On today’s “Pray In Jesus Name” program, Religious Right activist and Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt shared his thoughts on a lawsuit filed against a California school district for refusing to inform students about scholarships that were being offered by atheist groups.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and a local freethinker organization were offering college scholarships but district officials refused to include them on a list of scholarships that was distributed to students even though the list featured several overtly religious scholarships.
In Klingenschmitt’s view, this is perfectly okay because trying to “bribe” public school students with an atheist scholarship is unconstitutional.
“To advertise atheist scholarships to all of the Christian students or the Jewish students or even the homosexual students,” he said, “to say that everyone should be able to get this money if you just renounce your faith, that, to me, is itself unconstitutional. There is no place for atheist recruiters to come into your schools and recruit children to violate their parent’s religion.”
Offering Christian scholarships, on the other hand, is totally acceptable because the majority of students in public school are Christians, Klingenschmitt said, and so “for an opportunity to be offered to a Christian child that, if they write an essay about God that they should get Christian scholarship money, that’s not bribery. They’re keeping their own religion … You’re reinforcing what the parents want their kid’s faith to be. This is a parental rights issue.”
Sure, some atheist parents might object to students being offered a scholarship for writing Christian essays, Klingenschmitt admitted, but that is totally different than saying “to Christian children that we’re going to bribe you with [a scholarship] if you convert and renounce your parent’s faith about how great it is to be an atheist.”
“That would be upsetting and offensive to parents who want their children raised in a Christian faith,” he stated, before praying that school officials will fight this lawsuit and “stand up for the freedom of religion for Christian students in public schools to not be coerced and bribed to convert to atheism against their parent’s faith.”