Tuesday
Nov102009

Equal Access Victories Across the Land

The following is a report from Liberty Council and some of the 
victories they have been seeing across the USA with regard to
Bible clubs and "Equal Access" in general.  We are posting this
story because we feel it is important to inform those who come
to our website of good reports wherever the may be.  All of
these stories are about another organization: Child Evangelism
Fellowship and their afternoon Bible club programs called "Good
News Clubs".  

"I feel it imperative to explain to people that although the stories
being told here are legal victories.  VERY RARELY is legal action needed to get a club
launched", says Kids for Christ USA founder Bob Heath.  "In fact in nearly nine years of
KFCUSA's existence we have only come close to legal action once".  In his book "How Are
You Doing That"? Heath encourages parents and students who wish to sponsor clubs not
have a "martyrs mentality" when approaching school administrations about launching you
club. "Quiet confidence that federal law is in your corner".  

With that said please read this very important victory report :

Christian Clubs Gain Equal Access to Public Schools

Victories reported in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Temecula, and Valencia,
California, as well as Boise, Idaho

ORLANDO, FL (Christian Newswire) -- Liberty Counsel has recently cleared the way
for numerous Good News Clubs to use public school facilities for after-school programs.
The Clubs, sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), are designed to teach good
character and Christian values to children ages 5-12. Supreme Court precedent requires
that schools grant CEF the same access to school facilities as is granted to secular after-
school programs. Liberty Counsel litigates when schools discriminate against CEF. Below
are a few recent victories:

Los Angeles, California

Three schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District were blocking CEF clubs from
meeting, with some even admitting that it was because CEF was religious. After pointing
out such exclusion was against the district's own policy, California law, and the U.S.
Constitution, the district smoothed out its approval procedure and cleared the way for three
new clubs to start meeting at area schools. Liberty Counsel is no stranger to LAUSD. In 2003,
Liberty Counsel entered into a court-approved settlement requiring the LAUSD to give equal
access to the Christian Club free of charge and to pay the attorney's fees and costs for litigating
this matter.

Palm Springs, California

After years of meeting in schools within the Palm Springs Unified School District, CEF was
told that the district changed its policy and refused to distribute CEF's fliers because they
promoted religion. Liberty Counsel wrote a letter explaining that the new policy was
unconstitutional. After agreeing that the district's new policy needed revision, the district
permitted the Good News Club's fliers to be distributed.

Temecula, California 

Liberty Counsel helped the Inland Valley Chapter of CEF to obtain refunds of more than
$6,500 from two school districts that discriminated against CEF by charging higher fees
than charged to other organizations. The Murrieta Valley Unified School District overcharged
CEF by $3,361.02 because CEF is religious. Now CEF can afford to provide club meetings to
the children weekly instead of monthly. The Temecula Valley Unified School District permitted
secular groups to meet without cost, but charged CEF $3,246.09. 

Valencia, California 

The Newhall School District attempted to charge CEF for using the school when other non-profit
groups used it without cost. When CEF's fee waiver was denied, Liberty Counsel sent a letter
to the superintendent saying that the district could not discriminate against an organization
for religious reasons. The superintendent then granted the club the same free access provided
to other community groups. 

Boise, Idaho 

A Good News Club that was to start this Fall was suddenly cancelled by the superintendent
of the Kamiah Unified School District, who refused to allow a religious club to meet or
distribute announcements, citing "separation of church and state." Liberty Counsel contacted
the District's attorney to explain that CEF must receive equal access. As a result, the
superintendent allowed CEF to start the following week and to distribute flyers for the club. 

Monday
Oct122009

New Website, New Clubs, and Teens Crying Out to God For Their School —all stories by Bob Heath 

New Website:

Having your website “hacked” is a very upsetting experience.  About a month ago I became aware that something was really wrong with the ministry email accounts.  I had no idea that for roughly four months before that the KFCUSA website had been violated.  The individuals or group that did it stole all our email addresses and had been sending spam of all sorts.  Something like four million people received mail from KFCUSA addresses stating that they had won the British lottery.  As a result, we have moved our email and website to separate servers.  The upside is that we have a new website with a new look and a lot more capability. 

