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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.

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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