Skip to comments.Freedom from Religion Lawsuit Against Boys Ranch adds Defendants
Posted on 10/30/2007 4:57:34 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Two state officials have been added to the list of defendants in a lawsuit filed by the nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation says that referrals to the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, which serves troubled children, are funded by taxpayer money and that staff at the ranch facilities in Minot, Fargo and Bismarck indoctrinate children with religion.
The Boys and Girls Ranch, which is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and state officials dispute the foundation's claims.
The group initially sued Lisa Bjergaard, director of juvenile services for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Daniel Richter, director of Ward County Social Services.
The foundation has now added Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead and Department of Human Services Director Carol Olson, along with Pierce County Social Services Director Mary Hermanson.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said the additional defendants were added because the group wants the lawsuit to encompass anyone who is involved with disbursing public money to the ranch.
"If this was a private, legally run facility with nothing to do with the state, then they could do whatever they like," Gaylor said. "But this is unacceptable."
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Bismarck asks a judge to declare a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, and to order the government to stop sending children or money to the ranch.
Gene Kaseman, president of the ranch, said his organization receives about 80 percent of its funding from the state. However, he said, the spiritual component of the facility is funded entirely with private money.
Olson also has said that taxpayer money is not used for religious programs.
Kaseman said children at the facilities are given the option to worship as they please, and are not indoctrinated with Christian teachings as part of the program.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it would be difficult for the Boys and Girls Ranch to keep public and private money separate. Even if that is possible, the group says, public money frees up more private money for religious purposes.
Sanstead said he supports the ranch's methods and the results it produces, and he is not bothered that he is named in the lawsuit.
"The fact of the matter is, if I'm going to be sued for something, this is something I'd like to be sued for," he said.
Someone needs to start putting the establishment clause on billboards.
This is one of those issues that kind of tears at me a little bit.
I’m no fan of athiest groups but I also don’t believe that the government should be funding any private orgs.
“However, he said, the spiritual component of the facility is funded entirely with private money.”
The Freedom FROM Religion people are a bunch of grifters. They don’t win every lawsuit, but they sure do file a lot of them, so even these blind squirrels find a nut once in a while.
They’re worse than John Edwards the Ambulance Chaser, IMHO.
And I don't believe the government should fund welfare, public schools, food-stamps, public stadiums, mass transit, NPR, Universities, research at universities, lifeguards at the beach, and most of the other stuff our government does. This is NOT about the largess of government, this is a war against every thing that this nation was founded upon. This is more than a culture war! This is a war is fought upon the battle grounds of epistemology, metaphysics and ethics - in short this a war between the godless religion of atheism and the religion of Jesus Christ.
This is not about funding this is about censorship! They would rather kids die in street gang violence than the name of Jesus Christ be exalted.
Yes, I read that, but my concern is how the rest of it is funded.
I give to my church, to the Salvation Army, and to the Humane Society. It should be a private sector matter, IMO the entire operation should be funded with private money.
I know it sounds cold but to me charity should not be a government entitlement.
Wish they would stop funding Planned Parenthood before they went after groups that actually help society.
“I know it sounds cold but to me charity should not be a government entitlement.”
Um...I assume you’re taking a TAX DEDUCTION for your charitable contributions throughout the year? You’re gaining by being charitable, too, whether you’re giving freely, or it’s being extorted from your pocketbook by the government. It’s a lose/lose situation, FRiend. Granted, we don’t benefit as much as someone who can afford to give a lot MORE than you and I are able to, but still. ;)
I’m going to have to turn you over to Girlangler. She’ll convince you NOT to donate to the Humane Society.
I give to my church, my library, help keep our local Food Pantry stocked (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) and donate to the Disabled Veterans of American, because there but for the Grace of God, go I. :)
And I take any and ALL tax deductions we’re eligible for each year. You betcha!
Now, if we looked into Annie Laurie Gaylor’s tax records, I’m sure we’d find some really interesting stuff. I pray that someone does one day, because these people are evil jerks. Where else but in ‘The People’s Republik of Madiston’ could they pull this chit and no one bats an eye?
That’s probably a wise move, LOL!
I’m pretty much a live and let-live kind of guy, but militants that actively obstruct nearly everything I hold dear just piss me off! Don’t believe in God? That’s their business, but they should not interfere with the majority that do. The same applies to gays, muslims, anorexic Eskimos, or whatever.