Update - Assaulting A Small Texas Town Through Prayer
by Sonja Harris on June 3, 2011 at 9:05 AM
Here is an update as to what has transpired since yesterday on the Schultz v Medina Valley Independent School District. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed his Amicus Curiae. The Liberty Counsel has filed a Motion of Intervention on behalf of the Medina Valley HS Valedictorian ANGELA HILDENBRAND and we are fighting time because the graduation ceremony is on Saturday, June 4th. Judge Fred Biery filed an amended order which includes incarceration for violating the ruling of the court. A fine how do you do!
If this despicable court action by Judge Biery is not overturned…just think, who is next to fall? The next time any of you think that voting for a ‘friend’ running for judge as a Democrat is OK…think again. Democrat Judges stand for Liberal ideas and Liberal Judges are appointed by Democrat Governors and Democrat Presidents. The Supreme Court Justices are also appointed from this very same pool of Liberal Judges by Liberal Presidents. So please no more Liberal Judges…see what happens! Sorry to say we have two more years of the Obama Administration appointing Liberal judges. Elections have severe consequences.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2011
Texas Attorney General Defends Students' Constitutional Right To Express Religious Views
Attorney General Abbott files brief asking U.S. Court of Appeals to strike down an unconstitutional court order that violates students’ First Amendment rights
CASTROVILLE – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today took legal action to defend high school graduates’ constitutional rights to freely express their religious beliefs during graduation ceremonies. In an amicus brief filed with the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Attorney General explained that a district court in San Antonio improperly required Medina Valley Independent School District to censor its students’ graduation speeches and violated students’ constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.
“After students worked diligently for four years, federal judges should not threaten graduates with sanctions for simply expressing their personal beliefs during graduation ceremonies,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The First Amendment prohibits governments from interfering with Americans’ rights to freely express their religious beliefs – yet that is exactly what this misguided court order attempts to achieve. Just as the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Congress can convene each day with a prayer, Medina Valley High School students have a constitutionally protected right to pray during their graduation speeches.”
Texas Attorney General's friend of the court brief
Medina Valley ISD's motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order
Lawsuit by parents Christa and Danny Schultz
Federal Judge's temporary restraining order
The First Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof.” Because the district court ignores the text of the Constitution, it improperly prohibits Medina Valley High School students from freely expressing religious beliefs during their graduation ceremonies. The Attorney General’s legal brief asks the Fifth Circuit to overturn the legally flawed order and protect the graduation speakers’ First Amendment rights.
On May 26, the parents of a Medina Valley High School student filed a lawsuit seeking to prohibit student speakers from expressing religious beliefs during graduation ceremonies. In a section of the lawsuit ironically titled “prayer for relief,” the plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin the Medina Valley Independent School District and order the district to pay their attorneys’ fees. After a May 31 hearing, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery issued an order requiring that the school district: (1) remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program; (2) prohibit speakers from asking audience members to “stand,” “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” end their remarks with “amen,” or use the word “prayer;” and (3) “review, and make necessary changes to, the students’ revised remarks to ensure those changes comply” with the court’s decision.
The Attorney General’s brief asks the Fifth Circuit to overturn the district court’s order and allow student speakers to deliver their original graduation remarks without suffering unconstitutional, court-ordered censorship. As the Attorney General’s brief explains: “[T]he district court ordered Medina Valley to abridge the free speech and free exercise rights of its graduation speakers… and threatened Medina Valley officials with incarceration and other sanctions if they fail to commit these First Amendment violations.”
The Attorney General’s brief also defended the school district, which has been improperly ordered to censor its students’ remarks: “Medina Valley’s policy permitting students to prepare and deliver opening and closing remarks at graduation is constitutional, even when in practice those remarks may address the speaker’s religious faith or contain a prayer. And that is no less true merely because the graduation programs traditionally call those remarks an ‘invocation’ and ‘benediction.’”
According to the Attorney General’s legal brief, the district court’s order threatens all Texas students’ constitutional rights: “[T]he shadow of uncertainty cast by the district court’s erroneous decision extends far beyond Castroville, Texas.” Further, the Attorney General explained: “[T]he district court’s ruling misapplies the Establishment Clause in a way that threatens the rights of Texas students to freely express their religious beliefs in public settings.”
