A Christian attorney is praising a decision by a Florida school board to once again recognize religious holidays on the district's school calendar.
The Hillsborough County School Board had decided to eliminate all religious holiday vacation days after Muslims in Tampa requested that students be given a day off to celebrate the end of Ramadan. However, after this decision generated widespread public outrage and national media attention, the board members reversed course and voted 5-2 to restore several religious holidays to next year's school calendar.
Attorney Mat Staver with the Orlando-based legal group Liberty Counsel provided the Hillsborough County School Board with a memo regarding the constitutionality of celebrating Christmas in schools. He says this particular case illustrates a problem that happens all over the US, especially at this time of year.
“We have religious discrimination that occurs in the public schools and other public venues throughout the year,” Staver points out, “but it seems to crescendo at the end of the year, whenever we get toward the holiday season and the Christmas celebration time. This case… is a little bit of a combination of both [censorship of] Christmas and discrimination in general against religious expression.”
The newly revised Hillsborough district calendar gives students days off for Yom Kippur, Good Friday, and the Monday after Easter. The Liberty Counsel attorney applauds this school board for its decision, but he contends that in many other areas around the country, school officials are unaware of what the Constitution and court precedent say about freedom of religious expression and are unlawfully restricting people's right to celebrate according to their beliefs.
“If anyone is frustrated by what they see in their community or nationwide,” Staver says,” this is an encouraging illustration that when you get involved you can make a difference. Telephone calls, e-mails, letters, and other information and pressure can actually make a huge difference.”
The kind of bureaucracy that enacts religious censorship or discrimination as a matter of policy may seem to immovable, but Staver asserts that, “obviously, it is not.” When individuals or communities stand up and speak out for their constitutional rights, he notes, they can often make their voices heard, “and this case illustrates that very point.”
(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)