For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2014)—Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to officials at the Livingston School District 4 and 1 in Livingston, Montana, on behalf of a concerned citizen regarding the distribution of religious materials to elementary school students.
According to the letter, religious flyers promoting St. Paul’s Lutheran Church have been prominently displayed and distributed to students at Washington Elementary School. The flyers promote a Christian outdoor camp organized by the church and were given to kindergarten students to take home, exposing them to religious views that may run contrary to those of their families. The letter states that, despite complaints, the flyers have been distributed at the school for years, and no other churches or organizations have been granted the same privilege.
“By granting one church exclusive access to target impressionable elementary students during school hours, the school district sends the message that it endorses the religious views of that church,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the American Humanist Association.
“Religion belongs in church, not a public school,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “When school administrators promote a religious activity, they’re showing unequal treatment of atheist and humanist students, as well as students of minority religions.”
The letter strongly encourages the school district to remove all religious flyers and materials from the school. If the school refuses, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center will demand that the school district disclose its practices regarding the distribution of religious materials, detail its efforts to inform all community religious organizations of the opportunity to display promotional materials, and include atheist and humanist literature as part of its open forum policy.
A copy of the letter 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.