A prominent atheist legal group is seeking to prevent an Ohio pastor from running voluntary Bible classes for middle school students. Bobbyjon Bauman of the Valley Youth Network had been offering lunchtime Bible study classes at Indian Creek Middle School when the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation penned a fierce letter to administrator Dr. T.C. Chappelear complaining that the pastor’s actions were unconstitutional.
“It is unconstitutional for the district to offer religious leaders access to befriend and proselytize students during the school day on school property,” FFRF wrote in a letter to the Creek School District, as reported by Christian News Network. “This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags. The district cannot allow its schools to be used as recruiting grounds for churches during the school day.”
The letter’s subject read, “Unconstitutional proselytizing at Indian Creek Middle School.”
“When a school allows Church representatives to recruit students for the Church, it has unconstitutionally entangled itself with a religious message—in this case, a Christian message. This practice alienates those non-Christian students, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being endorsed by the school,” the group asserted.
Despite the voluntary Bible club taking place outside of school hours, FFRF still insists that it is unconstitutional.
“Please note that it makes no difference that students are not required to attend these preaching sessions. Voluntariness does not excuse a constitutional violation,” FFRF wrote. “The district must immediately discontinue allowing Mr. Bauman, or any other preachers, access to students during the school day.”
The group went on to label Bauman’s gospel presentations as “predatory conduct.”
FFRF said that they were alerted to Bauman’s activities by a concerned resident, citing the fact that they had reviewed his social media posts.
“I shared the gospel with them using Romans 6:23 as the touchstone verse. None of the kids in any of the four Bible study groups even knew what the word ‘gospel’ meant, so I was able to share with them the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Bauman wrote on Facebook. “The kids were very responsive to the message and we had 30 of them request Bibles because they didn’t own one, so next week, we will be bringing them Bibles,” he outlined, explaining student interest.”
The FFRF recently challenged the state of Ohio for allowing the display of Biblically-themed murals on a municipal building.
Read the group’s letter in full here.
(H/T: Christian News Network)