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December 12, 2008

Supreme Court declines to hear 'candy cane' speech case

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal in a case involving a Michigan fifth-grader who tried to sell candy canes with a religious message at his school.

The high court on Monday denied the petition that the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund filed on behalf of Joel Curry.

Curry was 11 in 2003 when he made candy cane-style Christmas ornaments with notes that school officials considered "religious literature." The notes attached to the ornaments, titled "The Meaning of the Candy Cane," referred to Jesus six times and God twice.

Curry copied the message from an ornament at a Christian bookstore. He made the ornaments as part of a class project in which students developed and sold products. He faced no discipline, though school officials told him to remove the message, and received an `A' on the assignment.

Now a 15-year-old high school sophomore, Curry said he was disappointed in the high court's ruling, but the incident happened "a long time ago" and he doesn't "think about it much" anymore.

"They should have heard it because it's an important issue involving the Constitution and people's First Amendment right to freedom of speech," he said.

The Alliance Defense Fund had asked the high court to "consider whether a fifth-grade student's religious expression on a classroom project may be categorically identified as `offensive' and therefore legitimately censored by state school officials."

ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit against the Saginaw School District and Curry's principal in 2004, claiming that the principal violated the Constitution's equal protection clause because, in the past, she allowed other students to sell religious-themed items.

In September 2006, a federal judge ruled that the principal violated Curry's First Amendment rights. A three-judge panel for the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed that decision.

Comments

An eleven year old makes a candy cane with a religous message in it. The project to develop and sell products. For the school or themselves? I do not see the reason for this project.

In American we do have a separation of Church and State. I do believe that BIBLE Classes in schools are not allowed. This may have changed since my day.

There are to many religous in any given school in America today. One religion should not rule.

Where were the parents here? As I work the street of New York City I see so many children out of control. This is a frivoulous case, a defense fund could find more needy to help.

Free Speech is not in a school with teachers telling one when to change classes and when to go to lunch and when to move. I never heard school was a free ride.

"In America we do have separation of church and state." I disagree

Read the entire constitution, and you will not find the phrase "separation of church and state" anywhere. Separation of church and state is a liberal lie based on a part of the constitution that was supposed to protect our rights freely practice religion, without the government getting involved. It was never meant to be used as a tool to suppress the free speech of christian, contrary to what the liberal god-haters will tell you.