Freedom of speech is dying a slow and painful death

Brynn WilliamsLast year, on December the 19th, at the Hunt-Jackson Elementary School in Temecula – California – cute little six year-old Brynn Williams was forced to shut up and sit down while attempting to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in front of her classmates during her Christmas presentation.

As reported by Todd Starnes on Fox News Opinions, in fact, Brynn’s teacher has apparently told her student to take her seat and stop preaching the Bible publicly. Ironically, the teacher has done so after having commissioned the students to bring back from their homes items and stories that represented familiar Christmas established practices.

However, Brynn was not allowed to do so on the ground that Christian values could have “offended” other students. Instead of sharing her values with her classmates, she played the role of persona non grata.

This was the incriminated sentence.

“Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree, the star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.”

According to Robert Tyler, who’s now legally representing the Williams against the Hunt-Jackson Elementary School, all the other students in the class were allowed to finish their respective Christmas’ displays.

Tyler also confirmed that – according to the unnamable teacher – the reason why Brynn was not allowed to finish her personal presentation had to do with the fact that quoting the Bible is inadmissible in the context of a classroom. Notice that the school take is name from Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, an advocate of Native Americans’ civil rights.

However, when Gina Williams picked up her daughter from school that day, she found out that her daughter was in distress and that “she thought she had done something wrong,” Brynn’s mother told Todd Starnes of Fox News, “she thought she was in trouble. I told her she was not in trouble and I was proud of her. I tried to comfort her on the way home.”

Obviously Gina Williams met the school’s Principal right after the incident in an attempt to better understand what went wrong. But the school Principal, after having listened to Brynn’s “offensive” presentation, could only confirm the goodness of ther teacher’s intentions.

“The principal confirmed that Brynn’s teacher did the appropriate thing by stopping her mid-presentation and there are specific education codes that protect the school,” Gina Williams told Fox News.

Brynn’s mother subsequently attempted to receive further clarification on the part of the school. This is the school official statement regarding the incident.

“The Temecula Valley Unified School District respects all students’ rights under the Constitution and takes very seriously any allegation of discrimination. Due to the fact that District officials are currently investigating the allegations, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time.”

Now, the word offensive comes from the Latin offendere and has made it into modern English by passing from Medieval Latin offensivus and from mid-16th century French offensive. Offensive means, at any rate, “to struck against” and it originally had a military connotation. Therefore – in school terms – to state that Brynn’s words were offensive is not only inappropriate, but also utterly incorrect.

Notice that the Hunt-Jackson Elementary school is publicly founded and that its teacher salaries are therefore being paid via tax-dollars. Notice also that the First Amendment of the US constitution expressively promotes the free exercise of religion as well as the freedom of speech.

According to Starnes therefore, “the school district either: made a gross mistake; is ignorant of the Constitution; is infested with radical secularists who like to bully Christian children [or] all of the above.”

In his article Starnes also asks the rather rhetorical question: how would you feel if Brynn was your daughter? Which can only lead to the inevitable answer: “very, very angry”.

Another, perhaps even more rhetorical question would be: wouldn’t you immediately retire your daughter from a school that is clearly for every other religion but the Christian one? And another question could be something like: how in the world can Christianity be considered an offensive religion? The very sad answer is that – unfortunately – it seems like many public school teachers (as well as university professors) in America, Europe and beyond, would happily stab their mothers on the back in order to prevent biblical teachings and ideas to even emerge in public forums. Freedom of speech is dying a slow but inexorable, as well as very painful, death. Just like Jesus on the cross. The fact that freedom of speech had the face of cute little Brynn Williams on December the 19th is only a mere coincidence.To put it with G.K. Chestertone: “there are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions”.

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Andrea Loquenzi Holzer

The truth will set you free

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