Skip to comments.Atheists sue to stop Christian mentoring
Posted on 11/27/2004 2:50:54 PM PST by wagglebee
The Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing to cut off federal funding to a Christian child-mentoring program that helps troubled kids.
Last year, the federal government awarded a $225,000 contract, part of $9 million awarded to 52 Arizona groups, to Phoenix-based MentorKids USA, according to the Madison, Wisc.-based Capital Times.
The lawsuit, presided over by U.S. Judge John Shabaz, is demanding a summary judgment that federal funding of the program cease until the government "has a demonstrated plan in place to comply with its constitutional obligations," reports the Wisconsin paper.
Citing the First Amendment, the atheist foundation said, "Mentoring to convert is not a suitable social service to be provided by the government," said the report.
MentorKids USA was launched in 1997 by Orville Krieger, in partnership with Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship, "to address the needs of at-risk youth in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area by matching caring Christian adults with youth ages 8-17 who showed warning signs of becoming criminal offenders," says the Christian organization's website.
Originally called Phoenix MatchPoint, the group changed its name last January to MentorKids USA. It has a long and successful track record in mentoring children in trouble with the law, who have dysfunctional family backgrounds, have been physically or sexually abused or who are involved with drug or alcohol abuse. To date, MentorKids USA has helped over 500 kids.
In the program, mentors commit time each week to be a friend and role model for an at-risk youth. The mentors "offer concrete expressions of unconditional love and support to the mentee," says the group's website, "and the two participate in activities designed to build friendship, trust, and constructive values."
Some of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's "legal accomplishments," according to its website, include:
Winning the first federal lawsuit challenging direct funding by the government of a faith-based agency
Overturning a state Good Friday holiday
Winning a lawsuit barring direct taxpayer subsidy of religious schools
Removing Ten Commandments monuments and crosses from public land
Halting the Post Office from issuing religious cancellations
Ending 51 years years of illegal bible instruction in public schools
According to its website, the non-profit foundation was incorporated in Wisconsin in 1978 and is "a national membership association of freethinkers: atheists, agnostics and skeptics of any pedigree."
Why is it concerned with what it calls "state/church entanglement?"
"First Amendment violations are accelerating," says the group's website. "The religious right is campaigning to raid the public till and advance religion at taxpayer expense, attacking our secular public schools, the rights of nonbelievers, and the Establishment Clause.
"The Foundation recognizes that the United States was first among nations to adopt a secular Constitution. The founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution wanted citizens to be free to support the church of their choice, or no religion at all. Our Constitution was very purposefully written to be a godless document, whose only references to religion are exclusionary.
"It is vital to buttress the Jeffersonian 'wall of separation between church and state' which has served our nation so well."
But William Rehnquist, current chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, says this view put forth by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the ACLU and similar groups is a fiction and mockery of the true meaning of the First Amendment.
The Establishment Clause, explained Rehnquist in a 1985 opinion, "forbade establishment of a national religion, and forbade preference among religious sects or denominations.
The Establishment Clause did not require government neutrality between religion and irreligion nor did it prohibit the Federal Government from providing nondiscriminatory aid to religion. There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the 'wall of separation' [between church and state]."
My first thought was to just tell the atheists to go to he!! but I don't suppose that'd be effective, would it.
it must be the cold that affects their minds that way
I actually agree with them, but not on the First Amendment debate. The Feds shouldn't fund any program like this, the states however, should have that right.
Is it my imagination, or has the discrimination and harassment of Christian organizations stepped up in the last 36 months?
Forget about the Soviet Constitution. Where does it say in OUR Constitution that my property can be taken from me at gunpoint to be given to someone else for funding the tutoring of ANYONE. Let's see...that's Article...hmmm...doesn't exist. How about that!
What about the Constitutional protection of religion?
I am not sure, but it might not be your imagination. This is another reason why I was out of the country in Oct and Nov, scouting out a new place to move to? BTW, I found it, and I didn't want to come back.
I am not sure if it has stepped up or we are just paying closer attention. Could be that it has stepped up because of faith based programs. That really stuck a burr under their saddle.
Unbelievable at the lengths of what the Murray O'Hair disciples will do.
Yes, it's much better to just let these "at-risk" youth committ felonies and go to prison. Better to have them rape, rob and kill then to believe in God and themselves.
These guys are going to keep harrassing religious organizations until they can have sex with the kids aren't they?!
That's exactly it.
We need more midnight basketball programs. </sarcasm>
This atheist group is very lucky that Christian groups don't behave like Muslim groups, because if they did you wouldn't hear a peep out of these swine.
"Is it my imagination, or has the discrimination and harassment of Christian organizations stepped up in the last 36 months?"
It's not your imagination. The writing is on the wall for all to see. Most turn a blind eye to it and are fearful to speak out. Others may naively think it's all about them and the Party. Therefore, as long as their station in life is fine and the fridge is full all is fine and dandy. But, it's not about you and me -- it's about the collective, all of us, Christianity and its culture.
Yep. And why would any self-respecting religious organization want to put themselves in the position of being subservient to the Federal government? Beggars can't be choosers, don't 'cha know. If the Feds are footing the bill, then when they say "Jump!" the religios can only say "How high?"