Monday, December 04, 2006


The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases related--well, somewhat--to religion, including the infamous 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' case:
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a high school student has a right to display a banner saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" during a school event.

The court's ruling, anticipated early next year, is expected to clarify how far school officials can go to control slogans on banners, T-shirts and other items at school-sponsored events, the Los Angeles Times said Saturday.

The case arises from Juneau, Alaska, where a principal removed a student's "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner. Joseph Frederick unfurled the sign on the street outside the school in 2002 as the torch for that year's Winter Olympics passed. Principal Deborah Morse suspended Frederick, who sued her, alleging her actions violated his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. A federal judge in Alaska rejected the claim by Frederick, but he won before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court also agreed to decide whether taxpayers have the right to challenge President Bush's faith-based initiative as an unconstitutional promotion of religion. Taxpayers normally cannot legally dispute how the government spends money, but the court made an exception for religion.

The 'Bong hits' case primarily is of juvenile interest, but the faith-based initiative case is of more relevance. I have very mixed feelings over the court ruling on the faith-based initiative. While I firmly believe that faith-based initiatives will ultimately prove to be a Trojan horse for governmental intrusion into churches (eg, forcing governmental 'equal rights' regulations on churches), I also grow weary of the war against public expressions of religion. One suspects the new Congress may put an end to the faith-based initiatives, however.

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