On Thursday, Medina Valley High School Valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand also asked the Fifth Circuit to overturn the district court’s order. The Class of 2011’s top student filed a brief arguing: “The District Court’s censorship of her words prior to their utterance is an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech. The speech enjoined by the District Court is protected by the First Amendment’s Speech and Free Exercise Clauses.” According to court documents filed on the valedictorian’s behalf, “Ms. Hildenbrand intends that her graduation address include words on permissible subjects from a religious viewpoint. During her address, based upon her sincerely held religious beliefs, she desires to pray…”
The State’s action in Christa Schultz, et al. v. Medina Valley Independent School District reflects Attorney General Abbott’s latest effort to defend public acknowledgments of religion. After Attorney General Abbott submitted a legal brief joined by all 50 state attorneys general, in January 2009, a federal judge cleared the way for President Barack Obama to include prayers during his Presidential Inauguration. In a 2003 amicus brief that was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court – also on behalf of all 50 states – Attorney General Abbott successfully thwarted a Dallas atheist’s attempt to remove the words “under God” from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. In 2007, the Attorney General defeated a separate lawsuit that attempted to remove the words “under God” from the Texas Pledge of Allegiance.
Attorney General Abbott has personally defended public acknowledgements of religion before the U.S. Supreme Court, where he defended the State’s Ten Commandments monument, which stands between the Texas Capitol and the Supreme Court on the Texas Capitol grounds. In that case, Van Orden v. Perry, the plaintiff sought to remove the Ten Commandments from the Texas Capitol, but Attorney General Abbott successfully argued that the monument was entirely constitutional.
High School Valedictorian Files Intervention Into Lawsuit on Appeal to Pray at Graduation;
"The judge's ruling banning prayer and religious references violates Angela Hildenbrand's constitutional right to freely express her religious beliefs," said Erin Leu, attorney at Liberty Institute. "The Supreme Court has repeatedly called for an end to religious viewpoint discrimination, and attempts to censor Ms. Hildenbrand's speech solely for religious references are unconstitutional and without legal basis."
Angela Hildenbrand, valedictorian of Medina Valley High School, planned to offer a prayer and say the words "Lord," "in Jesus' name," and "amen" during her speech at the graduation ceremony, but federal district judge Fred Biery's temporary restraining order issued yesterday not only disallows the school’s "invocation" and "benediction," but bans prayer at the ceremony, regardless of whether it is student-led.
MOTION FOR INTERVENTION
ANGELA HILDENBRAND’S OPPOSED EMERGENCY MOTION FOR INTERVENTION AND REQUEST FOR RELIEF FROM TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
AMENDED ORDER OF JUDGE BIERY
Conservatives In Action SPEAK OUT
How about we organize all of central Texas Christians to go to the graduation for Medina Valley HS, as many to attend as possible who might be able to get in, but the rest of us to demonstrate with MASSIVE SIGNS how we can freely exercise our freedom of religion! And if the people of Castroville want prayers at graduation then ALL OF the ATTENDEES CAN PRAY! How many folks can they remove? How many of us would consider it an honor and privilege to serve our Savior by being arrested for praying in public? We who honor Christ with our private lives need to DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND. Right Here. Right Now.
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Thanks for fighting!!
God is good!
Hello Sonja! The Christian thing to do is pray for these people. However along with prayer, as business people and being we live in the same community as God Fearing citizens living in America with our initial foundation based on biblical principles via God’s inspired Word, we should find out who these people are and not do any business with them, none, shun them for who they are, how they are trying to erode the very principles that even give them a platform to even speak, let alone appeal to our higher judicial process, which has too many liberal gaps. The small no bodies who are the small minority, telling the majority in a community like Medina area, Castroville how to live, pray, not pray!!! What is wrong with this, this is where a town meeting needs to take place.
SHUN THEM, DON’T” DO BUSINESS WITH THEM, IF SO, THEY MAY PACK UP AND MOVE TO CALIFORNIA OR NY.
I would suggest 2 things: 1.That we find out what business these "agnostics" are in and hit their pocket book. Being backed by the AU or whoever doesn't cost the family any money. It might be a good idea if every parent would file a suit against the family PERSONALLY. Not a combined law suit, separate law suits that have to be answered on an individual basis. I would even consider other causes to sue them for. (If there is nothing else I have learned in recent years, it is that you can sue anyone for anything.) I'd keep those people busy defending themselves. 2. If all else fails, I would let the graduation proceed as scheduled with no one but the Schultz child and his family in attendance. I would have one parent authorized to pick up all the other diplomas and then I would organize a separate graduation ceremony for the graduates. And I would expect that these people will come to the same end as Madeline O'Hare.
And if funding is needed, I would recommend we start a fund. I will gladly contribute. SK
I have a simple solution for the Schultz family: DON’T GO. Have them mail you your diploma. Then move away. BH
If all else fails, perhaps the entire audience needs to simply break into "spontaneous prayer," in unison, quoting the Lord's Prayer. What do you think? What a great statement that would make. How can they arrest everyone for exercising "freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of assembly?" If the atheists can handle it, they have "freedom of travel".
I wish I lived close enough to attend this graduation. Wouldn't it be cool if many, many Americans just showed up for the prayer meeting? DN
TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT