ACLU Supports Students' Protest -- of ACLU

Students want to wear Jesus T-shirts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The ACLU is standing behind the free speech rights of students in southwest Virginia who plan to protest the ACLU.

    That's right.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is asking Gate City High School officials to allow students to wear T-shirts to Friday night's football game with a message that reads: "I still pray ... In Jesus' name."

    The students are responding to a letter from the ACLU telling school officials that a prayer delivered over the public address system at a football game was unconstitutional, according to CNSNews.com.

    The protest in tiny Gate City, Va., comes in response to an earlier letter that ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis sent on Sept. 15 to Gate City High School expressing his concern that a student, who had prayed over the public address system before a recent football game, ended his prayer with, “in Jesus’ name.”
     
    In the original Sept. 15 letter, the civil liberties lawyer claimed that the student-led prayer was unconstitutional because of the phrase “in Jesus’ name,” which Willis deemed to be forbidden sectarian language.

    In response to the ACLU complaint, the students produced the protest T-shirts to wear at Friday's game. And while there was no indication that the school was going to try to suppress the students' protest, the ACLU sent the second letter reminding Gate City HS that the students' free speech rights most assuredly include the right to criticize his organization.