Botetourt County, Va., ceased sponsorship and promotion of a trip to a Joel Osteen Ministries event in North Carolina, after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott contacted the county Sept. 26 after learning it was helping to coordinate a community trip to see Joel Osteen, a televangelist and senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, the largest Protestant Church in the United States. The county was also promoting the trip on its website. “We respect the importance of government coordination of community events and trips, but holding religious events specifically for a Christian subset of citizens is inappropriate and unconstitutional,” wrote Elliott.
The county removed the event posting from its website.