AMICUS FILED ON COLUMBINE CASE

Catalyst June Issue 2002

      The Catholic League has signed on to an amicus brief filed by the Christian Legal Society in the Columbine case. At stake are the free speech rights of believing Christians.
      When the Jefferson County school district invited community members to express themselves by painting tiles for Columbine High School, it was done as an art-therapy project that followed the tragedy that befell the school in the 1999 massacre. As it turned out, some chose to make a religious statement. For example, one woman painted a picture that showed a cross over a heart with the name of her son, Daniel Rohrbough, who was killed in the melee. But her contribution never appeared: school officials, fearing a violation of separation of church and state, censored her work.
      The brief that the Catholic League is party to argues that the school district is flatly wrong to maintain that free speech is not the issue. Remarkably, the school district is holding that citizens were not really speaking when they painted tiles—it was actually the government speaking.
      Oral arguments in this case, which is before the 10th Circuit, have already been heard. We are awaiting a decision and will keep league members posted.

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Written by Bill