Little Pencil v. Lubbock Independent School District

To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at ADFmedia.org.
Monday, March 02, 2015

Description:  Lubbock Independent School District refused to display a faith-based ad on its jumbotron during high school football games. The district denied the ad because of its religious message even though the district permits other non-school-related organizations, including other religious groups, to advertise.


ADF: ‘Jesus Tattoo’ ad is protected free speech

ADF attorneys appeal court ruling that allowed Texas school district to refuse ad on Jumbotron
Monday, March 02, 2015

Attorney sound bites:  Jeremy Tedesco  |  Kevin Theriot

WHO: ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot
WHAT: Available for media interviews following hearing in Little Pencil v. Lubbock Independent School District
WHEN: Tuesday, March 3, immediately after hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. CST
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, Room 209, 600 Camp St., New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews following oral arguments in a federal appeals court Tuesday on behalf of a faith-based organization prohibited from advertising on a Texas school district’s Jumbotron during football games.

In July 2014, ADF appealed a district court’s decision that allowed Lubbock Independent School District to deny the ad for JesusTattoo.org because of its religious message even though it permits other non-school-related organizations, including other religious groups, to advertise.

“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Tedesco, who will argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. “School officials cannot legally allow some groups to advertise while prohibiting others simply because their message is religious – especially when the district has already allowed the religious messages of other groups. The First Amendment forbids this kind of censorship.”

In October of last year, Lubbock Independent School District denied the ad request from David L. Miller, founder of Little Pencil, LLC, an organization that promotes the Bible’s teachings through contemporary marketing campaigns. The ad consists of the website address “jesustattoo.org” and an image of Jesus Christ with allegorical tattoos that represent the sins he bore on the cross. The site features a video that shows struggling individuals going to Jesus for help. Jesus changes their negative tattoos, which represent their struggles, into positive ones. The end of the video shows Jesus bearing their tattoos as a sign that he has taken on their struggles.

The district explained to ADF attorneys that it denied Miller’s request because the district, by its own policies and practices, “is prohibited from allowing religious advertisements with the use of government property based on the Establishment Clause.” Despite the explanation, the district routinely permits various other faith-based, non-school-related organizations to advertise, such as Full Armor Ministries, Lubbock Christian University, Sunset Church of Christ’s Just Kids Preschool, and Bethany Baptist Church. It also allows numerous non-religious, non-school-related organizations to advertise.

“The government has no business policing the advertising marketplace and excluding certain religious groups because of their message,” added Theriot. “We hope the 5th Circuit will affirm the constitutionally protected freedoms of all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs.”

Attorney Robert Hogan, one of more than 2,500 private attorneys allied with ADF, is local counsel in the case, Little Pencil v. Lubbock Independent School District.
 
  • Fact sheet: Little Pencil v. Lubbock Independent School District
  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


# # # | Ref. 42150

Additional resources: Little Pencil v. Lubbock Independent School District

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue.
Monday, March 02, 2015

Previous news releases:

  • 2014-07-02: Appeal filed over ‘Jesus Tattoo’ ad barred from jumbotron
  • 2014-01-28: ‘Jesus Tattoo’ ad barred from jumbotron

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.