The ACLU Defends Christian Boy
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has offered to defend a local Cannon County boy who was recently told that he could not read a Bible during an after-school program.
The ACLU of Tennessee has sent a letter to the Cannon County REACH after-school program on behalf of the boy, who attends an elementary school in Cannon County. Staff of the REACH program reportedly told the boy that he could not read the Bible during a free-reading period.
The staff then tried to take the Bible, telling him the after-school program could lose its state funds if they allowed him to continue reading it.
In the letter sent to the REACH program, the ACLU requests that the after-school program train its employees on religious freedom rights while not imposing religion on the students. It also requests that the after-school program allow the student to continue reading his Bible during the free-reading period or any other student activity time reports the Christian Post.
“Tennessee public school students cannot be denied the right to engage in religious activities during student activity times, recess and other free time, provided they do not cause a disruption or interfere with the education of other students. Reading the Bible, or any other religious text, during a free-read period would fall within these protected freedoms,” the letter states.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director for the ACLU’s Tennessee branch, also said in a statement that the goal of their letter is to clarify how constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedoms work.
“ACLU-TN has a long-standing commitment to uphold and defend Tennesseans’ ability to practice religion, or not, as they choose,” Weinberg said. “The goal of our letter is to clarify for the REACH program what seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution protects religious liberty.”