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Verdict: Officials can be held accountable for violating religious rights

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[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Religion.]

By Kristen Waggoner
Real Clear Religion

As all children know, breaking a rule and hurting their brother or sister leads to a consequence. If parents don’t acknowledge the harm and enforce that consequence, the child will likely repeat the offense—over and over again.

Boundaries don’t work if we ignore when they’re broken.

But what children know, adults sometimes forget. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on March 8 in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski serves a much-needed reminder that when government officials violate our constitutionally protected freedoms, they must be held accountable.

The case started in 2016, when Georgia Gwinnett College officials stopped student Chike Uzuegbunam not once, but twice, from peacefully sharing his Christian faith with fellow students on his college campus. First, college officials said he had to get advance permission to use one of two tiny speech zones. These zones made up far less than one percent of the campus and were only open ten percent of the time. Chike followed these policies carefully, but when he showed up to share his beliefs, campus police again stopped him.

Like all of us, Chike has a constitutionally protected right to share his beliefs. As a student, he had a right to do so in the open, outdoor areas of campus. But the college blatantly violated his rights with its unconstitutional policies.

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