No more bong hits for Jesus. Okay, maybe the Son of God will have a toke or two, but we won't be holding up any fourteen foot long banners announcing it. The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner. Maybe it was that whole "4" instead of "for" thing. The Supreme Court can be awfully picky when it comes to homophones - homo anything for that matter.
Joseph Frederick unfurled his homemade sign on a winter morning in 2002, as the Olympic torch made its way through Juneau, Alaska, on the way to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. "The message on Frederick's banner is cryptic," Roberts said. "But Principal Morse thought the banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is plainly a reasonable one."
The irony, for me at any rate, is that the Supreme Court got to rule on this one at all. Over the course of a year I hand out a half-dozen brightly colored T-shirts to cover up slogans or pictures that I deem inappropriate for an elementary school. A current favorite in our neighborhood is some mix of Al Pacino as "Scarface" and the slogan: "Say hello to my little friend." I suppose it could be inferred that Tony Montana may have been referring to Jesus Christ at the time, but we're still going to ask the ten-year olds to cover it up for the remainder of the school day. I wonder if Justice Roberts would agree.