Published November 26 2001
Tony Cloose letter: Fargo school officials were honoring lawWhen I heard on the news the sad case of the school children missing out on seeing "Harry Potter," I couldn't wait to see the letters to the editor in The Forum. I knew there would be a lot of screaming and yelling.
What I find more interesting, though, is the attitude of the people who are angry that the trip was canceled, for it seems that to them, the law should be ignored when it hurts them. The truth of the matter is that the school officials should not have planned the trip in the first place, for the movie contains (I will not use the word promotes) major aspects of the Wicca religion. The way the law of "separation of church and state" has been used in the past would dictate that the school could not support this trip, REGARDLESS of parental permission.
If the school had planned to take the students to a showing of "The Ten Commandments," do you think that the American Civil Liberties Union or the Freethinkers would have worried about parental permission before they filed a lawsuit?
If you think that your or your child's rights have been trampled, have you stood up for other groups who have not been allow to do certain things? Have you stood up for the rights of a civic group to give a gift to the city to be displayed on city property (i.e., the Ten Commandments)? Have you stood up for the rights of a valedictorian to thank God and pray to Him in her valedictorian speech when she was not allowed to because the ACLU claimed that the Christian religion was being promoted in an official school function (so much for free speech)? If not, then do not complain.
The fact of the matter is not that a small group of people (or a group of one) has complained and canceled this field trip, for small groups of activists of all kind have been canceling all sorts of things for many years, but that this movie is a religious based movie and by the current rulings of law, cannot be viewed by student during an official school sponsored activity. If you don't believe this to be right, then change the law.