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Child Evangelism Fellowship of Missouri, an organization that had been working with children in a Tulsa, Oklahoma housing project for 20 years, was recently told that they can come in and play games and talk about moral things, but they can’t mention the name of God.
Larry Koehn, head of the fellowship’s Tulsa chapter, said that they were told that holding Bible Studies and discussing God with the children was a violation of a policy prohibiting religious instruction on public housing property. He said that housing authority officials told him the rule has “always been in effect, but it’s just never been enforced.”
Liberty Counsel, a Florida law firm specializing in religious cases, has gotten involved, Founder Mathew Staver said he will file a federal lawsuit against the housing authority if the fellowship isn’t allowed to conduct their programs as usual. Staver says that a Supreme Court ruling in 2001 affirmed that religious groups have the same right as anyone else to meet in public buildings.
“Youth at Heart” is the non-profit company that runs the recreational programs for the Tulsa Housing Authority. The Youth at Heart organization is not faith based. One has to wonder about Obama’s changes with the Office for Faith Based Inititiatives, which he now calls the White House Office of Faith-Based and “Neighborhood Partnerships.” Some of us have been expecting that faith based efforts will be pushed off the map in favor of secular programs.