Seems the big problem was that some first- and second-graders were gathering at their Tennessee elementary school each morning before class to take part in — brace yourself — a Bible club.
At least it was a problem for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Because when the atheist group found out the tykes were cracking open the Good Book at Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett, Tennessee, the FFRF fired off a letter to Bartlett City Schools.
The atheist group said there should be an investigation to ensure that teachers and staff are not participating in the Bible club, which FFRF added would be a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, WMC-TV reported.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not shy about going up against schools and even towns over separation of church and state issues — and indeed the school district shut down the Bible club, WATN-TV reported.
Dozens of children attended it, WMC reported.
Here’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a statement to WATN:
FFRF is pleased to learn that Bartlett City Schools has taken appropriate action to disband an unconstitutional religious club, which was really just religious instruction by public school officials. This development is a victory not only for reason and the law but for the inviolable right of a captive audience of first- and second-grade students to be free from indoctrination in a public school setting.
Bartlett City Schools on Thursday confirmed to TheBlaze that the Bible club was being run by district employees. It also told WATN a statement that “per our understanding, religious clubs at elementary schools must be sponsored by an outside group.”
One family isn’t taking the developments lying down and contacted a lawyer from the Center for Religious Expression, WATN said. Seems two children from the family were looking forward to attending the Bible club next school year, WATN reported.
“The message they are sending these kids is there is something terribly wrong with you wanting to meet and discuss the Bible,” Nate Kellum, an attorney for the Center for Religious Expression, told WATN.
The family’s argument is that the Bible club isn’t unconstitutional since it’s elective and takes place before school starts, the station said.
“Whether it’s the Cub Scouts, whether it’s the chess club or whether it’s a Bible club, they should be able to do it,” Kellum told WATN.
The Center for Religious Expression added to WGA-TV that the Supreme Court has ruled “time and time again that equal access for religious groups does not violate the First Amendment, but discriminating against them surely does.”
But there may be hope for the Bible club yet, given Bartlett City Schools told TheBlaze that it’s “working with the school to have an outside group lead the K-2 Bible Club” and making sure “proper steps are taken to allow this club in the 2017-2018 school year.”
The district told TheBlaze that a Bible club for third- to fifth-grade students exists, which is run by an outside group.
(H/T: Todd Starnes)