Moralists to Elk River schools: Don't hate on our Jesus brochures!
Have you heard the Good News? If you're a student at one of the nine elementary schools in Elk River, a leading moralist group is suing to say there's an unacceptably high risk that you haven't.
At issue are the Good News Clubs that meet after hours in rented Elk River elementary school classrooms, and that teach kids about being moral and how that ties into the most unusual existence of Jesus Christ. The Child Evangelism Fellowship of Minnesota, which runs the clubs, is angry that the Elk River school district prevents it from distributing brochures at school open houses and from sending flyers home with kids.
"When you discriminate against one viewpoint, you run the risk of discriminating against other viewpoints," says Matthew Staver, founder of the Liberty Council, which filed the suit on the Fellowship's behalf.
He points out that federally designated "patriotic" organizations, like the Boy and Girl Scouts, are allowed to give out their pamphlets, as are school-based sports and musical groups.
Elk River Schools Superintendent Mark Bezek says that with a dizzying number of outside groups vying for kids' attention, the line has to be drawn somewhere. "Just because we have a captive audience doesn't mean anyone can have access to it," he says. "We're not a recruiting station."
With no clear precedent at the highest levels, is this a case the superintendent sees going to the Supreme Court?
"We haven't even been served yet," he said on Friday. "We'll deal with it when it comes."