Coalition seeks repeal of Klan-era ban on religious garb in Oregon schools
Coalition seeks repeal of Klan-era ban on religious garb in Oregon schools

.- Religious freedom advocates have asked the Oregon legislature for an immediate repeal of a decades-old law that bars Oregon teachers from wearing religious dress in public schools. The law, originally an anti-Catholic measure, was implemented with the support of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.

Current Oregon law bars religious Jews from wearing yarmulkes, religious Sikhs from wearing turbans, and religious Muslim women from wearing a headscarf.

According to the Oregonian, the law was designed to prevent priests and nuns from wearing their clerics and habits in the classroom. It was part of a bill that barred Japanese-Americans from owning property in the state.

A coalition of interfaith civil rights and bar association organizations, including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, sent a letter to state legislative leaders asking for the repeal of the law.

“It is amazing that Oregon, of all places, would want to keep religious minorities from getting a fair shot at public school jobs,” Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at the Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund, said in a press release. “Why should anyone care if Mr. Singh wears a turban while teaching physics class?”

The law was upheld in a 1986 Oregon Supreme Court decision. The Oregonian reports that the court sided with the Eugene School District when it fired a Sikh teacher for wearing a turban, as is required by her faith.

The Oregon ACLU is leading supporters of the ban on religious clothing. They have argued that allowing religious clothing could lead to the indoctrination of children.

Oregon ACLU director David Fidanque has told the Oregonian that repealing the law could endanger the “religious neutrality” of public schools.

He reported his organization has received many complaints charging that some schools do too much to promote Christianity. Fidanque also voiced concern that lifting the ban on religious dress could lead some teachers to wear Jesus T-shirts or take other steps to evangelize at school.

Rassbach was critical of the ACLU affiliate’s support for the ban.

“You wouldn’t think that the ACLU would be channeling the Klan. But sadly the ACLU is doing everything it can to keep religious Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, and Catholics from being public school teachers.”

Oregon is one of three states that forbid public school teachers from wearing religious dress in the classroom.

Other laws backed by the Klan in Oregon included a 1922 law which required children to attend public schools, threatening the existence of Catholic parochial schools. A Catholic religious order helped launch legal challenges to the law, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1925 ruling Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: