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Humanist Group Defends Constitutional Rights of Colorado Families from Religious Activities in Publi

For Immediate Release


Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105,

David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119,

(Denver, CO, Nov. 16, 2016)—Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center will defend the First Amendment right of local families in Douglas County, Colorado, to be free from religious coercion in public schools.

This morning, David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association, will argue to defend the standing of local families to bring a lawsuit against the Douglas County School District, which has repeatedly promoted evangelical Christian programs, despite warnings from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. The Douglas County School District has participated in the evangelical program Operation Christmas Child, run by the organization Samaritan’s Purse and headed by evangelical minister Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham. The district also took part in the Adventures in Missions™ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs’ proselytizing mission trips to Guatemala, as well as other religious activities.

“As taxpaying citizens with children in the school district, these families object to their schools supporting the efforts of Christian missions to convert children in developing countries,” said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association. “Pressuring students to participate in religious programs in their public schools flies in the face of the separation of church and state that the Establishment Clause demands.”

The oral arguments will take place today at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1823 Stout Street, Denver, Colorado, 80202, at 9:00 a.m. MST. David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association, will give the arguments and be available to speak with the media.

The legal center filed the lawsuit against the school district on behalf of local families in the district in October 2014 and appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2016.

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