AHA Wins Lawsuit on Religious Field Trips

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center won a major victory in Joplin, Missouri, where the public schools regularly took students on field trips to a Christian sports ministry. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

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The American Humanist Association applauds the ruling of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri that the Joplin School District in Joplin, Missouri, violated the Establishment Clause in sending students on field trips to a Christian ministry. The federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment yesterday.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was made aware of this violation by a concerned Humanist parent, when she discovered the school district was sending children on a field trip to the Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, a center that displays religious messages. The school even required parents to sign waivers which would allow the ministry to proselytize their children. The American Humanist Association demanded the school district cease its involvement with the Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, but the school went forward with the trip. It was subsequently revealed the school was using the Victory facility for numerous activities, including sending children there for so-called abstinence-only sex education the knowledge of parents.

“This is a victory for the Constitution,” said David Niose, Legal Director for the American Humanist Association. “The school district has been funneling money and impressionable students to a religious ministry that is in the business of luring children to Christianity, and we’re glad that the court could see that this is clearly unconstitutional activity.”

As always, there’s a very simple way to know whether it’s a violation or not: Would the same people who support this take the same position if it was a Muslim ministry instead of a Christian one?

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