A lawsuit filed in federal court this week alleges that a Pennsylvania teacher confiscated a boy’s Valentine’s Day cards because they contained a religious message.
Ironically, the school is located in the township of Nazareth.
“St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God’s love,” the 3rd grader’s Valentine’s message read. “In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that God loves you!!!”
The Bible verse John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”) was written on the bottom.
According to a lawsuit filed by the Christian Alliance Defending Freedom, the boy’s teacher “became concerned about the religious message" and wouldn't allow him to distribute the notes.
The boy’s parents, Donald and Ellen Abramo, expressed their concern to the school, which responded that the issue was "being taken seriously."
But a meeting with the Nazareth Area School District solicitor and Shafer Elementary School principal didn’t satisfy the angry parents, who decided the take the matter up in court.
“To single out a faith-based message for censorship is exactly the type of hostility to religion that the First Amendment forbids,” ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco said of the suit.
“He was very sad,” Tedesco told Fox News host Todd Starnes. “It’s a terrible message to send to kids. There were cards with guns and skeletons, yet his religious beliefs are taboo?”
Tedesco was referring to Valentine’s Day cards themed after “Despicable Me 2” and “Star Wars” Lego toys.
The lawsuit also claims that the boy was too scared to pray before lunch because “he is afraid of getting in trouble.”
The Abramos are claiming that they were denied due process and treated unfairly because of their beliefs. They want the school district’s policy to be deemed unconstitutional, as well as payment of their legal fees.