'Candy Cane' Case Appealed to US Supreme Court

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A religious freedom case involving candy cane pens was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday by the Liberty Institute, a Christian non-profit organization.

The case started eight years ago when Jonathan Morgan, a middle school student in Plano, Texas, was not allowed to hand out the pens at his school because the pens had the name of Jesus imprinted on them.

Four families sued the school district in 2004, claiming their children had also been banned from handing out pencils with "Jesus is the reason for the season" on them, candy canes with cards describing their Christian origin, and other religious materials.

A federal appeals court ruled school children do have First Amendment rights. However, it also ruled school principals can't be held responsible for violating them.

Mt. Soledad Cross Case

In another case in California, a memorial cross that has stood for the last 56 years on Mt. Soledad near San Diego, is in danger of being removed.

The controversial cross was set up in 1954 as a memorial to the veterans of the Korean War.

The American Civil Liberties Union has battled for years to have the cross taken down. However, veterans groups and local citizens have rallied local support to keep the memorial.

In 2008, a federal judge ruled the cross could stay, but the ACLU appealed the judge's ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the cross was unconstitutional in January 2011.

A petition for the court to re-hear the case was later denied in October.

Some say the Mt. Soledad case has also become a part of a larger effort to protect the country's national memorials.

Kelly Shackleford, president of Liberty Institute, discussed more about the candy cane pens case, why religious freedom is important in our nation's schools, and what will be the next step in the Mt. Soledad cross case during an exclusive interview on CBN News' Newswatch, Dec. 30.

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