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School Committee Lawyers Call ACLU Suit an Attempt to 'Erase History'

The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty issued a press release that blasted the ALCU suit against a prayer banner at Cranston West as a "misguided attempt to erase history." shortly after an ACLU press conference on Monday.

Lawyers for the Cranston School Committee said the lawsuit filed by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union yesterday against a prayer banner at Cranston West is a “misguided attempt to erase history.”

In a release issued by the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, which is giving the Cranston School Committee free legal representation, the committee said the student-designed mural “has existed in Cranston High School West's auditorium for almost 50 years” and the lawsuit is a misguided attempt to “rid public buildings of historic references to religion.”

School Committee member Frank Lombardi said “we don't want to erase our schools' history because one person in the history of the school objects.”

The banner is one of 21 different student works of art in the auditorium, the release stated. Graduating classes are given the chance to contribute art and the banner that has become tangled in a civil rights issue was contributed by Cranston High School West’s first graduating class.

"One complaint in a half century is a good indication that this historic student-authored artwork hasn't done a thing to establish an official religion in Cranston schools," said Joshua Hawley, senior counsel at the Becket Fund. "The Supreme Court has made clear that displays on public property can contain some historically significant references to religion because the government can promote history and art without promoting religion. Otherwise we'd have to remove Moses from the frieze on the walls of the Supreme Court."

The release was filed shortly after the in its Providence Office during which , a student at Cranston West, argued the banner violated her civil rights. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on her behalf.

The issue was first raised last summer when the ACLU said on a tip from a parent it concluded that the banner, which begins with the phrase “Our Heavenly Father,” and ends with “Amen,” clearly violates the principle of separation of church and state. It requested the School Committee issue an order to have it removed. In response, the committee formed a prayer banner subcommittee that in a close vote last month.

Since that vote, the school committee that states each mural is there for historical purposes only.

The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is a nonprofit law firm that describes itself as a “public interest” firm that is “dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions.” Its lawyers are experienced in the field of church-state law.

