June 14, 2024

FFRF Forces Florida Elementary School to Disband Christian Club

Over the final a number of years, former President Donald Trump has voiced his disapproval of how folks of religion have been handled in America. In late December, he posted a video on his social media platform Truth Social with the caption, “Stopping the Persecution of Christians!”

“Americans of faith are being persecuted like nothing this nation has ever seen before,” he said within the video. “Catholics in particular are being targeted, and evangelicals are surely on the watchlist as well.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group based in 1976, has had a historical past of concentrating on Christians. Some of FFRF’s previous tasks embody suing a Tennessee elementary faculty on behalf of The Satanic Temple, suing New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way for forcing public workplace candidates to swear a spiritual oath, and ensuring {that a} Latin cross was taken down at Chino Valley Adult School in California.

While FFRF’s eyes are at present set on demanding that the Birmingham Police Department “end coercive staff prayer,” the group is celebrating one other win in its e-book. An elementary faculty in rural Florida was pressured to disband its Fellowship of Christian Athletes membership after being accused of indoctrinating youngsters into religion by FFRF. The FCA chapter included a small group of fifth-grade college students.

On March 29, FFRF authorized fellow Samantha Lawrence wrote a letter to District Superintendent Dorothy Lee Wetherington-Zamora “regarding a constitutional violation” at Hamilton County Elementary School. The sole elementary faculty within the small city of Jasper was accused of “alienating” and “excluding” nonreligious households, in addition to violating “students’ First Amendment rights by organizing, leading, and promoting a religious club.”

Lawrence defended FFRF’s stance by declaring that the Equal Access Act permits college students to kind non secular golf equipment in secondary colleges, however not elementary colleges. To additional her level, she wrote, “Elementary students are too young to truly run a club entirely on their own initiative with no input from school staff or outside adults,” insinuating that “adults are the ones truly behind the club.”

“Hamilton Elementary should strive to be welcoming and inclusive of all students, not just those who subscribe to a particular brand of Christianity,” Lawrence continued. “The District must immediately investigate this matter and ensure that the FCA club at Hamilton Elementary is disbanded.”

Joseph Backholm, senior fellow at Family Research Council, responded to FFRF’s complaints in a remark to The Washington Stand.

“In general, the FFRF is a bully organization that leverages people’s ignorance of their freedoms against them,” he mentioned. “This is far from the first time someone has tried to force a religious organization out of a school, but the First Amendment has, does, and hopefully always will be acknowledged as protecting those rights.”

After receiving the FFRF’s accusations, an area regulation agency representing the Hamilton County School District responded with a letter relaying their compliance.

“In an effort to avoid any perception that such a gathering on the campus of Hamilton Elementary is being organized, promoted or endorsed by the District or its employees, the club has been dispersed.” The letter additionally acknowledged that the participating students could be beginning sixth grade in a number of months and would “be eligible to participate in FCA on the campus of Hamilton County High School.”

Ultimately, the elementary school caved to FFRF’s calls for, a call First Liberty Institute—a nonprofit defending non secular freedom—disagrees with.

“Banning students from having a religious club at a school while permitting other, secular clubs is a travesty that teaches children their faith is unwelcome and must be hidden,” First Liberty Institute Deputy General Counsel Justin Butterfield told The Christian Post.

While FFRF exists to reduce non secular affect in America, organizations like First Liberty battle to protect non secular freedoms. Its mission closely contrasts with FFRF’s, because it has set out to defend “religious liberty for all Americans.”

Meanwhile, FFRF has begun celebrating its victory in shutting down the FCA chapter at Hamilton Elementary.

“It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism towards or coerce belief or participation in religion. It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for an elementary school to organize, lead, or encourage student participation in a religious club like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” the press release following the disbandment learn. “Thankfully, the district was willing to listen to reason and obey the law.”

While some leaders increase the alarm and organizations battle towards non secular persecution occurring on American soil, Backholm assures Christians ought not to concern.

“The last thing Christians should ever be is afraid,” he mentioned. “There have always been sectarian conflicts in the U.S., but fortunately they have been less serious than in most other parts of the world because respecting the conscience of others has long been an American value. Yes, it’s being threatened by a dogmatic and highly intolerant form of secularism, but relatively speaking we have much to be grateful for.”

Backholm additionally warned that Christians reside “on a spiritual battlefield.” He inspired these with a religion to stand agency, as “any public testimony to the gospel will illicit some kind of response,” however it’s a “reality Christians needs to be comfortable with.”

Originally published by The Washington Stand