In a victory for free speech (yippee!), a federal court in Kansas issued a preliminary injunction blocking a law that punishes people for expressing their political views. The law, which requires state contractors to certify “they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel,” is the subject of a lawsuit filed last October by the ACLU. Basically, Kansas’ Department of Education refused to contract with a veteran math teacher who was selected for a special program to train her fellow educators all across the state. Despite her qualifications, Esther Koontz was denied participation because she, as a member of the Mennonite Church, boycotts products “associated with acts of violence or policies of military occupation, including items produced in [Israeli] settlements.” Koontz argues the Kansas law violates her First Amendment rights, and we agree! Stay tuned, because this case is bigger than Kansas: 24 states have passed similar laws. We’ll leave you with a dose of irony: former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who authorized the law back in June, became ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on Wednesday, shortly after signing a proclamation declaring Tuesday a statewide day of fasting and prayer on his behalf. Establishment Clause, anyone? Not so much.

comments powered by Disqus