The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is calling on the Rowan-Salisbury School District in North Carolina to put a stop to church-sponsored Bible classes in elementary schools.
WBTV reported last week that the FFRF had sent a letter to the district informing them of a “serious constitutional violation” after learning that at least three schools — Cleveland, Woodleaf, and Mount Ulla Elementary — were providing weekly 45-minute Bible classes.
According to FFRF, one of the course instructors presented the 7-day creation story and others as “literal fact.” The teacher also told students that the universe was created with a plan, and that the Bible predicted scientific discoveries, the group said.
“These classes are fragrantly unconstitutional,” the letter charged, adding that the class went beyond historical purposes by trying to influence “the District’s youngest, most impressionable students.”
Salem Lutheran Pastor Doug Hefner confirmed to Time Warner Cable News that his church helped to fund three Bible teachers for the course.
“I think this program dates back to the 60s as a matter of fact,” he explained. “I’ve only heard great things, and how it’s been a great program and helped the children and the young people learn about history.”
“The youth, the young people, based on what their parents want to do, can opt out of that as well, and there’s something else for them at that point.” the pastor noted.
But FFRF argued that it was “irrelevant that parents may excuse students from the elementary bible classes.”
“Suggesting that children who do not wish to be subjected to religious activity at their school be segregated from their classmates is reprehensible,” FFRF staff attorney Patrick Elliot wrote. “It shames students into either outing themselves as different or showing deference to a religion they do no believe in and to which their parents to not want them subjected.”
District superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody told WBTV that the school board met on Thursday to discuss the FFRF letter, but did not wish to make a statement at that time.
Watch the video below from WBTV, broadcast Oct. 6, 2014.