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.