Onward Christian Youth Groups

, Liberty Counsel, Leave a comment

Cobb County, GA – Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Georgia (CEF) against Cobb County School District, which has a discriminatory policy against religious groups. Liberty Counsel’s lawsuit requests an immediate court hearing on the basis that the District policy is unconstitutional and is causing irreparable harm in violation of the First Amendment.

The District charges CEF a discriminatory fee for its Good News Clubs to use the school facilities after school, and its policy also discriminates in terms of the time the Christian group may use the facilities compared to similar secular groups.

Since December 2007, the District has refused to grant CEF the same access it provides to Boy Scouts and similar organizations. The District policy allows free access for many types of secular community organizations including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, PTA, Booster Clubs, advisory organizations, and many others. These secular groups are permitted access immediately after school. The District not only charges a discriminatory fee to CEF, but its policy also does not permit CEF to meet until after 5:45 pm, which means that attendance is minimal because of the inconvenient time. As a result, CEF’s Good News Club had to cease meeting on school campuses despite the fact that many parents wanted the club to continue for their children.

Christian groups or organizations must not be discriminated against because of their Christian viewpoint, as is being done by the District policy. Equal access applies not only to access, but also includes usage fees and time of meeting.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “Equal access is the law, and equal access means equal treatment in every respect. Equal access applies to use of the facilities, usage fees, times of meetings and advertisements of the meetings. The First Amendment prohibits all forms of viewpoint discrimination, whether such discrimination be overt or subtle. Good News Clubs are one of the most positive influences that public schools can offer to parents and their children. It is absurd that anyone would want to reject an organization that promotes patriotism, civic responsibility, and character development. These are qualities that young children need to learn about and develop. Instead of restricting Good News Clubs, public schools ought to embrace them.”

Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family. Established in 1989, Liberty Counsel is a national organization with offices in Florida and Virginia, and hundreds of affiliate attorneys in all 50 states. This news release can be viewed in its original form here.