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Misanthrope
04-30-2008, 02:42 PM
Justice at work :001_smile:
Enjoy some Bobby Vinton whilst you read
http://www.last.fm/music/Bobby+Vinton/_/Blue+Velvet

Source: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/04/court_strikes_down_gideon_bibl.php
Posted on: April 28, 2008 9:09 AM, by Ed Brayton
In yet another court loss for the Tangipahoa Parish school district in Louisiana, a Federal judge has ruled that the schools there cannot allow the Gideons to distribute Bibles to 5th grade students (see full ruling here). The ruling was in response to a motion for summary judgment. In this case, the Gideons were not allowed to go into the classrooms to distribute the Bibles, but were set up outside the principal's office. The 5th grade teachers were told to inform their classes that they could pick up a Bible there, but also that they did not have to get one. Nevertheless, the judge noted that the peer pressure to take a Bible amounted to de facto coercion:


When time came for "Jane Roe's" class to get their Bibles, the students were instructed by their teacher that if they did not want a Bible, they should remain with the sixth-grade class. Jane alleges that she felt pressured to get a Bible because of potential teasing and name-calling by her peers if she refused. As a result, she accepted a Bible, and she, like everyone else receiving a Bible that day, was told by the person from the Gideons, "God bless."...

Jane Roe states that she accepted the Bible because if she did not, her classmates would have "picked on" her. She feared they would call her "devil worshipper," and that "she don't [sic] believe in God," and that she is a "Goth."

All of this rings quite true to anyone who has spent time in schools. The court then concluded that under the coercion test, the school violated the Establishment clause:


As a result, the Court concludes that the practice undertaken by Loranger Middle School did violate the Establishment Clause. Jane Roe was, in fact, subjected to an unconstitutional element of coercion as she, an impressionable young elementary-age child, experienced pressure to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which establishes religion.

The judge then evaluated the policy under the Lemon test and came to the same conclusion:


The same result follows under the Lemon test. As to the first prong, the Gideons were given access to the elementary school during school hours to distribute Bibles to fifth grade students. The School Board has failed to set forth a secular purpose for this practice, and in that absence, this Court determines that the distribution of Gideon Bibles is "unquestionably religious." See Berger, 982 F.2d 1160. As for prong two, allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles under the circumstances in this case evidences a preference towards religion, specifically, Christianity. And as for prong three, the teachers who were required to inquire as to which students want the Bible, and then organize and direct them to the principal's office, became excessively entangled with religion.

And likewise under the endorsement test. The judge here, like Judge Jones in the Dover case, smartly evaluated the policy under every conceivable test the higher courts might choose to apply. That's a good way to avoid having one's rulings overturned.

LegalSmash
04-30-2008, 03:48 PM
This will get overturned.

Coercion under lemon in this case would not carry weight with SCOTUS IMHO, because the Lemon test looks at the school's role in the coercion. Here, the school simply told them that there were bibles available, and that they could get one if they so chose to.

The Gideons having access to public facilities, such as a school is no more different than the Muslims doing the same at a University to hold events, or the Jews.

The judge's clerk is confusing state based coercion with "people around you shaming you into doing shit" coercion. By passing out the email and telling the teachers that the kids were to be told NOT to go should they not want to, he did the classic cover your ass move, which is enough in most cases.

She was coerced by perceived peer pressure, and honestly, if she was that insecure with herself, then perhaps she should grow a backbone. The judge's characterization of "coercion" will be a point of contention on appeal. One which I think will cause a reversal at least to determine that section.

"not, her classmates would have “picked on” her. She feared
they would call her “devil worshipper,” and that “she don’t [sic]
believe in God,” and that she is a “Goth.”"

this is not state coercion, even under the cases cited by the plaintiff.

There wont be a forcing of the bible upon her, I think this case will get overturned by a higher court... and religious groups tend to be appeal happy.

What ever the result, very interesting read, case, good deal dude!

Italian Jew
04-30-2008, 04:09 PM
But you shouldn't be allowed to let any religion have the opportunity to hand out religious texts or ideas in a public school. You have to have the school's permission to set anything up in the school as they are not "public" in the sense that anybody can go in and do what they want.

Universities are different from elementary schools because the religious programs are sponsored by student groups, not the university (unless it is not publicly funded). The University may provide a room, but they have no say at what goes on in the room unless it is illegal. Outdoor activities are usually allowed with no restraint unless it turns hostile or there is a presence of illegal materials/activities.

Elementary schools have no public forum rooms besides cafeterias or auditoriums/gyms. They can not rent out these rooms but have to ask special permission through the school system. Usually they are not allowed to do anything non school related until off hours when academics are not in session.

There is more free choice at universities than in Elementary schools. In grade school, you feel obligated to do things because an adult or friend pressures you. That is why those people tried to give out books to children because they would feel the need to accept it. It is child psychology and there is no use in saying that they should grow some backbone as this is how it has always been and always will be.

PotshotPolka
04-30-2008, 06:00 PM
Arm yourself with flashbombs Havok, tonight we make kindling!

LitKey
04-30-2008, 10:21 PM
"The Gideon Bible is the religious equivalent of Channel Five News. It's utter shite." - My History teacher last lesson.

:thumbdown:

So he said that, and then you just took his word for it? I'm quite disappointed, Havok. That was a bad comparison.

Italian Jew
04-30-2008, 10:44 PM
They have been replacing Gideon bibles in hotel rooms with sex kits in some places.

Let's start a group and place Torahs and Qur'ans next to the bibles! :laugh:

We can also throw in Harry Potter as well.

Depending on the version you get, its either Christianity for noobs or Bible Lite with both trying to advertise the religion. Also, some are cheesy enough to where they include phony coupons for salvation and like million dollar bills with Reagan's face on it (or you might get those separately from peeps on the streets trying to sell you the religion)

Personally I think the sex kits are a better fit for hotel rooms...

Slavic
04-30-2008, 11:45 PM
give em buckets of condoms, it will do them better

phatman76
04-30-2008, 11:49 PM
My first comment is that if this chick is so afraid and embarrassed by her beliefs she should read the damn bible and learn to have some strength....

Second, I agree with legal. The school didn't coerce her. It tried to prevent peer pressure by having the teachers do the "cover your ass move" also. Finally, the supreme court is loaded with enough non-wackos these days that we can trust they wont be retarded.

Many of the people who started this country were religious, I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem with some people actually practicing one instead of living in fear of ACLU terrorizing...

Italian Jew
05-01-2008, 12:33 AM
Silly rabbit...strength comes from Bowflex, not the bible... :001_tt2:

(Your results may vary)

Hell, you can get strength from reading the back of a cereal box if you wanted to.

The school did not force her to do anything, but it shouldn't have allowed them in there in the first place especially since they went there to target the children. If they weren't, they would've come AFTER classes. Vendors are not allowed in schools to peddle their merchandise, so why should others be allowed?

Any other religion would not have even been allowed to step in there and do the same thing. A little christian bias leads to some slides in morality and law.

What it really comes down to is a)is handing out a specific religion's text in a government funded building keeping the government secular and b)did it violate the Establishment clause. You could say that this act did violate the Establishment clause because handing the bible is showing preference to a certain religion and the bibles show no secular purpose.

Captain Colon
05-01-2008, 04:16 PM
Vendors are not allowed in schools to peddle their merchandise, so why should others be allowed?
!

What's this soda machine doing here??

Italian Jew
05-01-2008, 05:00 PM
The machine isn't peddling anybody, it just sits there. It isn't targeting students that walk by and talking to them pronouncing all the good things you can get by drinking the soda or consuming the cookies. They may have the logo or slight advertising on it, but is not the same as peddling.

Captain Colon
05-01-2008, 05:58 PM
So if a vendor just sat there quietly it would be okay.

Misanthrope
05-01-2008, 06:04 PM
So if a vendor just sat there quietly it would be okay.

Depends what it's vending, if it's sustenance, then it's fine. If it's ideology, it's a no-go, not in a public school.

Italian Jew
05-01-2008, 06:05 PM
No because people who are not supposed to be in the building are not allowed to be there in the first place. They are supposed to be removed by the school administration because of security issues.

Captain Colon
05-01-2008, 06:28 PM
Oh okay, I didn't realize you were the one who decided who was allowed in the building.

Italian Jew
05-01-2008, 07:17 PM
Um, if you remember correctly, security in schools was heavily tightened after Columbine and they got paranoid at everybody who was not supposed to be in there.

phatman76
05-01-2008, 08:59 PM
Silly rabbit...strength comes from Bowflex, not the bible... :001_tt2:

\Vendors are not allowed in schools to peddle their merchandise, so why should others be allowed?



They sell dominoes and subway at many schools. Ever hear of career day? That is peddling jobs. its not unconstitutional to sell stuff to kids on public property, as long as you are allowed.

Italian Jew
05-01-2008, 09:15 PM
Career Day does not mean the people with jobs are peddling anything to kids. They are just there, saying what their job is and what they do for a day. They are also not selling anything, just giving an insight into jobs and sometimes cool toys.

Dominoes and Subway are not peddling anything either, as the school rents them out in a way and the students purchase the food. It is either a fundraiser event where they ask you to donate to a cause and you get food, or the Subway/dominoes is the cafeteria food which means they do not advertise or try to sell you their food because that is the only food available.

Also, schools are not so much public property because they do not allow unauthorized people.

And use the correct meaning of peddle, which is going place to place trying to sell something (whether it be ideas or products). Dominoes and Subway are not prowling the schools door to door nor are the career day people. Stopping at schools and handing out books can be considered peddling because they would be going from place to place (as they go from hotel to hotel, and now school to school) selling their product/idea (which is "salvation" and what not). Money is not needed for a sale, especially if ideas are involved.

phatman76
05-01-2008, 11:07 PM
Money is not needed for a sale, especially if ideas are involved.


Ideas have no material worth in and of themselves, only actions made on them do. They cannot be sold. I also want to say that the school itself is NOT handing out bibles. If another group such as a Muslim or Jewish organization came, asking to hand out texts to those who wanted them, we cannot say the school would have stopped them. If any religion is allowed to sell itself in the market place of ideas, even atheism, then no ones rights are being abridged. A good man once told me that the way to argue against those who think differently than you is to talk back, not to silence them. As long as the government doesn't exclusively allow only one religion to run the show, there is no violation of the first amendment.

I would equate the word of God, or anyone's interpretation or personal text of it, equitable to sacred liberty any day. And that liberty trumps little Sally or Achmed feeling some peer pressure or risking their standing with their immature friends.

Slavic
05-02-2008, 12:07 AM
I never understood why people always try to push their religion onto others. Do they get brownie points when the get to heaven?

Italian Jew
05-02-2008, 12:16 AM
The school is not allowed to have any preference to a religion and by facilitating the bible distribution DURING classes, they did just that. You have to have a secular reason for halting an academic school day and handing out bibles is anything but that. The school does not need to hand out the bible to violate the Establishment clause. The school board allowed this because they themselves are probably christians. They would not have allowed any other religion's text to be distributed like that. If they want a bible, go to church. There is no need for them to try and catch them at school. They can go fishing on sunday.

phatman76
05-02-2008, 07:40 PM
The school is not allowed to have any preference to a religion and by facilitating the bible distribution DURING classes, they did just that. You have to have a secular reason for halting an academic school day and handing out bibles is anything but that. The school does not need to hand out the bible to violate the Establishment clause. The school board allowed this because they themselves are probably christians. They would not have allowed any other religion's text to be distributed like that. If they want a bible, go to church. There is no need for them to try and catch them at school. They can go fishing on sunday.

