The Uninspired Manifesto
Friday, September 21, 2007
Religious Fliers At Madison Elementary School
A flier sent home this month in the backpacks of 2,000 Madison elementary students carried an unmistakably religious pitch: "Plant the Seeds of Faith in Jesus in Your Child at our Sunday school."
The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation on Tuesday called upon the Madison School District to ban distribution of such fliers, saying "the district should not act as a PR machine for nonschool enterprises."
However, schools Superintendent Art Rainwater defended the district's policy, which permits organizations to send a wide range of fliers home with students.
The School Board, he said, intended to create "a limited public forum" when it devised the policy in the early 1990s and updated it in 2003.
"We believe our policy for distribution of materials is appropriate," Rainwater said. "And we stand by it."
The flier cited by the Freedom From Religion Foundation was sent by Grace Lutheran Church, 1 S. Rosa Road on the city's West Side, to promote a Sept. 9 "Back to Sunday School" rally.
"Don't Neglect the 3 R's," the flier said. "Religion, Relationships and Rejoicing!"
Rev. Theodore Gullixson, the church's pastor, said that last year the church began sending materials home through Madison schools, after hearing that other religious groups also used the backpack pipeline.
Each time, he said, the fliers were sent to about 2,000 elementary students attending several schools near the church, including Crestwood, Stephens, Van Hise and Shorewood Hills.
Why did they have to send it home with students in their backpacks? I wouldn't have even objected to the shit if they just had a little stack of fliers near the office or right outside, giving kids a fucking choice.