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]."
There is no enumerated power for the federal government to fund any social program.
On Fox News just awhile ago, a woman and man were arguing about schools teaching Evolution starting in 9th grade science. ~sigh~
Evil is as evil does.
Let me guess.
Homosexual mentoring no problem. Christian mentoring bad.
Whatever happened to the no prejudice stance regarding sex, race or religion? Weren't the leftists the ones that always screamed from the high heavens this was the highest of ideals?
So much for their credibility, but then what credibility?
"Atheists sue to stop Christian mentoring"
Gosh, students might actually listen to their Christian mentors...
(horror and shock at the ACLU)
In my honey's home country. Tagaytay, in Cavite province, overlooking the Taal volcano. I just jope it doesn't blow one of these days, like Pinatubo did.
And the verdict is?
Don't you people know??? It takes a village of atheist wackos to raise a child!!!
They shopped for their favorite judge
At least it's not faith based muslim mentoring.
Careful. You're dashing his illusions.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven ...
Maybe these folks should look into this "our LORD" fellow. It couldn't be a non-exclusionary reference to religion, could it?
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