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Business, Free Enterprise and Constitutional Issues; Pro-Life and Pro Second Amendment. Susan Lynn is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly. She serves as Chairman of the Consumer and Human Resources subcommittee and on the Finance Ways and Means Committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history.

Friday, September 29, 2006

ACLU attempts to silence a community

The ACLU lost an important lawsuit in the Tennessee Supreme Court this past summer. They attempted to keep Tennesseans from voting on the Marriage Amendment ballot question in November. Because they lost, you will have the opportunity to vote on what marriage means in Tennessee.

Now the ACLU is attacking on another front, they are trying to use the courts to defeat the First Amendment right Wilson Countian’s to express their faith by meeting to pray in our community.

The ACLU should know better because of similar failed battles in other states.

Again and again the courts have held that religious speech is protected under the First Amendment. (i.e., Good News Club v. Milford Central School District, 533 U.S. 98 (2001), Lamb's Chapel v. Ctr. Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993); Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981))

Among court findings;

· Both students and teachers retain their First Amendment liberties while on campus.

· Students have an individual constitutional right to display their faith as long as they do not disrupt classroom learning by doing so.

· If schools allow other groups to advertise their events through school bulletin boards, school PA systems, general posting of student flyers, or other means, the school cannot forbid the same means of advertising for religious events.

· A government body may not suppress or exclude the speech of private parties just because the speech is religious or contains a religious perspective.

The Supreme Court has clearly stated: “Our precedent establishes that private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression” and "[i]t can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

It is hard to miss the irony of the ACLU, a group that purports to protect free speech, seeking to use the courts to bully and silence. Their attempt to keep you from voting on what marriage means in Tennessee failed. Hopefully, their attempt to silence citizens who wish to join together and express their faith will fail as well.

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