Lawsuit says public-school prayer circles, Christian concerts, Bible study violate law
“I don’t believe the Constitution was meant to keep God out of the schools.”
“WE CAN DO THIS CHRISTIAN FOLKS!!!! BRING OUR GOD BACK INTO OUR SCHOOLS, OUR CITIES, COUNTIES, STATES AND OUR COUNTRY,” Pastor Randy Pfaff of The Cowboy Church at Crossroads blogged May 4, for the National Day of Prayer.
The Cowboy Church meets every Sunday at the publicly funded Florence High School, part of the Fremont RE-2 School District. There, Pfaff organizes flagpole prayer sessions, Bible study classes, and The Fellowship of Christian Huskies – named after the school mascot.
Now, Robert Basevitz, a Jewish teacher, is suing the district for what he sees as the unconstitutional and illegal practice of religion in a public school.
According to the suit, the principal, Brian Schipper, helps deliver evangelical flyers, and staff joins Pfaff and students for daily Christian prayers – sometimes so well attended the prayers block the building’s entrance. Basevitz says the faculty lounge has a prayer request box, and Schipper has introduced Christian rock concerts and a school assembly “based off the scripture Matthew 7:13.”
When Basevitz was first hired, he had no idea the school had such a religious bent. When he discovered multiple Christian-sponsored events and the staff’s involvement, he complained. According to the suit, the administration largely ignored his grievances and informed the staff and students he was Jewish. They ostracized him.
With no other recourse, he sued, arguing religion in the schools was unconstitutional and illegal and demanding that the Court stop the defendants from “engaging in any further such activity.”
“We’re a school. We educate kids,” said Principal Brian Schipper to The Denver Post. “We educate kids in every academic area and social area and life area. Religion’s not in our curriculum anywhere.”
Christianity may not be in the curriculum, but it is in and around the building.
Here is evidence presented in the court document.
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