ACLU stands up for right of Colorado Springs middle schooler to wear rosary at public school
Critics of the ACLU portray the organization as an apologist for flag burners. As such, the group loves to show it's about principles, not ideology. Case in point: Its defense of Cainan Gostnell, a Colorado Springs student whose middle school has banned wearing religious symbols like rosaries outside clothing.
Gostnell's parents have complained publicly about the policy, but no legal action has been taken to date -- and as noted in the ACLU release below, which links to a pair of Colorado Springs Gazette pieces on the subject, the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has no objection to the prohibition.
The same can't be said for the ACLU. Here's the outfit's take:
ACLU Supports Students' Right of Religious Freedom
Opposes school decision to ban students from wearing certain Christian religious symbols.
COLORADO SPRINGS -- The Colorado Springs Gazette has reported that a local middle school has announced a policy forbidding students from wearing certain Christian symbols to school, unless they are worn underneath clothing.
The ACLU strongly opposes the decision of Colorado Springs School District 11 on the basis of religious liberty.
Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU said, "The First Amendment protects the right of students to express their faith by wearing crosses, rosaries, or other religious symbols without interference from school officials. Our Constitution protects the right to individual religious liberty and the ACLU is here to support everyone who chooses to exercise that right."
"For over 90 years the ACLU has always defended the religious liberty of all Americans. It is one of the most fundamental of our nation's freedoms," said ACLU Executive Director Ray Drew.
According to the Gazette, Monsignor Bob Jaeger of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs has stated that the church is OK with the school's position and Colorado Springs School District 11 spokesperson Elaine Naleski states that this policy is necessary to prevent the use of crosses and rosaries as gang symbols.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.
- Dear Stoner: Is It Legal to Sell Clones on Craigslist?
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:00am
Sat., Sep. 5, 12:30pm
Sat., Sep. 5, 7:30pm
Sun., Sep. 6, 2:00pm
- An Open Letter to Colorado Natives From a Transplant
- How to Avoid Being a Parking Douchebag