Complaints from parents and letters from activists have lead the Hudsonville, MI school district to end a teacher-led Bible study that was taking place during normal school hours at a public elementary school.
A 5th-grade teacher at Alward Elementary School, Christopher Karel, was leading a Bible study during lunch on Fridays. Students would come into his classroom where Karel would read a Bible verse, tell a story, or show them a video and then lead the students in prayer. This is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state.
These classes were being held without parental notification or consent. Several parents complained which tipped off the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, who reached out to the school district and demanded the classes be stopped.
Among the complaints that MACRA received were those of a parent of a 10-year-old student who said that their child was subjected to peer pressure after they declined to participate in the Bible study.
Scott Smith, speaking for the school district, said that Karel thought the classes were appropriate because they were being held during lunch, but the Bible study has been ended following the complaints. Smith said that the school district will continue to educate all staff about policies related to religion in schools.
The law in these kinds of cases is very clear, while student-initiated groups are allowed, it is clearly unlawful for teachers and other school personnel to lead or solicit religious or anti-religious activity. Teachers are forbidden from engaging in religious activities with their students.
Christians in the United States have a real problem admitting that the laws separating church and state apply to them. They believe in the separation of church and state when it applies to other faiths, but they also believe that the United States is a Christian nation. They seek to undermine all the progress we have made in developing a secular society and want to take us back to the Dark Ages. And worse yet, as this example in Hudsonville shows, they constantly seek out children to prey upon.