WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice publicized its support Monday for two religious freedom cases that are being litigated by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund. The two cases were among four featured in the DOJ’s publication Religious Freedom in Focus.
“Christians and Christian organizations should not be singled out for different treatment merely because they are religious. We appreciate the DOJ’s position on these two cases and are glad they concur with the analysis that discrimination against someone based upon their point of view is unacceptable under the Constitution,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.
In the newsletter, the DOJ notes their support through friend-of-the-court briefs for the plaintiffs in the cases Turton v. Frenchtown Elementary School District Board of Education and Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York. ADF attorneys represent the plaintiffs in both cases.
The Turton case involves a New Jersey student whom school officials prohibited from singing a Christian song during a talent show. The Bronx case concerns a church refused rental space at a New York City public school simply because the congregation engages in religious worship. The school district allows non-religious groups to rent the facilities.
“Our position and the position of the Department of Justice is just common sense: public school officials cannot make decisions on what speech to allow or who to allow use of public facilities based upon what type of viewpoint people have. That’s clearly unconstitutional,” Lorence explained.
In its newsletter, the DOJ notes that their friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Bronx case is the second one they have filed in support of the church. The first one was filed in May 2005.
The DOJ also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of another ADF case, Curry v. Saginaw School District, in February 2005. ADF attorneys represented a Michigan student forbidden from passing out candy cane ornaments with a religious message as part of a class project.
ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.