Freedom From Religion Foundation Asks Tyler ISD to Revoke Funds for Kids’ Camps
You may have heard about the FFRF in the headlines from time to time. But this may be the first time I've heard of them operating in our East Texas area, though they certainly may have in the past..
Not to be confused with Freedom OF Religion, this is the Freedom FROM Religion Foundation. Based in Madison, Wisconsin and founded in 1976 and was incorporated nationally on April 15, 1978.176 by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor. They focus on advocating for the maintaining the separation between church and state. They currently have over 35,000 members around the U.S.
So what's their issue with Tyler ISD?
Back on April 8, the TISD Board opted to approve an agreement with an organization known as Mentoring Alliance based in Tyler. The contract, worth a half million dollars, sends up to 314 "high-risk" area students who'd fallen behind academically to the summer camps hosted by the Mentoring Alliance for as long as ten weeks.
An East Texan who was concerned over this contract contacted the Freedom of Religion who then sent a letter calling for the end to the funding.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says the contract between the faith-based group and the District is in violation of the Constitution's call to keep church and state separate.
In their letter to Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford, they quoted the mission statement of The Mentoring Alliance, which says the Alliance "exists to mobilize godly people into the lives of kids and families, to provide tangible help and eternal hope."
It's not the existence of these organizations they are opposing, but the giving of money by a state entity toward a religious organization.
Dr. Crawford and the TISD board have stood firm on their decision to continue their support for The Mentoring Alliance.
Will this move toward litigation? I guess we'll have to wait and see.