AHA News |  

Minnesota Public School Halts Religious Field Trips

For Immediate Release


Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2014)—The American Humanist Association is pleased that nearly a year after receiving a letter from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley, Minnesota, has decided to work with a nonreligious charity for its student field trips instead of partnering with a local church.

In February, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the public school on behalf of a local family, who objected to the school’s sending students on field trips to Calvary Lutheran Church. As part of these field trips, students would create packages for a Christian nonprofit group, Feed My Starving Children. The letter stated that the local church and Feed My Starving Children both propagate a specific Christian message that is contrary to the convictions of many children and their families in the school system, which marginalizes students who are religious minorities or who have no religion. The letter also stated that these actions by the school were a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because they subjected students to an environment that promoted and proselytized religion.

The letter advised the school of the importance of students’ participation in charity work, but it also reminded the school district that there are innumerable ways that students can assist those in need without endorsing religion.

Officials at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center have been contacted by a reporter with the Sun Post, who informed them that the school will be supporting a different charity this year.

A copy of the letter sent by the Appignani Humanist Legal Center can be viewed here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.