Brendan April 26, 2011 at 01:07 AM
I know, everyone on here seems to think the ACLU is some corrupt corporation with radical interests or something..people should really get their facts before posting indignantly uninformed nonsense..
David Davis April 26, 2011 at 01:09 AM
They were going to get sued if they left it up and that suit would have cost them. They are not spending anything on this one. Don't you have homework you should be doing?
David Davis April 26, 2011 at 01:12 AM
There are so many factors that have begun the ruin of society and religion is not one of them. The main downfall of our society started with FDR, social security and welfare.
Anne April 26, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Jim you need a lobotomy...seriously man you are an unstable, sick individual..I already stated that the banner will probably come down because of the separation of church and state...what part of that didn't you get before you went on your unintelligible rant?
Foxeyroxie15 April 26, 2011 at 06:32 PM
A lovely day, isn't it? Warm, sunny, birds chirping, flowers starting to bloom. Jim, quite a few posts back, you tossed up your hands, said to 'stick a fork in it' & drop the subject. Therefore, I suggest that you drop off this forum and abdicate your role as 'scorekeeper'. Stick to the topic or leave. As I said, it's beautiful out - go rake your lawn, go for a walk, read the paper. There are far more interesting topics for someone like you who is apparently having a great time with this. Read about how Pawtucket & Warwick have gotten concessions from union contracts. This City needs to do the same. The tax dollars are coming out of your pocket - wouldn't you rather stir up the pot over that? Unless you can contribute something to what is supposed to be a 'discussion', play a computer game, watch TV or some other mindless thing. You stopped contributing anything to think about a long time ago.
Anne April 26, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Amen Rhodegirl!! :)
Brendan April 26, 2011 at 08:01 PM
"They were going to get sued if they left it up and that suit would have cost them. They are not spending anything on this one. Don't you have homework you should be doing?" - ^ I'm sure the school officials were contacted before the ACLU sued them. Therefore, they refused to bring it down. Besides, the banner being there in the first place is illegal, something should have been done about it a long time ago.
Joe Richer April 27, 2011 at 01:46 AM
He should be ignored. As I have been doing. When you let a person like this get under your skin, you give him what he wants.
Anne April 27, 2011 at 10:07 AM
You are right Joe
David Davis April 27, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Brendan: Going back a few posts you said the onus was on the believer to prove it. Where in the constitution does it say a person does not have the right to hang a banner with religious content in a public place? And don't say it is implied, because with everything you have said to deny religion has argued that you can't imply that is there.
Brendan April 29, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I was referring to the existence of a God when I said the onus of proof is on the believer. It isn't my obligation to disprove your fantasies. The Establishment Clause was written SPECIFICALLY for things like this. The founding fathers wrote explicitly on this subject. It was intended to keep schools from endorsing religion, such as in this Rhode Island school. It IS implied, and the courts have consistently viewed the 1st amendment as such. It is a clear implication with evidence to support it, not ridiculous, baseless claims such as the cosmological zombie jesus that Christians believe is the messiah. Another thing is, even it the banner WAS legal, it doesn't belong there anyway. A public school is a place for learning, not for religion. That is why there is Sunday school, and why there are faith schools parents that parents have the option of sending their kids to. If any religion had any actual proof for any of their superstitions, then it would be taught as science. As of right now though, Christians haven't really found any convincing evidence to confirm their pre-suppositions to the point of them being relevant in an academic setting. The banner presents a clear preference to a specific religion in a government establishment, worse, a center of learning, and is inherently unconstitutional.
Anne April 29, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Brendan do you work at being redundant or does it come naturally...You are incredibly boring..go get a real job.
Brendan April 29, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Do you have anything intelligent to say, anything legitimate to contribute to this debate? If not, you should probably leave this thread, because insults and inflammatory remarks are frankly immature, and they aren't helping your cause.
Anne April 29, 2011 at 08:43 PM
I have said plenty of intelligent things and have been put down with your dumb stupid rants and orations..Others have said very intelligent things too but if you don't agree you start on a rant..it is redundant and boring...end of story
Jim April 29, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Annie .... Annie ..... Annie ..... even when it is this nice out .... the birds chirping, the lawnmowers cutting fresh clean grass and the tulips sprouting everywhere ..... You still canot be nice ! You are priceless. Such a dole. Such a tyrant. Such an anger management candidate. Seriously, don't you have something to do other than guzzle 3 - for -a - dollar vino and rant here ! Come on woman .... be nice !
Brendan April 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Really? All I have heard from you are vague comments calling me "boring" and telling me to "go get a job" etc etc. You posted some points a while ago, which are very common fallacies held among believers, that I refuted. You may call it "ranting" just because my response it lengthy, but that doesn't give you the right to come on here and insult me without reinforcing your position. If you can't post anything without childish 'neener-neener' responses to everything I say, then please refrain from posting. Otherwise, I'd be more than happy to have an actual discussion with you.