While they probably would have stopped another religion from handing out texts, no one tried to and proved it. I believe the Establishment clause allows for representation of religion on government property as long as every religion has a fair opportunity to do so. The Establishment clause would say "no religious material shall ever be allowed on public property" if the framers had intended for us to sterilize our public edifices of religion. Establishment means just that, establishing a single church or faith above all others, and all evidence points to the fact that this did not happen.

Of course I know that Supreme Court rulings have expanded the Establishment clause to make this case legally questionable, I believe, however, the issue needs some serious consideration. I don't personally endorse the message of Gideon's in this case, but I do endorse their liberty to speak the message. Once you start saying where someone can and cannot espouse their views, you have started down the slippery slope towards totalitarianism. Fear of offending anybody with a different viewpoint will soon lead to the paralysis and death of liberty itself.

Misanthrope
05-02-2008, 08:12 PM
While they probably would have stopped another religion from handing out texts, no one tried to and proved it. I believe the Establishment clause allows for representation of religion on government property as long as every religion has a fair opportunity to do so. The Establishment clause would say "no religious material shall ever be allowed on public property" if the framers had intended for us to sterilize our public edifices of religion. Establishment means just that, establishing a single church or faith above all others, and all evidence points to the fact that this did not happen.

Of course I know that Supreme Court rulings have expanded the Establishment clause to make this case legally questionable, I believe, however, the issue needs some serious consideration. I don't personally endorse the message of Gideon's in this case, but I do endorse their liberty to speak the message. Once you start saying where someone can and cannot espouse their views, you have started down the slippery slope towards totalitarianism. Fear of offending anybody with a different viewpoint will soon lead to the paralysis and death of liberty itself.

Shoving around opinion is all fine and dandy, but these are children we're talking about.

Italian Jew
05-02-2008, 08:51 PM
There are two interpretations to the establishment clause that coexist. The first is the one you so blatantly said which was that the government allows equal access to any religion. The second is the kicker and the one you choose to ignore (or you don't know it is there). The government cannot support a religious idea without secular intent. The school (government funded) supported christianity by facilitating the handing out of their religious texts which we can all agree is not secular by any means. This is an act of promoting the religion, which the school had a direct hand in as well, as the school board APPROVED the distribution of bibles.

Also, it is prohibited to limit the academic day due to non secular reasons. If they had waited till after school to hand out the books, this point would not be an issue. You can have assemblies or programs going on, but they must be of educational or secular value.

Your paranoia of the loss of freedom doesn't hold water. By saying people cannot go into school during school hours and hand out their faith to people is not violating the first amendment by any means. They would be disrupting a government funded process, which religion is not allowed to do in our country no matter how much you envision the founders would have believed in things. By saying they have a right to be there, then a homicidal maniac would have a right to be there, as well as a serial rapist, hobos, and other people who could do harm to the students.

It may shock you to believe this, but the first amendment is not a damn ticket to say what you want to say whenever you feel like you have an idea and expect you are in the green. You think the founders wanted religion in schools and everybody to do what they want, when they want? It is pretty obvious they had some sanity in them. You need to go back to school and actually learn some truth to these american ideals that you obviously cherish. Don't pretend you understand them just as you were there writing the constitution.


WU TANG!

P.S. The place in question is within the bible belt, so a large percentage of citizens are largely Baptist or other form of christianity, so I doubt the school board would even hear about anything relating to another religion passing out stuff in school. Them good ol' southern boys and gals won't have any of them thar "heathens" inside the institutions.

phatman76
05-03-2008, 02:22 PM
It may shock you to believe this, but the first amendment is not a damn ticket to say what you want to say whenever you feel like you have an idea and expect you are in the green. You think the founders wanted religion in schools and everybody to do what they want, when they want? It is pretty obvious they had some sanity in them. You need to go back to school and actually learn some truth to these american ideals that you obviously cherish. Don't pretend you understand them just as you were there writing the constitution.



