Bradlee Dean apparently has a new lawyer, the Liberty Counsel, and they’re demanding a Florida high school allow Dean and his anti-gay hate group be allowed to speak to a student club. Dean, and his “youth ministry group,” You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International — which has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — were invited by a conservative student group to speak but asked to leave by the school principal during their presentation.
“Principal William Latson said the American Club’s faculty sponsor failed to get prior permission from school administrators, which is required under school district policy. So he instructed Dean to leave. Latson said the sponsor realized the error and has resigned from the club,” Scott Travis at the Sun Sentinel reports:
But in the eyes of a conservative legal group, Latson has engaged in “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination,” banning the speaker because of his conservative Christian views on homosexuality. The Orlando-based Liberty Council sent a complaint to Superintendent Wayne Gent.
“We see serious constitutional problems with the principal censoring religious and political expression simply because they are deemed ‘offensive’, especially when there are no specific, articulable facts to support such an assertion,” said Horatio G. Mihet, a lawyer for the Liberty Counsel.
District spokesman Nat Harrington said Latson followed proper procedures. Latson said he didn’t discriminate based on Dean’s views, because he didn’t know what they were.
“I didn’t know who Bradlee Dean was. I was just told we had a speaker, and we hadn’t approved it. I told him he couldn’t speak because it hadn’t been approved.”
Latson said speakers need to be vetted to ensure their message will be appropriate for a high school audience and whether parental permission slips may be needed.
Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, said he understands not all speakers may be appropriate, but the principal should be clear and follow the law in the criteria used.
“He can’t just have an unfettered capability of agreeing or disagreeing with them and making a determination on that basis,” he said.
Latson said people of differing viewpoints, including ones from both major political parties, are invited. And the Liberty Counsel acknowledges some conservative speakers have spoken on campus without incident, including Victoria Jackson, a former Saturday Night Live star who aligns with the tea party.
Last year, Dean and his group sparked outrage among students and parents after speaking to junior and senior high school students in Iowa. The children were shown pictures of aborted fetuses and told “the average age of death of a homosexual man is 42 years old.”
Reporting on last year’s event, the LaCrosse Tribune noted:
During the breakout session, the young men learned the group’s thoughts on the U.S. Constitution and what one Prophet referred to as its “10 commandments.” The leader also showed images of musicians who died because of drug overdoses, including Elvis Presley.
Members of the group blasted other performers, like Toby Keith, for their improper influence.
The girls, meanwhile, were told to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in the household. According to witnesses, the leader in that effort also forced the young ladies to chant a manta of sorts about remaining pure.
Here is a video, presumably created by Bradlee Dean or his group, and posted to Dean’s “Sons of Liberty” YouTube page. In the video’s description it asks for donations:
“‘Unite with the team that is restoring America back to its Biblical foundation and proclaiming liberty throughout the land! Join our team, check out more information, and donate here…’”
It’s important to note the casual integration in the video, referencing Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District should be examined in relation to the full decision and subsequent legal decisions.
Hat tip: Talking Points Memo
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