University ordered to fund Wide Awake magazine.
Ron Rosenberger emerged from the Supreme Court on June 29 with a smile of victory on his face and a copy of the new Wide Awake magazine under his arm. In a 5-to-4 decision on the last day of its term, the Court ruled that the University of Virginia violated Rosenberger's free-speech rights when it refused to finance his student publication solely because it advocated a religious viewpoint. A group of 20 students, however, decided earlier this year to revive the quarterly Christian publication-with or without university funds.
In May, 7,500 copies of the first issue of Wide Awake in three years rolled off the presses. "We Christians can't, upon the denial of an appropriations check, cower back into our closets of anonymity, quiet and defeated, to rot forever," wrote Wide Awake's new editor in chief, Erick Sierra, in his debut column. But the fourth-year English-literature student confirms it took "an indomitable conviction" that God wanted him to resuscitate the publication with only advertising revenues and personal donations. "After approaching 130 churches and numerous businesses, we barely squeaked by," Sierra says. The Supreme Court's ruling will provide Wide Awake with a stable future.
A NEUTRALITY GUARANTEED: "The decision puts an end to the double standards used in university funding of student groups and guarantees a free marketplace of ideas on campuses," Rosenberger says. "We're finally beginning to move away from government hostility to religion, and going in the direction of neutrality."
"Rosenberger has started a profound rethinking, particularly among government attorneys, about the mistreatment of religion that's gone on for thirty years," says Michael McDonald, ...1
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