ADL URGES APPEALS COURT TO REVIEW DECISION IN RELIGION
IN SCHOOLS CASE
New York, NY, January 7, 1998 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called
upon the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to reconsider
a recent decision regarding religious music in public schools.
Attorneys for Jewish student Rachel Bauchman have filed a petition urging
review of a three-judge panel decision issued last month. The decision
held that Ms. Bauchman's rights under the First Amendment were not violated
even though her complaint detailed a series of actions by her choir teacher
at Salt Lake City's West High School which clearly promoted and endorsed
the Mormon religion.
"This decision flies in the face of any reasonable interpretation
of the First Amendment," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
He pointed out that the public high school choir class in which Rachel had
enrolled regularly participated in Mormon church services and sang a hugely
disproportionate number of Christian devotional songs. In addition, the
teacher offered prayers in class, and requested class members also to offer
prayers and personal testimony concerning the truth of the Mormon church
and the divinity of Jesus Christ. When Rachel objected to these practices,
the teacher used class lectures to criticize and ridicule her.
"This is precisely, obviously and blatantly the kind of activity
which the Constitution prohibits in public schools," Mr. Foxman stated.
"The lower court decision cannot be allowed to stand."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.