For the past four years Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida has been holding their fall concert in the auditorium of Moorings Presbyterian Church. The reason for holding the concert at the church was that the high school did not have a large enough venue to hold the crowd and no other venue in the area was available other than the church. The school’s choral event was 100% secular in its content, but that didn’t matter to one parent who happened to be an atheist.
Because the concert was held in a church auditorium, the atheist claimed that he/she was offended by having to enter the church and that it made him/her uncomfortable. That parent took his/her complaint to the Atheist Communist Lawyers Union, I mean the ACLU who then filed a complaint with the school.
Like so many schools these days, they caved in to the complaint of one person and cancelled the concert. Matt Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel has contacted the school district and offered his help to fight the demands of the ACLU, and urged them not to cave in to the unrealistic demands.
“This concert is about the kids, not the ACLU or an atheist parent. As Americans, we put the needs of children first, above the desires of adults. That is what we do. That is America!”
“This is another case of one ‘offended’ adult trampling the rights of students.”
Liberty Counsel investigated the concert and its content and concluded:
“The concert does not endorse or discourage religion. The school chorus does not have to meet any doctrinal requirement or become entangled in any matter of the church. The students know that they are simply using a building.”
“The courts have held the use of religious property by a school district to be constitutional if there is a clear secular purpose for the use, the use does not endorse or discourage religion, and the ‘reasonable observer’ would not conclude that the school district endorses religion. The clear secular purpose to use the Presbyterian church auditorium is for sufficient room to hold the crowd and appropriate acoustics.”
Horatio G. Mihet, an attorney with Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the school district that read in part:
“The ACLU’s legal position and threats are baseless and constitutionally infirm. Collier County Schools does not violate any student’s constitutional rights by simply using or even leasing a church building for the performance of concert music by the High School Chorus. Courts have been crystal clear on this point.”
“Finally, the ‘reasonable observer’ will only hear the students perform, not a sermon or anything that would cause him or her to conclude the school is endorsing the Presbyterian church. As an organization, Liberty Counsel will fight for the rights of these students to display their talents and gifts without being bullied by the ACLU.”
When is the last time you heard a school surrender to the complaints of one Christian parent or even a group of Christian parents? Yet let one atheist or Muslim parent complain and schools instantly just surrender the rights of every student.
The students and other parents at Barron Collier High School need to flood the school office with their demands to hold the concert at the church and not cancel it. Tell the school that they are offended that the concert would be cancelled because of one atheist parent. The offenses of the many should outweigh the offenses of the one.
Perhaps students need to take it upon themselves to perform their concert at the church auditorium regardless of what the school administrators do. The parents need to support and help the students and hopefully the concert would have the largest crowd ever to show the one atheist that he/she isn’t going to ruin things for the many.