First of all, I am aware that there are two interpretations of the Establishment clause. Second, I can't go back to school because I am still IN school. Third, there is a HUGE difference between letting someone espouse religion in a school and "everybody doing what they want, when they want." I don't think the founders thought of this because they never pictured the government OWNING schools. They never dreamed of "public education." The path for education for them were very religious parochial and grammar schools and then one of the fine American universities where about all of the people there were studying to become ministers.

I am sure that if the founders opened every session of Congress with a prayer and mentioned God-Given liberty in most of their writings, they would not have opposed to a school spending 20 minutes or so once in a whole year to let some people come on campus and hand out a few bibles to kids who WANTED them. Lets not forget, no one was being strapped down a la Clockwork Orange and being forced to watch a sermon.

If it were really my decision, this situation would never happen... However, in our broken system of government intervention we may as well make up whatever stupid and unreasonable rules you want. After all, freedom to not feel offended is FAR more important than the liberty of speech that so many millions of Americans have fought and died for over the last 300 years. Let's not protect and defend the Constitution, let's not protect liberty, let's make sure the kid in the corner is made fun of by his peers...

Italian Jew
05-03-2008, 02:55 PM
And again you have the most horrible representation of how this country was started and how it should be run...

If you want religion, go to church or do it in your own time. No need to pressure children into it. What, not meeting the quota on conversions this month? Too bad.

The founders each did all of that prayer and god related stuff because they all knew they believed in roughly the same things. If Thomas Jefferson was a muslim, they would not pressure him into saying a prayer or do any of that. The fact is that they do not mention religion SHOULD be in schools, so it is up to the courts to decide the constitutionality of it. They have, and for public schools, religion needs to gtfo. This isn't the dark ages or the 1700's anymore, and the founders would know that change is necessary for the better. They never intended for anything to be written in stone. Even IF they said religion was supposed to be everywhere, they designed the government for the people to decide, not them. This is the most important part of our government that you fail to realize. It changes and they wanted it to change with the times.

But if you like running things like back in the 1700's, by all means, start a little amish village and pretend the founders are the supreme overlords of your life.


And stop using that emotional speech about how many americans died for freedom. They didn't die for religions to be involved in shit they ought not to be involved in. You cannot claim the freedom of speech when you remove somebody else's freedom. It doesn't work that way.

phatman76
05-03-2008, 06:02 PM
The founders each did all of that prayer and god related stuff because they all knew they believed in roughly the same things. If Thomas Jefferson was a muslim, they would not pressure him into saying a prayer or do any of that. The fact is that they do not mention religion SHOULD be in schools, so it is up to the courts to decide the constitutionality of it. They have, and for public schools, religion needs to gtfo. This isn't the dark ages or the 1700's anymore, and the founders would know that change is necessary for the better. They never intended for anything to be written in stone. Even IF they said religion was supposed to be everywhere, they designed the government for the people to decide, not them. This is the most important part of our government that you fail to realize. It changes and they wanted it to change with the times.

But if you like running things like back in the 1700's, by all means, start a little amish village and pretend the founders are the supreme overlords of your life.


And stop using that emotional speech about how many americans died for freedom. They didn't die for religions to be involved in shit they ought not to be involved in. You cannot claim the freedom of speech when you remove somebody else's freedom. It doesn't work that way.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM!!! Who's freedom is being abridged? Is the Muslim in the back being forced to do anything? NO!!! That is where I draw the line.

I am not a religious zealot, sorry to break it to you. This has nothing to do with what God is, but what freedom of speech is. Are you telling me that my freedom of speech does not extend to public property? I can't offer ideas, as long as somebody disagrees, in any school? I am not saying that evangelizing young kids is right, especially if a government employee is doing it while on the clock. However, the government is not endorsing a religion by letting it be presented on its property.

