ICC Note: A Colorado school district recently reached an agreement following a lawsuit filed by a teacher at Florence High School. The school rents out their cafeteria to a church for Sunday services, and holds voluntary Bible studies and prayer during the lunch period and before classes. The teacher who filed the complaint, who professes Judaism, said that he felt excluded by the presence of these activities, which led him to file the lawsuit, eventually leading to termination of Sunday services at the school.
By Heather Clark
07/30/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A school district in Colorado has come to an agreement in a lawsuit filed by a teacher who accused officials of “operat[ing] largely to promote the evangelical Christian ideals” of a local church.
As previously reported, Robert Basevitz, who identifies as Jewish, said that the Christian activities held at Florence High School made him feel excluded since he belongs to a different religion.
According to reports, for the past three years, “The Cowboy Church at Crossroads” has rented the cafeteria for Sunday services, held prayer every morning before school and hosted a voluntary Bible study and weekly “Jesus pizza” during the lunch period, among other events. It also distributed flyers and Bibles to students and erected a banner outside advertising its Sunday services.
When Basevitz complained to officials about the presence of the church at the school, he was allegedly transferred to another teaching job within the district, at which point he decided to file a lawsuit about the matter.
“Government and public schools need to remain neutral on questions of religion so that you and I are not forced to [be exposed to] someone else’s personal religious beliefs,” attorney Paul Mason told CBS Denver earlier this year. “The church has been involved in the school for at least three years. The pastor states they haven’t missed a day of prayer at the school in the past three years.”
But Randy Pfaff, pastor of the Cowboy Church of Crossroads, told reporters that the events are all voluntary and that no one—including staff members—are required to participate. He said that he doesn’t believe that the Founding Fathers had the intention to keep religion of school.