A morning Bible study meeting for kindergarten, first and second graders that takes place before the school day begins at an elementary school in Bartlett, Tennessee, has been halted following complaints from an atheist activist group.
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According to WMC-TV, the Altruria Bible Club is an elective gathering that meets at Altruria Elementary School before class, but those meetings have reportedly been paused due to claims by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group.
The secular group sent a letter to the Bartlett City Schools imploring the district to be sure no teachers or staff are participating in the morning gatherings and stated that these adults’ presence would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
BIBLE STUDY BAN: A before school Bible study in Bartlett was cut from an elementary school amid controversy.>>http://buff.ly/2p5eHD6Should they be allowed to continue? Sound off.
Posted by WMC Action News 5 on Tuesday, May 2, 2017
The district reportedly complied, issuing a statement detailing its interpretation that religious gatherings need to be sponsored by outside groups; the Altruria reportedly wasn’t, though the district is taking “proper steps” to permit the club’s possible return next year. It’s a decision that’s being applauded by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“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,” said the atheist group in a statement to WATN-TV.
The text continued, “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.”
But while the club has been halted, another group — the Center for Religious Expression — is pushing back against the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s claims, saying that the gathering is anything but unconstitutional, WMC-TV 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 lawyer for the Center for Religious Expression, told WATN-TV.
Some parents, too, are stepping up to explain their frustration over the district pausing the club’s morning meetings. We’ll have to wait and see where the issue goes next.
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