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AHLC Applauds Court Ruling Against Religious Field Trips

For Immediate Release


Patrick Hudson, 202-238-9088 ext. 105,

David Niose, (202) 238-9088,

(JOPLIN, MO, March 3rd, 2017) – The American Humanist Association applauds the ruling of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri that the Joplin School District in Joplin, Missouri, violated the Establishment Clause in sending students on field trips to a Christian ministry. The federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment yesterday.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was made aware of this violation by a concerned Humanist parent, when she discovered the school district was sending children on a field trip to the Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, a center that displays religious messages. The school even required parents to sign waivers which would allow the ministry to proselytize their children. The American Humanist Association demanded the school district cease its involvement with the Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, but the school went forward with the trip. It was subsequently revealed the school was using the Victory facility for numerous activities, including sending children there for so-called abstinence-only sex education the knowledge of parents.

“This is a victory for the Constitution,” said David Niose, Legal Director for the American Humanist Association. “The school district has been funneling money and impressionable students to a religious ministry that is in the business of luring children to Christianity, and we’re glad that the court could see that this is clearly unconstitutional activity.”

“The American Humanist Association warned the Joplin School District nearly two years ago of their violation of the Establishment Clause,” said Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association. “The school district ignored the Constitution, and we are happy that the Court delivered the correct ruling.”

The court’s full decision can be found here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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