School accused of persecuting 'Jesus Lunch' providers

School accused of persecuting 'Jesus Lunch' providers April 17, 2016

Every Tuesday, in a  park near Middleton High School in Wisconsin, a bunch of faith-heads offer free lunches for students – served with a generous portion of Jesus.
Schools have a duty of care to their pupils, and having unregulated strangers prepare and serve food to kids is naturally a source of concern to Middleton-Cross Plains school district officials, who have been trying to stop what has become known as the “Jesus Lunch” programme.
Squawks of “persecution” were immediately heard, and, according to this report, school officials have resorted to heavy-handed tactics to stop the Christians from giving out food, religious messages and Bibles at Fireman’s Park, which is leased by the school district.
The “intimidation” included school officials setting up cones to block parents from using the parking lot at at the park on Tuesday, according to Phil Stamman, an attorney who is representing the mothers involved with the programme.
Stammen is quoted here as saying:

These ongoing attempts to suppress free speech by school officials are disgraceful. These mothers devote hours each week to serving the students with free meals and a brief message about Jesus. They should not be bullied or harassed – but praised.

Donald Johnson, the superintendent of the Middleton-Cross Plains district, was among the school officials who tried to order the parents from using the park, Stamman said.
Beth Williams, one of the organisers of the student lunches, issued a statement defending her group’s right to use the park.

Fireman’s Park – a public park owned by the city of Middleton – remains accessible to everyone in the public for the purposes of assembly and free speech. By law, the lease agreement between the city and the school district of Middleton does not privatise the park.

School district officials recently sent a letter to parents, expressing concerns about the event and urging parents to end it.
The letter said that school officials:

Believe that religious or political events do not have a place in our schools or on our campus, except when sponsored by a student group in accordance with our rules, which require prior approval.
In addition, many students have conveyed to us their concern about a group offering free food to incentivise participation in a religious event on campus – the result of which has a divisive impact on our learning community. As such, we will continue to work with the parent group to find an amicable solution.

The school district has also expressed concern about the quality of the food being served to students, but Stammen rejected that argument.

Their true motivation is clear – it’s the religious speech (they object to).

He added that school officials have sought the help of local police to evict the parents, but they had declined to intervene. The lawyer said:

Students are free to go a local gas station to buy food, a friend’s house, McDonalds. It’s not an issue with food. The problem is the religious message and the fact that it’s becoming too effective.

Stamman said the parents could take legal action to protect their right to use the park, serve the lunches and speak freely about their religious faith.

I’ve been talking to a lawyer for the city and my clients and the Alliance Defending Freedom. We’re reviewing our options. We have not decided how to move forward yet.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • AgentCormac

    As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  • L.Long

    So As agent says TANSTAAFL!!
    So they give you lunch with a big serving of Bull’s Shit!!!
    Sounds yummy!!

  • SallyinMI

    Do any of these parents have food licenses? In Michigan, that process involves training and having the proper facilities for keeping food at a safe temperature. I notice some of these articles say they are serving a “hot lunch.” What is that exactly, and how do they keep it hot at a park?
    Are the lunches following any guidelines, or are they giving them mac and cheese and cookies?
    And sorry, ladies, but indoctrinating public school kids is against the law. How would you feel if a group of Muslim parents showed up and tried to teach your precious kids about ISLAM? Jews? Arabs? Seriously, think here. America, for all the GOP caterwauling, is NOT a Christian country. And you can preach Jesus all day and night, but you are not going to keep your failing churches alive by feeding high school kids cookies and BS.
    By the way, Jesus preached that you should ‘pay Caesar what is Caesar’s’ but otherwise, you’re to pray alone and not in the public square. Did you miss those verses?

  • “a public park owned by the city of Middleton”
    There’s your answer right there, friend. Like it or not, no religious events can happen on tax funded (“public”) property. Events sponsored by religious groups, sure thing! Religious events, no. The line between the two can be hard to see, but if there is handing out of Bibles and prayers and sermons then it’s pretty easy to see.
    Or perhaps you’d like public and private displays of religion to be freely mixed. Very well, consider this. I and some of my friends need to use the main buildings of your Church for a camp site for the next few months. We hate religion and will spend most of our time doing so. We should not be bullied or harassed – but praised.
    How’d that mental experiment work out for you?

  • Barty

    Ok then … Provide the meals without the pious coercion … See how long that would last. Not long.
    Oh and how the pious would scream shriek and rant if a bunch of atheists provided meals with the message that religion is dangerous and divisive and based on incredible confected myths.

  • Newspaniard

    A child dies while eating at one of these meetings. In the American blame culture, someone HAS to be sued. Who? The jesus freaks or the school? Who has the most access to money? Right. The school will get their socks sued off. Sort the problem out, school, or one day a “grieving” parent will be knocking on your door demanding compensation. Perhaps the school could provide free packed lunches without the jesus penalty?

  • Bob

    If they were giving out leaflets promoting gay marriage or abortion they would be encouraged to carry on. However, they are giving out the truths of the Gospel and so there is an attempt by satan’s agents to stop them.

  • Daz

    Bob, you dumb bloody shitkicking moron.
    Learn. To. Read:

    “The letter said that school officials:
    ‘Believe that religious or political events do not have a place in our schools or on our campus'”

    If they were giving out leaflets promoting campaigns to amend or defend laws—into which class both of your examples would fall—that would be politics, and would be equally frowned upon.
    Prat.

  • Brian

    bwaah bwaah boo hoo boo hoo bwahhhh haaah bwaaah … i am being persecuted because i cannot I am not being allowed to tell lies to schol children … bwaah bwaah boo hoo boo hoo bwahhhh haaah bwaaah bwaah bwaah boo hoo boo hoo bwahhhh haaah bwaaah … its not fair …

  • Cali Ron

    Bob: Your a blithering idiot as usual, apparently not able to comprehend the content of the article. The police refused to intervene. School officials trying to maintain the legally required separation of church and state are not “satan’s agents”. Your mention of gay and abortion is unrelated, verbal garbage used to draw an emotional response, but is unrelated to the topic. Your gospel is not truth, but rather filled with lies and contradictions, just like you.
    Would it help you to comprehend if it was written in crayon in really big letters or are the words to big for you.

  • Peter Sykes

    Daz:
    Re Bob,
    “Reasoning with one who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to a dead man.” – Thomas Paine

  • Peter Sykes

    Cali Ron:
    “Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” – Thomas Jefferson
    The last bit of this quote fits our Bob to a tee!

  • Cali Ron

    Peter Sykes: An apt quote. I know responding to Bob is like talking to your dog. He may smile and wag his tail, but he doesn’t really understand what I’m saying. My argumentative nature just couldn’t let the rubbish he wrote go and I find it cathartic to respond.

  • Robster

    Hope their food offering is better than the regular dry, flesh of the dead Jesus tasteless wafer with red wine chaser currently on offer at the local religious facilities. If they want the kids on board, perhaps hamburgers or even meat pies would work better. Do the authorities check that there’s no lurking clergies wandering around the park in eager anticipation?