Advancing Religious Liberty
1/17/13 at 10:37 AM 0 Comments

In Montana, Two Key Fights for Religious Freedom in America Today

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Author: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

The legal fight to defend your religious freedom, as well as life, marriage, and the family are being fought in hundreds of courtrooms across America today. Two good examples of what’s at stake for all of us both came to a head in Montana, just as 2012 drew to a close.

Christmas, of course, has a way of bringing out threats to religious liberty, especially in our public schools, and that was certainly the case in Missoula, where officials of the local school board received a demand from a few “concerned parents” to edit out religious themes from the Chief Charlo Elementary Christmas program.

“Deck the Halls” and “Up on the House Top” were okay, and even “Dreidel Spins” passed muster, but there was no room in the program for “Good Christian Men Rejoice” and “Joy To The World.” Songs like that, the complaining parents said, were tantamount to “bullying” the students and their audience, and to prevent such intimidations, they were willing to take legal action.

Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom responded with a letter sent December 19 to Missoula County Public Schools, explaining that “students may hear and sing religious Christmas carols during school activities such as choir and Christmas programs without offending the Constitution.” The letter also noted that school officials may constitutionally present Christmas songs and carols that contain religious references when those are included with a variety of secular songs and carols.”

“Accusing a school of ‘bullying’ for including Christmas songs at a Christmas performance is just silly,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and our courts have upheld the inclusion of traditional Christmas carols, including those that are religious, in school performances as long as it serves an overall educational purpose. It is ridiculous that because of a small group of Grinches, people should have to think twice about publicly celebrating Christmas.”

On a brighter note, the Montana Supreme Court on December 17 issued a decision rejecting an indirect attack on laws preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (Our attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of Montana Family Foundation.) The ruling came in response to a lawsuit aimed at undermining the state’s legal definition of marriage by eliminating the state’s ability to distinguish between married and unmarried couples for the purpose of benefits.

“Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life. The state is on firm ground to recognize and promote that ideal for the good of society.”

Cases just like these are being decided right now in states coast to coast – including yours. Please be in prayer for our attorneys, as they faithfully stand in support of your religious freedom, and that of your family.

This post originally appeared here.

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