In celebration of Constitution Day, Waynesburg University’s Stover Scholars will present “Piercing Power:
Religious Freedom, Liberty, and the Legacy of Pierce v. Society of Sisters” at noon on Sept. 20 in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center.
Written by a Committee of Stover Scholars chaired by Tyler McCoy, including T.J. DeNofrio, Drew Hreha, Olivia Schultz-Falandes, and Ryan Williams, the play dramatizes the 1925 Supreme Court case Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary which struck down an Oregon state law requiring parents to send their children to public schools and prohibiting parents from sending their children to religious and private schools. The Court held that the Oregon law “unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” “The child is not the mere creature of the state,” Justice McReynolds’s unanimous opinion declared.
“The Stover Scholars have been working for months to write this drama which raises important questions about constitutional interpretation and the role of the state regarding religious and individual liberty,” says Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, Director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership and Associate Professor of Ethics and Constitutional Law. The play is directed by Waynesburg University Professor of Theater Edward L. Powers.