The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

No Bong Hits 4 Jesus

Posted by thelamp on March 12, 2007

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a five-year-old free speech case, Morse v. Frederick, which was prompted by a high school student’s banner proclaiming “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” Free speech is a treasured right and should be protected, but it is shameful and embarrassing that the Lord’s name is used in vain, and the nation’s highest court is put in a position to defend it.

Without a doubt, Jesus would never partake.

Joseph Frederick, at the time a student in Juneau, Alaska, was suspended for 10 days from Douglas High School after he held up a banner that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” as the 2002 Olympic torch relay passed near his school. Frederick, who was standing across the street from the school on a public sidewalk, had not attended school that morning. In addition, the school had released students so they could watch the relay.

The school’s principal crossed the street and pulled down Frederick’s banner. He was ultimately suspended because administrators determined the banner promoted illegal drug use contrary to the school’s educational mission.

Frederick sued the Juneau School District in 2002. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled in his favor in March 2006. Although the appellate court considered the speech to have occurred on campus, it was not subject to censorship or punishment because the banner created no substantial disruption of school activities. Perhaps Christian students should have objected.

More is at issue here than freedom of expression. School authorities are all worked up because they want and need some degree of control, but where are Christians on this high-profile case? Just as people are discouraged from yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater because of the potential danger the bogus warning could cause, Christ’s followers also must limit the use of His name.

By remaining silent while their Lord and Savior’s name is sullied, Christians are yielding to the blasphemous pop culture. Defending something as outrageous as a banner linking the icon of morality with illegal self-destructive behavior leads to the kind of thinking that produces demeaning depictions of religious personalities in art and other forms of media.



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