Court OKs public-school caroling

Public school rules allowing Christmas pageants including the singing of religious carols in Sioux Falls, South Dakota survived a court challenge this week, reports Monitor correspondent Julia Malone.

A divided US Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union charging that the religious observances were unconstitutional. The high court let stand an appeals court ruling that the guidelines do not violate separation of church and state.

"It would be literally impossible to develop a public school curriculum that did not is some way affect the religious or nonreligious sensibilities of some of the students or their parents," said the appeals court ruling.

Only two justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, voted to hear the ACLU challenge, which originated with a father who objected to Christmas celebrations in his son's kindergarten.

Marc D. Stern, lawyer for the american Jewish Congress, which assisted the ACLU, said his group would look for new cases to challenge religious program in public schools.

Still awaiting Supreme Court action is a challenge of a Kentucky law providing for hanging a copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom in the state, using voluntary contributions. The Kentucky Heritage Foundation raised $ 150,000 and provided 15,000 framed copies of the commandments for many of that staate's classrooms.

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