(Washington, DC) -- The fate of after-school Bible clubs in California may rest on the outcome of a lawsuit filed today in United States District Court. The suit filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) argues that Orange County’s Buena Park School District unconstitutionally rejected a Christian youth club’s request to meet in District facilities on equal grounds with similar, nonprofit, nonreligious youth organizations.
The “Good News Club,” a local affiliate of the international, Bible-centered organization Child Evangelism Fellowship, provides school kids with extracurricular educational programming and recreational activities that teach about life from a biblical perspective. Child Evangelism Fellowship’s West Orange County chapter was denied a request to use district facilities free of charge, despite California Education Code allowing nonprofit, youth-oriented groups to use public school facilities at no cost. Similar nonprofit groups have historically been permitted to meet after hours without charge at Buena Park schools.
“This selective application of policy speaks ill of the Buena Park School District’s respect for and understanding of the Constitution,” said David French, ACLJ Senior Counsel. “Freedom doesn’t stop at the schoolhouse door. Child Evangelism Fellowship has every right to equal treatment and access to public school facilities for its after-school events.”
The ACLJ’s lawsuit, posted here, contends Buena Park School District stands in violation of the First Amendment on free speech, free exercise of religion and establishment of religion grounds. It also asserts that Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law has been impacted by the district’s selective application of its own facility usage policies.
"Ultimately, this case is about legal equality. Religious speech is entitled to the same access as any other kind of speech, and religious students deserve the same treatment as all other students," said French.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington.
Here we go again! The Obama Administration just can’t seem to admit that the attack by a radicalized Muslim Army major that killed and injured dozens at Fort Hood, Texas, constituted a combat situation equivalent to combat situations elsewhere in the world. As you will doubtless recall, the...
A federal court in Texas has once again vindicated the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and the separation of powers against President Obama’s Executive overreach on immigration. The court agreed with our argument in our amicus brief on behalf of over 158,000 Americans that President Obama’s...
Yesterday, the International Criminal Court “ welcomed ” Palestine as a “State Party” to the Rome Statute, the international treaty governing the ICC. Most of the coverage focused on the implications for Israel, as the PA has declared its intentions to file complaints against Israel for its conduct...
In just the last few weeks and months, we’ve secured some major victories for faith and freedom. Your continued support makes this possible. By signing petitions, joining letters, and adding your name to briefs, you are defending the Constitution, protecting lives, and fighting for the persecuted.