By Lex Talamo
In a country founded on freedom, the right to religious freedom can empower or oppress.
Christian supporters rallying behind Bossier Parish’s recent decision to not take disciplinary action in the Airline High School case cite religious liberty — but some academic scholars and spiritual leaders say that’s just a buzzword, a ploy to push a Christian agenda while denying tolerance to members from non-Christian faith groups.
“It’s pretty obvious to most that freedom of religion applies to Christians, particularly white Evangelical Christians,” said Stephen Finley, an associate professor with LSU’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. “One has only to look at how America has treated other religions — as outsiders, as un-American, as out of place — to see that this notion of religion is not a broad category that applies to everyone.”
According to the Equal Access Act of 1984, religious student clubs are guaranteed the same privileges extended by schools to any other student-led organization. The “prayer boxes” proposed by students from the Northwest Louisiana Fellowship of Christian Athletes could be protected by the Constitution if the school permitted equal actions from other student groups.
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