Jim April 29, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Brendan, Valid attempt at civility with Annie ... but guess what ? It won't work. My suggestion? Continue with what you feel on the topic. It matters very little what ONE person or maybe two of her clones have to write in rebuttal. As long as the others are thoughtful comments, I am wiling to read them. The others? Ha .... simply scroll on down. Nobody here knows one another. So, taking ANYTHING here as personal is deadly. Go about your business, write your thoughts and read , with a humorous open mind, the thoughts of others that are venomous, redundant and personal attack motivated.
Brendan April 30, 2011 at 01:27 AM
I agree. However, if an innocent bystander who is making a comment chances upon our discussion, they'll probably go to the bottom and see the most recent comments, and see how immature Anne is acting. Its worth being civil, so I can say that I at least TRIED to bring the conversation into the realm of rationality. I prefer informed debates to whiny bickering troll battles on the internet, at least on a subject such as this.
Jim April 30, 2011 at 02:29 AM
I do think that the topic has run its course ...... heck, even Joe the Plumma has vacated. And that tells you that the topic is whipped and without blue collar flava ! Just sayin'
MoonBeamWatcher October 14, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Yo, Jimmy . . . and all the other RIGHTS WORSHIPERS who don't have clue ONE! First Amendment's Establishment Clause -- is only 10 words! It states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.. ." That's it. In a DEMOCRACY, the majority rules.
MoonBeamWatcher October 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM
ACLU regrets they only represent what they can use to tear down the fabric of US society / democratic traditions with. NAMBA comes to mind along with the PLEDGE and the BOY SCOUTS of AMERICA, OATH and exclusion of the openly homosexual.
MoonBeamWatcher October 14, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Yo, Jim . . . and all the other RIGHTS WORSHIPERS who don't have clue ONE! First Amendment's Establishment Clause -- is only 10 words! It states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.. ." That's it. In a DEMOCRACY, the majority rules. (the 1963 graduating class ain't no Congress)
Foxeyroxie15 October 14, 2011 at 08:44 PM
What charity - yours??????
MoonBeamWatcher October 15, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Does NOT! Read the SECOND AMENDMENT. Sez Congress, CONGRESS will not establish or support any specific religion. Class of 1963 is NOT CONGRESS. And merchants can and will string Christmas decoration lights to promote business purchases for the Christmas Season. You are free to wish the DEVIL smiles on you or that may God protect you and yours. Amen. Don't trample on my RIGHTS to protect yours.
MoonBeamWatcher October 15, 2011 at 12:14 AM
BS! Your knee-jerk reply is off the mark by a country mile! Teachers in FL have been fired for blessing themselves at meals because of insane out of court agreements entered into by local school boards with the ACLU! One of the reasons I have taken my hat off to the Cranston School Board. The go along to get along is so very, very much easier! The threat of an ACLU lawsuit is often enough to win a 'financial settlement' which funds the ACLU. Do a search for ACLU and learn the truth! American Civil Liberties Union is the greatest threat to DEMOCRACY ever created!
MoonBeamWatcher October 15, 2011 at 12:22 AM
Liberty Janus . . . Please - READ the SECOND AMENDMENT. Congress, not the first graduating class who gave the banner as the CLASS GIFT! Trust me if you can't subscribe to what is on that banner. I do not want you playing with my children. PERIOD! And stop the touchie-feelie PC BS. Liberals should be careful to not be so OPEN MINDED that the little thing falls out! To be for or against everything is to STAND for NOTHING! ahhhh, Amen.
MoonBeamWatcher October 15, 2011 at 12:57 AM
Looks like some former $400 an hour folk are in search of work? With the exception of Joe Richer who's logic and reason are intact. YES, it is up to the darlings in the ACLU to prove their case not the Cranston School Board. Amen. The first graduating class in 1963 is NOT the Congress of these United States and is not guilty of establishing a religion.
MoonBeamWatcher October 22, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Think the idea is: "Freedom of RELIGION" not Freedom FROM religion, eh!? This young lady is but a tool of the ACLU, without her THEY have no standing. As a RULE, the ACLU threatens and those THREATENED cave in and FUNDS THE ACLU's Continued attack on the history and fabric of America and her great Republic . . . via a CONVOLUTED DECLARATION and CASH to compensate them for legal fees. NOT THIS TIME! God bless the Cranston School Committee for their courage and honor not to allow this cancer to spread! Amen!
MoonBeamWatcher October 29, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Why are 'we' wasting time with this? God bless the Cranston School Committee . . . their COURAGE to stand and be counted permits, HONOR, TRADITION, HISTORY and LIBERTY to prevail! If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. Democracy is the arch enemy of SOCIALISM and this is the mission of ACLU!
MoonBeamWatcher October 29, 2011 at 04:57 AM
Not thrilled with your opinion of my religion as a "fairy tale". . . BUT, I wish you well in your life. Liberty, find comfort with your your April 1st holiday - modern court interpretations of our Constitution are NOT law. ("Notoriously Christian expression." You are a piece of work!) The ten words stand, no matter how you and the ACLU seek to spin, twist and torture them to fit YOUR interpretations. Wonderful that the School Board didn't roll over and enter an OCS / decree and cash settlement to fund the ACLU's next attack on our REPUBLIC! Amen.

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