Supreme Court Considers Status of Christian Student Group
WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 28, 01 (CWNews.com) - The US Supreme
Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case questioning
whether a school district can prevent a Christian students'
group meeting in a room after school.
The case involved the Milford Central School in upstate New
York and the Good News Club. School policy allows other
outside groups to use its classrooms, but not the Christian
group which gathered to read the Bible, sing songs, and pray.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist asked a lawyer for the
school whether it showed "favoritism" to other groups and
whether it had engaged in "kind of a heckler's veto" over
the religious group's message. The school's lawyer, Frank
Miller, said the group engaged in religious worship, and
the school would be endorsing a
particular religion by allowing its meetings. "We have a
school, in effect, being utilized as a church," he said.
Justice Antonin Scalia said a public facility was being
used for public purposes and asked why religious purposes
must be excluded.
Other justices also questioned whether the court's previous
interpretations of the separation of church and state
applied in this case, even asking whether the school was
violating the principle of neutrality toward religion by
singling it out for exclusion.
The Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the case
by the end of June.
March 1, 2001
volume 12, no. 60