Communication is a big deal to me, and as you may know, I have worked for years to find new ways to communicate with you, our partners and friends.  Our Facebook group is up to about 1400 people now, most of which are not on our enews list.  We teamed up with Tatango: a text messaging system for groups like us. For use when urgent updates when needed.  The deal is, I believe you can reach everybody you want to reach if you can find their communication “hot button”; so we have made signing up for all three lists easy -- from the home page of our site.  Please take just a minute to sign up while you’re looking over the new site

 

New Clubs:

Since we began to grow nationally, I had dreamed of assisting someone in my birth state of Michigan.  We have come close many times in different cities around the state.  Well, I am thrilled to announce that not only did we assist a lady in Michigan, but in the city of my birth!  Can you imagine?  I was born on April Fools Day in Kalamazoo, MI and the first club we are associated with in Michigan was launched in the same city! 

Our parent sponsor, Regina, is proof of the power of Facebook.   We connected on Facebook, I shared the basic concepts with her via messages and a couple phone calls.  Next thing I know she is getting permission to start from the principal of her children’s school. 

On October 7, they had their first club and all the kids there “had a blast”!  She reports that, “The computer in the room wasn't working, so we had to "old school" it and do everything with me teaching.  I had put everything on cds and dvds and did a PowerPoint presentation, but we can do that next time.  The kids still had fun and learned about the Word.  They enjoyed snacks, singing, hearing the word, playing games, winning prizes and praying.  They all said they will bring more friends next week (especially since they get a prize for bringing one!).  We are very excited about the positive response from the school and the parents.  The school staff is happy to see us, even at 7:50 in the morning!”

Then this week, the mom I have been working with in Bettendorf, IA is ready to get started too.  This was an internet connection as well.  What is so awesome about these new clubs starting is that they are proof that anybody can do this.  You don’t need me to come to your city, preach, train, meet with your team: You can read my book and then we can talk by phone and internet and you can make it happen.  DON’T get me wrong -- I love to travel and pour this vision into congregations, but together we can reach every school in the USA faster as a grassroots-type movement.  There are other cities we are talking to and believing God to get kicked off real soon, as well as some new ones here in our own hometown.

Teens Crying Out to God For Their School:

If you have spoken with me in the past year, you know I have been looking forward to this school year with GREAT ANTICIPATION for some time.  You see every year since we began back in 2001, I am asked about “long-term fruit”.  In other words “How can I be sure this is really making a difference?”  The comment was usually made by some condescending individual who was trying to make some kind of point to me. 

Well for the past couple years I have been watching a wave build slowly as the students in the classes of 2010-13 reached High School age in the district in which we began years ago.  They are doing as I dreamed they would 8 ½ years ago: they are running the club in spectacular fashion!

Every week I can hardly wait till Friday so I can sit in the corner and watch them: ITS AWESOME!!!!  They are free from their family’s denominational differences, oblivious to the clicks they run with, and are absolutely in love with and hungry for God. 

Just a couple weeks ago I spoke briefly to one of the groups and proceeded to get out of the way and watch as they dove into worship.  There were 67 teens in that room 45 minutes before school began, but when they began to worship it sounded like twice that.  They sang, and literally cried out to God for their school. I had to leave to go speak at an elementary school at 8 AM, but as I left they were still worshipping. 

Later that day during his lunch hour my son (one of the club leaders) called me.  He asked me when I left and I informed him  8 o’clock.  He responded, “DAD you missed it! Right after you left we circled up and prayed for our school and the kids across this city”.  He went on and said, “Some kids were loud, some were quiet, some were crying, it was awesome!  Then when the first bell rang at 8:10 nobody wanted to leave, we just kept praying.  We quit just before the second bell. (THE TARDY BELL) We were all headed to the office to get tardy slips because we knew we were going to be late.  As we walked an announcement was made over the intercom that due to some special practice the ROTC kids were doing, NO ONE was to be counted late until 8:30“!  It was like God got them a prayer pass.

I had a leader from two other school districts tell me last week that the same thing is happening in their schools.  Keep watching, because I expect to be writing about these kids again.

Please continue to pray and support us, as I truly believe and expect this year to be amazing!  If I hadn’t blabbered on and on I would share more from the elementary schools, so be watching for updates.--bob

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