Family Research Council

June 21, 2013 - Friday

Remington Sticks to His Guns in School District Flap

The school may have turned off his microphone, but Remington Reimer still got the last word. Two weeks after Joshua High School made headlines for interrupting the Valedictorian's speech, the superintendent is finally showing some remorse. The story spread like wildfire on June 6, when Remington decided to add to his "pre-approved remarks" and talk about his relationship with Jesus instead.

"[M]ost importantly," Reimer told his class, "I want to thank God for giving up his only Son for us to an excruciating death on a cross, so His blood would cover all our shortcomings and provide for us a way to heaven in accepting His grace." Most of the audience missed the rest of Remington's speech, but that didn't matter. In the next few days, the media's coverage only amplified the message the school had tried to censor. "We are fortunate," he said, "to live in a country where we can express our beliefs -- where our mics won't be turned off, as I have been threatened to be... I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me. And I urge you to do the same."

Turns out, not everyone thought Reimer's speech was as courageous as his class did. The Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran called Remington's father into the office the next day and vowed to crush the Valedictorian's career goals. "Specifically," said Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser, "he threatened to send a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character."

Not only was it a childish and vindictive response, but Cochran's bullying exposed the school to a very public and very damaging legal fight -- which experts agree would have been an open-and-shut case. Apart from violating Reimer's free speech, Texas has a specific law on viewpoint discrimination that protects students who talk openly about their beliefs. The school district was in a no-win situation on either count, which may explain why the superintendent felt compelled to apologize.

To head off a lawsuit and any further embarrassment, Fran Merek complied with Liberty Institute's demands by releasing a public statement admitting their mistake. "On behalf of the school district, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Mr. Todd Reimer and Remington Reimer for any interpretation of a threat by Mr. Cochran in expressing his displeasure at a meeting on Friday morning between Mr. Todd Reimer and Mr. Cochran following Remington Reimer's valedictory address. The District has never intended to nor will take punitive action against Remington Reimer for deviating from the prior-reviewed speech. The District endorses Remington Reimer's appointment to the Naval Academy and wishes him success for all future endeavors in his naval career." Then, in a nod to future graduates, Merek vows that school officials will follow "district policy" for upcoming ceremonies.

Congratulations to our friends at Liberty Institute and to Remington for boldly standing for truth!

Court Decision Won't Be Final Decision on Marriage

After months of holding our breath, the two sides of the marriage debate will finally be able to exhale when the U.S. Supreme Court finally rules on the institution next week. The decisions, two of the biggest in our lifetimes, may fundamentally alter marriage in law, but regardless of the outcome, no court can ever alter marriage. This week, 211 Christian leaders and organizations -- including FRC -- released a statement of solidarity, vowing that no matter what happens in the Court, we stand on the natural and moral definition of marriage.

"Marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage," the signers write. "If the Supreme Court becomes the tool by which marriage is redefined... we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in the nation we love... While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw, and one we cannot and will not cross."

FCC Says 'Bare with Us' on Decency Rules

Parents (and all adults) should have the confidence that when they watch network television on the public airwaves, they won't be subjected to indecent scenes or language. Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is weighing a policy change that will have more parents lunging for the remote. Under a proposal floated by the agency, the government would relax the rules on profanity and nudity -- even when millions of children and young people are watching.

As our friends with Morality in Media note, "Broadcasters do not have a right to turn network television into a cesspool at the expense of children and those who wish to avoid the foul language and pornography that is now so common on cable television. Countless families forgo cable TV to avoid indecent material. That right should not be taken from them." That's why this week FRC filed formal comments with the FCC, arguing that there's no need to revisit current decency standards. Instead, we call on the FCC "to start enforcing its indecency policies including its rejection of even 'fleeting' expletives and nudity."

** Looking for a place to worship in Baton Rouge this Sunday? Try Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, where I'll be preaching an on-going series entitled, "Life by God's Design," at the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. Join us at 19421 Greenwell Springs Road, Greenwell Springs, Louisiana 70739!

*** Tune in for a special FRC edition of "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" at 5:00 p.m. (ET). Our team of experts, including Tom McClusky, Dr. David Prentice, JP Duffy, David Christensen, and Rob Schwarzwalder, will be in studio to give listeners a picture of life and work in D.C.

**** Where does Arizona go from here now that the Supreme Court has overturned its voter ID law? Ken Klukowski has a few ideas in his latest Breitbart column, "Conservative Battle Plan after SCOTUS's AZ Election Law Ruling."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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