January 28, 2004
According to school officials at Dupo High School, student James Lord is in big trouble for saying a bad word. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Few Americans need reminders about the plague of ill-mannered teens in our public schools. But Dupo High School in southern Illinois believes it has cracked down on the worst: a high-school senior who was suspended as host of the school's daily closed-circuit news broadcast because he signed off a Dec. 17 program with the words, "Have a safe and happy holiday, and God bless." The aptly named James Lord returns to the air Feb. 1, and in confirmation of his incorrigibility told the Belleville News-Democrat: "I can't guarantee I won't say it again."
If school administrators were as focused on education as much as they are on harassing religious students, every graduating class would be chock full of scholars.
But I'm sure the Dupo High administration would deny that they're harassing religious kids. Instead, they'd justify their decision by claiming that James' remarks were a violation of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
The problem with that justification is that there is no such constitutional mandate. Oops!
In fact, the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Yet this deliberate misrepresentation of the Constitution is used everyday to abridge a legitimate constitutional right: the First Amendment guarantee denying government the power to prohibit the "free exercise" of religion.
Until the First Amendment is taken seriously again, maybe James should close his future broadcasts by just saying "Good-bye." It is, after all, a certainty that the dopes in charge of Dupo High haven't a clue that that word is a contraction of "God be with you."
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