Those people who think that the ACLU is a liberal organization that just uses the Constitution to promote its particular agenda might reconsider that opinion upon hearing about the recent activities of the ACLU of Florida. The organization is filing a lawsuit to support Christian students in the Alachua County School District who wore t-shirts with designs praising Christianity on the front of the shirts and the phrase “Islam Is Of The Devil” on the back.
When the students wore the shirts to school, there was no disruption of the ordinary school day. Yet, school officials banned students from wearing the shirts, even when new versions of the shirts were created that shortened the anti-Islam phrase to I.I.O.T.D.
The school district explained that shirts were banned because they were “offensive”. Yet, pro-religion messages on t-shirts have been allowed by the district. So, it seems that the schools allow only messages that praise religious beliefs, while banning messages that criticize religious beliefs – an unfairly skewed form of censorship.
It’s true that “Islam Is Of The Devil” isn’t a very intelligent critique of a religious practice, but then, kids in school wear t-shirts that say stupid things all the time. A better school policy would encourage students to discuss the messages they see on each others’ clothing, and research the larger cultural context of those messages. Censorship won’t stop criticism of religion – it will just make the criticism more heated when it takes place outside of school walls.