By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

First Amendment rights and wrongs

In an effort to respect the First Amendment‘s guarantee of freedom of religion, the Upton selectmen have given short shrift to another provision of the First Amendment: “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

According to Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald, the selectmen recently voted to reject a request by local Catholics to hold a “rosary rally” on the town common, citing the separation of church and state.

But as noted civil-liberties lawyer and Friend of Media Nation Harvey Silverglate tells Heslam, there is no constitutional problem with allowing a prayer rally on public property as long as other groups are accorded the same right of access. Another civil-liberties lawyer, Chester Darling, goes further, saying, “Those selectmen belong in federal court.”

Prediction: The selectmen are going to change their minds.

Update, Oct. 28: Well, that was fast.

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  1. Mike Rice

    Proof that some selectmen don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing.

  2. Rick Peterson

    Charles Laquidara ruined this town for me. “Have you ever been phoned in Upton, Mass…….?”

  3. Marc Larocque

    How can these people get voted in? This just proves many Americans are so enslaved by their debt and jobs that they don’t have time for even paying attention to civic life.

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