ADL Says Supreme Court Decision is a Setback for Church-State Separation
New York, NY, June 11, 2001 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed
disappointment with today’s Supreme Court ruling allowing religious groups to
meet in public elementary schools immediately after school. ADL called the
ruling "contrary to the fundamental principle of church-state
"We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which we believe
represents a setback for religious freedom in this country and is contrary to
the fundamental principle of church-state separation," said Abraham H.
Foxman, ADL National Director. "Children must be protected from efforts to
proselytize in the schools, and this ruling substantially limits such
protection. Even if these meetings take place after school, the fact that the
Good News Club is proselytizing elementary school children in their school
building inevitably conveys a message to impressionable youngsters that their
school is promoting religion."
ADL had filed an amicus brief in Good News Club vs. Milford Central School
District, urging the Supreme Court to uphold earlier decisions by the 2nd
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court, which had both sided with
"This decision gives a green light to religious groups to conduct
meetings on any elementary school campus which allows other outside groups to
meet. It is an open invitation to Good News Clubs and other similar groups to
proselytize young, impressionable students in our nation’s public
schools," said Mr. Foxman. "We urge school officials to ensure that no
child who decides not to participate is made to feel unwelcome in his or her own
school, and that no official message of school approval of religion is
ADL objected to the majority’s comparison of this case with two earlier
cases, including one involving dozens of clubs, including a religious club on a
college campus. "We strongly disagree with this analogy," Mr. Foxman
said. "Proselytizing elementary school children immediately after school is
completely different and deeply troubling."
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.