Freethought Today · September 2016

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF opposes Texas charter chain’s transgressions

FFRF is calling attention to a publicly funded Texas charter school chain's multiple violations of the U.S. Constitution.

FFRF has requested that the Texas Education Agency investigate Advantage Academy in Duncanville and take action to prevent its four schools from endorsing Christianity to its students. If Advantage Academy is unwilling to operate as a public school in a manner consistent with the Constitution, FFRF asks that all of its current charters be revoked.

"The Texas Education Agency has an obligation to make certain that publicly funded schools and government subsidized teachers 'do not inculcate religion,' to quote the U.S. Supreme Court," FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath.

Allen Beck is a Christian evangelist and the founder of Advantage Academy. He is also an outspoken zealot who has placed his religious responsibility to proselytize and evangelize ahead of his responsibilities to the state of Texas, the Constitution and his students. Beck founded Advantage Academy in 1998 in order to bring Christianity and the bible "back" into public schools.

Here are some of the unconstitutional ways Beck has been trying to get religion back in schools:

• He admits that his academy is teaching the bible to students, encouraging students to pray, and spreading misinformation about the foundations of American history.

• Beck continually flaunts how he has deceived the state and the Texas Education Agency for years by claiming that Advantage Academy is not promoting Christianity.

• He says that everyone, no matter their position within the public school system, needs to be incorporating religion into their work and evangelizing.

• When Advantage Academy advertises its schools, it uses language and imagery to suggest that its students will receive a religious education.

• Advantage Academy regularly promotes religious, and specifically Christian, events to students. For example, the school endorses the National Day of Prayer and displays it on the school calendar, endorses a religious baccalaureate service that takes place on the school's campus, and observes the exclusively Christian holiday Good Friday as a school holiday.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the state, and by extension any state-funded public or charter schools, from endorsing religion. All of these above actions violate the Constitution.

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