ICC Note: A high school in Middleton, Wisconsin is drawing attention over a clash between school administrators and local community members. The dispute focuses on a weekly off-campus lunch event called “Jesus Lunch,” led by a group of parents, during which the parents provide a meal to the students and deliver a Christian-themed message. The superintendent and principal have recently voiced that these lunches should be shut down, stating that they are “divisive” in addition to citing violations, such as food preparation standards.
By Todd Starnes
04/14/2016 United States (Fox News) – There’s a religious liberty standoff underway in Middleton, Wisconsin.
On one side is a group of Christian moms armed with Chick-fil-A sandwiches and 400 homemade brownies. On the other side are public school administrators who believe that Jesus and plump juicy chicken breasts are “divisive.”
The controversy surrounds an off-campus lunch event involving students at Middleton High School known as “Jesus Lunch.”
The high school allows students to eat lunch off-campus. In 2014 a small group of parents began meeting with their children in a nearby park — providing home cooked meals along with a Christian-themed, inspirational message.
The small weekly gatherings in the fall and spring eventually morphed into a popular gathering spot for hungry kids — with nearly 500 turning out for all sorts of goodies — ranging from Chick-fil-A sandwiches and fresh fruit to hundreds of homemade brownies.
“We show up every week just to show the love of Jesus,” parent Beth Williams told me. “Our mission statement for Jesus Lunch is ‘food for the body, nutrition for the soul.’”
Superintendent Donald Johnson and Principal Stephen Plank called the off-campus religious gatherings “divisive” and they want the weekly non-denominational meetings shut down.
“We believe that religious or political events do not have a place in our school or on our campus, except when sponsored by a student group in accordance with our rules, which require prior approval,” the pair wrote in an email sent to parents on April 12.