Two families of the victims of the Columbine High School massacre have sued the school for declining to install their memorial to their children. The families, which were invited by the school to make a statement on ceramic tile, crafted such religious themes as crosses and biblical verses. But the Jefferson County School District objected, saying that this would violate separation of church and state.
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, remarked as follows:
“Had the parents plopped some dung on their memorial tribute, school officials would have readily accepted it. That is because it is entirely legal to defame a religion on public property, just so long as someone calls it art. But it is illegal to post work that reveres religion. In short, the original meaning of the First Amendment clause on religion has been stood on its head.
“A spokesman for the Jefferson County School District has said that if the religious-themed ceramic tile art were posted, it might offend some people. He’s quite right about this. What it will take to convince him that many more might be offended by not allowing such art, I do not know. In any event, didn’t we just finish hearing in New York that being offended by art is no reason to ban it? And didn’t we just finish hearing how wrong it is for public officials to get involved in such matters? And didn’t we just finish hearing how awful it is to censor artistic expression? Or do these strictures only have application when art defames religion?
“When this country was founded, blasphemy was punishable by death and there was no funding for the arts. Now we use public funds to promote blasphemy and we ban art—even when it is expressed by private persons at the behest of the state—that glorifies religion. No wonder some think our culture is going to Hell.”