School District Sued for Listing Religious Activities as One of ’40 Developmental Assets’

Church and State 

Now if I or this blog had any ties to the U.S. government or the country’s educational system, and I wrote, “Hey buddy, you may want to try a church or something, ” that would get me in the crosshairs of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Can you imagine anyone taking offense to what one person or institution makes as a suggestion to help improve someone’s life? I personally dislike anyone rushing to judgement on anyone and saying, “Hey, you should go see a shrink!” But, at least, I more than likely would take that as an honest effort from someone trying to help someone.

These separation from church and state people are relentless!

This from the Rocky Mountain News:

Suggesting church for students gets district sued
By SARA BURNETT

CHERRY CREEK, Colo. — The Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against Cherry Creek Schools, saying a project aimed at helping students reach their full potential illegally encourages going to church.

The complaint, filed on behalf of two parents who have children in Cherry Creek schools, accuses the district of violating laws regarding the separation of church and state.

Tustin Amole, spokeswoman for the district, said Tuesday the district is confident the project is not illegal because it does not mandate participation in any religious activity.

Known as the 40 Developmental Assets, the project is promoted as a way to help students grow into “responsible, confident and healthy young people,” according to a newsletter sent to parents.

Among the assets is having family support and telling the truth, “even when it’s not easy.”

Recommendation number 19 is “religious community.” It suggests young people spend time each week in activities at a religious institution.

The project, which is used nationally, has been in the Cherry Creek district for 18 years, -Amole said.

The complaint asks the court to order the district to stop endorsing Developmental Asset 19. It does not specifically seek damages, but asks for any other relief the court deems proper.

Update:

This from TheDenverChannel.com (ABC 7):

Number 19 of the program suggests young adults spend one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.

“To us that means go to church once a week,” said Bob Tiernan, with the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “And we object to it on the basis that this is the government, the public school system telling the students that they should go to church once a week.”

“They felt the school district was saying their children really aren’t good citizens because they don’t go to church once a week,” said Tiernan. “They felt left out, alienated by the school system. That is why we brought the lawsuit.”

A flyer obtained by 7News showed the district has 5 “parenting workshops” scheduled in the upcoming weeks to teach parents about the 40 Developmental Assets.

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Related Opinion Story: Offend Atheists 101: Simply Recommend Church

3 thoughts on “School District Sued for Listing Religious Activities as One of ’40 Developmental Assets’

  1. The whole point about this is that it is a public school and they are recommending children go to church in order to be a “good” young person. They don’t have the right to do that — it’s that simple.

    Surely, if it said you had to be a Mormon or a Muslim to be a good kid, you’d hear a lot more people complaining. But, in truth, it’s no difference — a public school, as a function of government (“state”) is promoting religion, which they don’t have the right to do. A private school could have the right to do this, but not a public one.

    It’s illegal, and that’s it.

  2. @Carlton…first of all, the points are suggestions. Why don’t you pick on any of the other 39 suggestions?

    They do not say church, they say “religious institution.”

    Also, the illegality of the issue is yet to be determined.

  3. Hey Alexander, the other 39 suggestions don’t infringe or “suggest” to infringe on the rights of others. But let’s turn the tables and let us suppose that the “suggestion” in question read “Children should attend an atheist group meeting once a week.” You’d be hard pressed to tell me that you wouldn’t be outraged by that. Probably saying “this is just the left trying to impose secularism on the public”. And you know what? You’d be right, minus the “left” part. But that’s exactly what we are saying. It just so happens that the people who wrote the 40 suggestions were of the Lutheran Brotherhood, an overtly religious organization with a proselytizing agenda. Therefor, the government, by proxy of the Cheery Creek School district (Cherry Creek high school specifically) is supporting and pushing the agenda of a particular religion. And what on earth else could be meant by “religious institution” other than church? Please explain what else that could mean?

    Nice try everyone but you’re on the losing end of this battle.

    Joel
    Metro State Atheists
    Denver, CO

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