Saturday, August 9, 2008

California school nixes Bible club

An Anaheim, California, public high school is facing a day in federal court after refusing to allow a Christian Bible club to meet after school.The Esperanza High School official responsible for after-school groups told the students that their group was being denied permission to meet because their topic was not related to the school curriculum. Attorney Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) in Sacramento, is not buying that excuse. "The school district refused to allow a Christian Bible club from being able to meet on campus in the same way as other non-curriculum related clubs," he contends. "No student and no club should be treated like second-class citizens simply because they aspire to study the Bible and believe in Christianity." According to a PJI press release, the Bible Study Club simply wanted to improve themselves and their community by discussing "issues facing students, including those related to faith, human rights, and the value of human life." The club's would-be members also wish to help feed the community's poor and protect society's weak and defenseless members. Dacus explains that the school yearbook lists many students clubs that have no relationship to the curriculum."The only difference between this club that we're representing and the other clubs is the fact that this Bible club is referencing and studying the Bible," he adds. "Such overt hostility to the Christian faith has no place in public schools." The students claim that the advisor told them the club could meet if they discussed all major religions, not just Christianity. Dacus says that is a violation of both the First Amendment and the federal Equal Access Act. "Requiring the Bible Study Club to study either all religions or none is like forcing the Chess Club to also play checkers," he adds. Another PJI attorney, Karen Milam, reminds the school that "hostility toward religious beliefs is still illegal." PJI has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district on behalf of the students in the Bible Study Club.
As in the days of Noah....

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