Hawaii's Department of Education has canceled a high school
orchestra's fundraising event because it was to be held at a church
-- an action that one attorney calls another anti-Christmas
pronouncement from the government.
The Moanalua High School orchestra has been holding Christmas
concerts for years to raise money for Mercy Ships,
which houses American doctors who are on a medical mission in
Africa. Those physicians help the residents, some of whom have
never seen a doctor.
But Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel reports that no money will be
raised this year, thanks to a complaint from Mitch Kahle, founder
of the Hawaii Citizens for Separation of Church and State.
According to the Hawaii Reporter, his letter to the
Department of Education was written on Freedom From Religion
"This is absurd, because this concert is permissible," Staver
asserts. "They've raised many, many dollars for good causes, and
it's certainly not unconstitutional for a public school orchestra
or other singers to go to a religious venue like, in this case, New
Hope Church and have a concert."
The Liberty Counsel founder notes that his firm offers free
advice on how to combat these kinds situations.
"Our 'Friend or Foe' Christmas Campaign is designed to educate
and, if necessary, to litigate to make sure that Christmas is not
censored, to make sure that these kinds of situations do not
occur," Staver details. "We have a lot of free information there on
our website. We also give free legal advice, free legal
The award-winning orchestra has reportedly raised $200,000 over
the last six years through their annual Christmas concert. The
Hawaii Reporter explains that even though last weekend's
concert was canceled, New Hope planned on trying to make up for the
$30,000 that was promised to Mercy Ships this year by holding its