ACLJ OFFERS TO DEFEND SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT FACE ACLU CHALLENGES FOR DISPLAYING "GOD BLESS AMERICA"
(Washington, DC) â€“ The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, said today it is offering legal services to defend a California school district that has been told by the ACLU to remove a sign that includes the message â€œGod Bless America.â€ At the same time, the ACLJ announced today it is offering to defend any school district or student organization in America that desires to display â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ in schools.
â€œAt a time when America desires to exhibit patriotism, the ACLU sees fit to undermine the constitution by attempting to exert a heavy hand of censorship,â€ said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. â€œThe ACLU is out of step with the law and is reacting in a manner that is totally absurd and irresponsible. The message â€˜God Bless Americaâ€™ is constitutionally protected speech and the ACLUâ€™s legal analysis is both skewed and very troubling.â€
Sekulow said the ACLJ is sending a letter to the Rocklin Unified School District in California offering its legal services to defend the display of a sign that includes the message â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ posted in front of an elementary school. The message was placed on a marquee outside the Breen Elementary School following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The ACLU contends the words â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ reflect what the ACLU calls a â€œhurtful, divisive messageâ€ and has sent a letter to the school district alleging the message violates the U.S. and California constitutions and demanding that it be removed. The school district has said the sign will not be taken down, despite the ACLUâ€™s demand.
Sekulow said in addition to offering legal services to the Rocklin Unified School District, the ACLJ is offering legal services to defend the display of â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ to all school districts and student organizations nationwide. The ACLJ is a public interest law firm and does not charge any client for its legal services. A memo outlining why â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ is constitutionally protected speech is posted on the ACLJ web site at www.aclj.org.
Sekulow said the ACLU is simply wrong in its assessment that the message â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ violates the separation of church and state.
â€œThere is no legal reason why a school district cannot display a sign that says â€˜God Bless Americaâ€™ if it so desires,â€ said Sekulow. â€œThe message â€˜God Bless Americaâ€™ is constitutionally protected speech and does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In fact, it is clear that the ACLU is attempting to censor a California school district by pressuring it to remove the sign. We will defend any school district or student organization that faces legal action by the ACLU for displaying the message â€˜God Bless America.â€™â€
The American Center for Law and Justice is an international public interest law firm and educational organization that focuses on constitutional issues and specializes in pro-family, pro-life, and pro-liberty cases.