ACLU responds to video clip by Charles Jacobs and "Americans for Peace and Tolerance"


September 16, 2010

Chris Ott, ACLU of Massachusetts, (617) 482-3170 x322,

BOSTON -- The following statement can be attributed to Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts:

The ACLU opposes proselytizing of public school children and supports the separation of church and state as the best way to ensure religious liberty for all.

The ACLU supports teaching about other faiths and religions as long as it is done in a constitutional way, but bringing students to a house of worship while worship services are going on is problematic. If, as the video produced by this organization purports to show, public school children were indeed asked to take part in a prayer service at a mosque, it would be deeply troubling, as would any invitation to public school children to participate in a prayer service at any church, temple, or other religious place of worship. If the facts as presented in the video are accurate, Wellesley school officials should take steps to develop new methods and appropriate guidelines for teaching about world religion.

The ACLU also is troubled by the misleading inclusion of ACLU staff in this video clip. The ACLU was never involved in a visit by public school children to the Roxbury mosque. Rather, images of ACLU staff included in the video were taken at a public event held at the Roxbury mosque on May 22, 2010, at which Governor Deval Patrick, Maura Healey, Chief, Civil Rights Division at Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, ACLU of Massachusetts Education Director Nancy Murray, and others were invited to speak about ways to fight prejudice and discrimination in Massachusetts.

See also:

Yours is a Peaceful Faith, Boston Globe coverage of Roxbury mosque event, May 23, 2010

"Americans for Peace and Tolerance" video clip