeting card, starts out: “Hi! My name is Michaela and I would like to tell you about my life and how Jesus Christ gave me a new one.” The flier mentions five ways in which Jesus had come into her life.
“This is nothing less than viewpoint discrimination,” said Mat Staver, an attorney and executive director of Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Florida-based conservative legal group that is representing Bloodgood.
According to the lawsuit, Liverpool officials said Michaela could not distribute it because her flier was religious and that there was “a substantial probability” that other parents and students might misunderstand and presume that the district was “endorsing” the religious statements in the flier.
At first glance, it seemed to me to be the right decision on the part of the school. But then I thought: should they allow her to wear a t-shirt to school that said “Ask Me About My Life With Jesus”? Sure, that’s freedom of expression, just as students ought to be able to wear Kerry t-shirts.
So what’s the difference?
It’s something about the fliers that bothers me. I’d object to letting a student hand out fliers campaigning for any other religion. Would I object to fliers addressing a political issue? Again, probably not. So what is it about the combination of religious proselytizing and the distribution of fliers that bugs me, that seems like more than a free speech issue?
If you can figure it out, please let me know.