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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Purdue University Rejects Donor's Reference to 'God's physical laws' on Plaque Honoring Parents' Legacy"

From a news release from The Liberty Institute that begins:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorneys for a Purdue University alumnus, Dr. Michael McCracken, sent a letter to Purdue after the university rejected the language he had proposed for a plaque honoring his parents, in conjunction with a gift to the university. According to the letter, Purdue rejected Dr. McCracken's proposed language for the plaque because it included a reference to "God's physical laws."

"The First Amendment protects Dr. McCracken's right to refer to 'God's physical laws,' " said Dr. McCracken's attorney, Robert K. Kelner of Covington & Burling LLP. "Purdue asked Dr. McCracken to supply language of his choice in recognition of his and his wife's generous pledge to their alma mater. He chose language that honors the values instilled by his parents – Ed, also a Purdue alumnus, and Glenda, who recently passed away."

The letter sent Wednesday by attorneys from Covington & Burling LLP and Liberty Institute explains that Purdue rejected Dr. McCracken's choice of language after he and his wife made a $12,500 pledge to the university's School of Mechanical Engineering. When asked by the university to supply the language for a plaque to dedicate a small conference room, Dr. McCracken chose an inscription that would honor the legacy of his parents: "To those who seek to better the world through the understanding of God's physical laws and innovation of practical solutions." Purdue rejected that language because of its concern that the plaque "more likely than not" would be deemed a government endorsement of religion, opting instead to permit a plaque mentioning Dr. McCracken's parents without any use of the word "God."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 27, 2014 10:32 AM
Posted to Indiana Government