WINTERSVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio pastor will no longer be allowed to offer a voluntary lunchtime Bible study for students at a local middle school after one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist organizations submitted a letter of complaint to the school district.
An attorney for the Indian Creek School District has submitted a letter to the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) advising that the school district will meet with the pastor to explain their “legal obligations,” which they believe prohibits him from sharing the gospel with students.
“At this meeting, the district will ensure that Mr. Bauman does not regularly lead or attend student group activities in the district’s schools,” attorney Donna Andrew of Pepple & Waggoner, Ltd. wrote. “Additionally, the district will ensure that Mr. Bauman will not proselytize to students during the school day.”
As previously reported, FFRF submitted correspondence last month to Indian Creek Superintendent T.C. Chappelear after a Facebook post from Bobbyjon Bauman of the Valley Youth Network was brought to their attention.
“We had 165 kids at the FCA Bible studies during lunch at Indian Creek Middle School today! I shared the gospel with them using Romans 6:23 as the touchstone verse. None of the kids in any of the four Bible study groups even knew what the word ‘gospel’ meant, so I was able to share with them the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Bauman wrote.
“The kids were very responsive to the message and we had 30 of them request Bibles because they didn’t own one, so next week, we will be bringing them Bibles,” he outlined, explaining student interest.
FFRF took issue with the offering, asserting to the school district that the Constitution prohibits Bauman from teaching public school students about Jesus during the lunch period.
“It is unconstitutional for the district to offer religious leaders access to befriend and proselytize students during the school day on school property,” the Church-State separation group wrote. “This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags. The district cannot allow its schools to be used as recruiting grounds for churches during the school day.”
The organization also contended that the fact that the Bible study is voluntary—that it is only attended by students who are interested—does not alleviate concerns.
“Please note that it makes no difference that students are not required to attend these preaching sessions. Voluntariness does not excuse a constitutional violation,” FFRF opined. “The district must immediately discontinue allowing Mr. Bauman, or any other preachers, access to students during the school day.”
Now that district attorneys have advised that Bauman’s activities will not be allowed to continue, the atheist activist group cheered the news, stating that it is “glad to be of constitutional service.”
However, as previously reported, while some state that God and government must remain separated, others note that the nation was founded by those who believed that America could not expect to be blessed if it failed to acknowledge and honor Almighty God.
Dr. Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and vice-president of the Bible Society of Philadelphia. In 1806, he said, “The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
He also wrote in a letter to John Adams in 1807, “By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects. Our Saviour in speaking of it calls it ‘Truth,’ in the abstract. It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published. It contains a faithful representation of all its follies, vices & crimes. All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it, must perish, and how consoling the thought!—It will not only survive the wreck of those systems, but the world itself. ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’” (Read here from the National Archives.)
Joseph Coerten Hornblower, a member of the Continental Congress and chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, was co-founder of the American Bible Society—an organization that provided Bibles to both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Jay, who later became president of Hornblower’s American Bible Society, also once said in 1816 in a letter to John Murray, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”