Italian Jew
05-03-2008, 07:18 PM
It is endorsing the religion if it uses up government funded educational time by handing out religious texts. The citizens paid for the time their children spend being educated, but with that time being interrupted by bible hand outs, they have now effectively paid for the bibles being handed out, which means taxes went towards religion over education.

The kids were not physically forced to do anything against there will, but in their minds they were because they were coerced by peer pressure and authoritative pressure. The bibles were being handed out in front of the office which, as stated in the court document, made it seem as if the school was supporting the religion. Therefore, they would assume they had to as well. Also, even though you do not intend for something to happen, you still get punished for it happening. You may not want to kill somebody, but if you do, you get slapped with charges of different degrees of murder or manslaughter. The same train of thought is applied here because by not intending to force children to do things, they still feel forced to do so and in their minds, their freedom is gone. As we all know, it is the feeling of the plaintiff which matters in lawsuits, not the defendant. Legal may correct me on this, because I don't know of many cases which were swayed because the defendant said he never meant to do any harm, but the evidence says he did and he got off scot free.

Public schools are technically not public property because you have to have permission to be on school property, thereby making it private in a way. Granted they did have permission from the school board to be there, the school board should not have allowed them because their purpose was not secular in intent, which violates constitutional law as stated above which filters to state and school codes.

You can say what you want on public property, just as long as it is not illegal or violates another persons rights.

Your freedom of speech has limits, just as everyone else's. By saying you cannot promote your religion on government property does not revoke your rights because no religious items or ideas can be displayed or presented on government property without a secular purpose (as interpreted from Establishment Clause).

Their free speech is not being impeded by any means because they can say what they want to say, just not in the school during school hours.

phatman76
05-04-2008, 02:10 AM
It is endorsing the religion if it uses up government funded educational time by handing out religious texts. The citizens paid for the time their children spend being educated, but with that time being interrupted by bible hand outs, they have now effectively paid for the bibles being handed out, which means taxes went towards religion over education.

The kids were not physically forced to do anything against there will, but in their minds they were because they were coerced by peer pressure and authoritative pressure. The bibles were being handed out in front of the office which, as stated in the court document, made it seem as if the school was supporting the religion. Therefore, they would assume they had to as well. Also, even though you do not intend for something to happen, you still get punished for it happening. You may not want to kill somebody, but if you do, you get slapped with charges of different degrees of murder or manslaughter. The same train of thought is applied here because by not intending to force children to do things, they still feel forced to do so and in their minds, their freedom is gone. As we all know, it is the feeling of the plaintiff which matters in lawsuits, not the defendant. Legal may correct me on this, because I don't know of many cases which were swayed because the defendant said he never meant to do any harm, but the evidence says he did and he got off scot free.

Public schools are technically not public property because you have to have permission to be on school property, thereby making it private in a way. Granted they did have permission from the school board to be there, the school board should not have allowed them because their purpose was not secular in intent, which violates constitutional law as stated above which filters to state and school codes.

You can say what you want on public property, just as long as it is not illegal or violates another persons rights.

Your freedom of speech has limits, just as everyone else's. By saying you cannot promote your religion on government property does not revoke your rights because no religious items or ideas can be displayed or presented on government property without a secular purpose (as interpreted from Establishment Clause).

Their free speech is not being impeded by any means because they can say what they want to say, just not in the school during school hours.

well said... Indeed, there are two roots to this conflict: How far must you go for the gov't to be endorsing religion on public property? and second, where does your freedom of speech end, where it incites damage or where it occludes someone else's freedom to not be bothered by you?

I simply believe that the right to speech is clearly more important than that of not being bothered or offended, the fact that it is on gov't property throws the issue into a relative gray area, however, respecting religion. Oh well... Gideon's will get away in the end....