An Elementary School Proselytizes in Michigan

The American Humanist Association has written a letter demanding an explanation for why an elementary school in Alma, Michigan (a short drive from where I live) has fliers for a local church at the entrance for the school. You can read the full letter here.

A concerned citizen has contacted our office to request assistance with regard to what is correctly perceived as a constitutional violation that is occurring under the authority of your school and school district. Apparently religious flyers promoting one church in your community – Trinity Church – are being prominently displayed inside the main entrance of your school. Via these written materials, this church (which happens to be the congregation of several members of the faculty of the school) is being promoted to the students and all others who enter the school. The colorful flyers (photos of which can be seen at the end of this letter), specifically target children, with cartoon figures, a message that “Kids Matter to God,” and promotion of events for kids. These materials have reportedly been present at this location for several weeks, since the start of the school year, if not longer, and no other churches or organizations of any kind enjoy this marketing privilege. This activity is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution…

By allowing a church to indefinitely use public school property, an elementary school property no less, to promote its worship services, the government sends the “unequivocal message that” the public school district, “as an institution, endorses the religious expressions embodied” in the Christian church…

The unconstitutional endorsement is even more troubling here because the church flyers are being distributed at an elementary school. Elementary students are vastly more impressionable than high school students and are more likely to perceive the school’s actions as an endorsement of religion.

I’ll be watching with great curiosity to see what happens here. The school could hardly be more obviously in violation of the law.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    The American Humanist Association has written a letter demanding an explanation for why an elementary school in Alma, Michigan (a short drive from where I live) has fliers for a local church at the entrance for the school.

    Does it really matter where the fliers are? Talk about missing the forest for the trees! Shouldn’t the real issue be that there’s a local church at the entrance for the school?

  • Kevin Kehres

    One of the things that led me on my path to humanism/secularism was my discomfort at the thought of being forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer at school. The fourth grade teacher whose class I had been assigned to was notorious for this practice. And I thought it was just completely unfair and not right.

    And then the Engel v. Vitale decision came down in 1962. And even though that meant my teacher couldn’t make us recite the Lord’s Prayer, that sense of unease stuck with me. It was around this time that I figured out the bible story about the big boat was a load of nonsense as well. So, my nascent humanism/secularism was bolstered by a budding atheism.

    In short — I’m not sure that kids are as clueless and as easily indoctrinated as we think. I sure wasn’t.

  • John Pieret

    I’m not sure that kids are as clueless and as easily indoctrinated as we think. I sure wasn’t.

    Some are, some aren’t, But look around and see all the people who believe absolutely crazy shit and never question it because IT’S IN THE BIBLE! How many of them became religious when they were adults and how many when they were children?

  • Michael Heath

    The colorful flyers (photos of which can be seen at the end of this letter), specifically target children, with cartoon figures, a message that “Kids Matter to God,”

    One of the questions I’d like get an answer on from those who claim communion with God, is how many kids does God plan to burn in Hell for all eternity? Is this what “Kids Matter to God” means? Perhaps they matter because God needs a certain number for his BBQ recipe.

  • Taz

    I went to their website to check out this church. Here’s a couple of tidbits from their statement of Faith:

    Of the Creation:

    We accept the Genesis account of the Creation and believe that mankind exists by the direct creation of God in six 24 hour days.

    ———

    Of the Last Days:

    The unbelieving dead will then be raised to face their final judgment at the Great White Throne from which they will be cast into the lake of fire along with Satan to suffer for eternity.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    What I don’t get: Is there not one adult in this school who knows well enough to tear this shit off the wall and throw it in the trash? I would, consequences be damned.

    The Principle of this school should be fired.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Kamaka “The Principle of this school should be fired.”

    How? It’s already got no principles.