FFRF ends community college minister program in Michigan

FFRF contacted the Wayne County Community College District, a publicly-funded college with campuses in and around Detroit, requesting that it end its Ministerial Leadership Academy Studies Certificate program. Patrick Elliott, FFRF staff attorney, wrote on Jan. 27, 2011: “It is inappropriate for a public community college to offer a course that is religiously devotional in nature.” Classes in the program included Introduction to Christian Education, which taught students “to become a strong Christian witness.” A class titled Personal Relationship and the Word was described as helping students “develop stronger Bible based relationships with God.” Class descriptions identified preaching as a “Gospel proclamation” and “a decree of the Holy Spirit.” FFRF objected to the program as a violation of the Establishment Clause and the Michigan Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 4), which says, in part, that no taxes can support teachers of religion or be used for the benefit of theological or religious seminaries. FFRF received a response from the vice chancellor (Feb. 9, 2011): “After review of the Establishment Clause it was found the essence of the clause is to ensure ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ As a result, the program is being discontinued. Students currently enrolled will be allowed to complete their certificates, but no new students will be accepted as of this coming semester.” 

Freedom From Religion Foundation