Child Evangelism Fellowship of Minnesota had been holding an afterschool program for students at Minneapolis’ Jenny Lind Elementary School from 2000 to 2009 without incident. The program, called the “good news club,” ministered to kids ages 5 to 12 who attended with parental permission. Adults in charge of the program had an array of activities for the kids which included such things as ethics, character development, passages from the Bible, and prayers.
Then in 2009, a school employee complained about the religious activities the club was doing and the Minneapolis school district cut off the club’s access to the district’s services such as food and transportation, causing student attendance to drop from 47 to 5 for the club. Fortunately, Child Evangelism Fellowship didn’t take the school district’s actions lying down. They took them to court for religious discrimination.
The case made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which ruled in August that what the school district did to Child Evangelism Fellowship amounted to viewpoint discrimination, violating the First Amendment of the Constitution. The court explained that the establishment clause calls for the government to be neutral when it comes to religion, not hostile as the actions of the school district were. Minneapolis’ school district had the opportunity to appeal the ruling, but announced today that they have come to a settlement that includes obeying the decision of the court and paying for the legal fees incurred by Child Evangelism Fellowship to the tune of $100,000.
I just love it when God shows himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him. I pray this ministry will continue to thrive and that the kids reached will be totally devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Source: Steve Brandt. Bible-club ruling to cost Minneapolis school district $100,000. Startribune.com. Wednesday, October 10, 2012.