The Aug. 4 editorial "Schools and Faith" about the discrimination by Montgomery County Public Schools against the Child Evangelism Fellowship said that a court order ending discrimination against the CEF would "transform teachers into agents of evangelism." This is false.
The fliers merely informed parents of the existence of Good News Clubs so that they could decide whether to send their children to club meetings. The fellowship simply asked for the same treatment that 225 other groups already receive. To say that the distribution of a 226th group's meeting notice would transform teachers into "agents of evangelism" is far-fetched.
The Montgomery school system refused to extend the flier privilege to the CEF, saying it would "establish the religion of Christianity." But the Supreme Court consistently has rejected the argument that government "establishes" religion if it fails to discriminate against it. Equal treatment is neither endorsement nor establishment.
The concern about overburdening school personnel with flier distribution also rings hollow given that no one raised this concern until the court told the schools to stop discriminating against religion.
The editorial's overheated rhetoric obscured the real injustice in this case: Montgomery schools' hostility toward religious messages and the lengths to which the system is willing to go to avoid its legal and moral obligation simply to be fair.
GREGORY S. BAYLOR
Center for Law and Religious Freedom
Christian Legal Society
The writer is one of the attorneys for the Child Evangelism Fellowship in its lawsuit against the Montgomery County Public Schools.
The Montgomery County Board of Education solved its problem with a faith-based after-school program by barring all out-of-school day-care centers from distributing fliers, while allowing information distribution by in-school day-care centers.
I operate an off-site day-care center, and this has created a real injustice for providers such as myself. Any single elementary school usually has two or three day-care providers, only one of which is on-site. The school system's selection of on-site providers does not make these centers better than others -- the state, not the school system, licenses and regulates day-care centers. Centers may offer different programs, prices, quality and operating hours, all of which are of interest to families needing child care before and after school.
If one center gets to freely inform families of its availability while others are shut out, how does this serve the best interest of Montgomery County schoolchildren and their families?
SUSAN M. HEDGES