October 27, 2007

Atheists Continue To Defend Constitution For All Americans

Time and time again, it seems to fall on American atheists to defend our Constitution from believers who trample it in the name of their mythical god. The Cherry Creek School District, an extremely wealthy area of Denver, CO, is the site of the latest attempt to push religion in the public schools. Believers just cannot be content with practicing their religion in their homes and churches; they need to push it on their neighbors via the public schools. Fortunately, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is once again defending the Constitution here.

According to CBS4 (Denver), the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and an atheist family have filed a lawsuit to stop the Cherry Creek School District from continuing to promote religion in violation of the Constitution.

The program in question, 40 Developmental Assets, is described as promoting "religious community" along with "things like family support, positive peer influence and doing homework." Evidently, the program says that children should devote "one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution."
"A public school system shouldn't be recommending students go to church or not go to church," said Bob Tiernan, attorney for the atheist family. "That's an individual decision made by parents and children."
It is such a shame that watchdog groups like FFRF are even necessary, but this case clearly demonstrates that they remain essential. Quoting Tiernan again, the article continues:
By the government telling them that because they're atheists, there's something wrong with them, they're outsiders," he said. "Any number of things that the government is doing that makes them feel like they don't belong.
It looks like the school district is refusing to budge on this one. They claim that because the program is voluntary, simply offering suggestions for families, that it is okay and should survive legal review. I wonder who ends up paying their legal fees? How would you like to be an atheist in that community and have to pay the costs of the local school district wanting to push religion on your neighbors with kids?

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