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Press ReleaseReligious Freedom/Church-State
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 separation."

"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 Milford.

"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 conveyed."

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.

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