Public School Promotes Evangelist with a “Wink and a Nod”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is protesting a public school arrangement with a Christian motivational speaker that amounts to a “wink and a nod” endorsement of a ministry.

Menomonee Falls Public School, Wisconsin, will pay “no-name” Christian youth speaker, Bob Lentz, $1,500 to conduct two mandatory assemblies before a captive audience of students at the town high school and junior high on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Although Lentz’ contract with the school forbids him to discuss religion, Lentz will invite students to attend a church-sponsored gathering at the school later that evening.

The Foundation wrote the principal asking him to either sever the contract, “on the basis that Lentz is taking advantage of his invitation for his personal religious agenda,” or to insist that the Christian event not be advertised in the public schools or during Lentz’ assembly talk.

The Foundation called it a misuse of a school event: “To give him this foot in the door for evangelism in the manner he intends is simply to promote his ministry with a wink and a nod,” granting the speaker a podium from which to recruit students, the Foundation wrote the principal.

In an aside, the Foundation expressed surprise and distress that $1,500 of public money during this time of economic uncertainty would be paid to a speaker with minimal credentials whose only real claim to fame is as a “Christian youth speaker.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics and others) working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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