Lunchroom rule -- No pastors allowed

Thursday, October 25, 2012
Bob Kellogg (

Thanks to a potential lawsuit against an Indiana school district, a youth pastor will no longer be allowed to speak with students in the lunchroom.

Officials for Southwest Allen County Schools say the district no longer allows a local youth pastor to interact with students because of the legal threat. But Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel asserts that this kneejerk reaction is wrong.

Staver, Mat (Liberty Counsel)"More often than not, what you find are these schools allow people to come to speak to people there and have lunch with those that they know and are associated with -- and in that particular situation, they can't exclude a youth minister just because he's a minister, because he is sharing a religious or Christian message with the students," Staver explains. "He has every right to be able to be there, just like anyone else."

John and Linda Buchanan, whose daughter attends a middle school in the district, claim the youth pastor's actions violate the First Amendment. In fact, notes Staver, the school district could actually be the one at fault.

"If the pastor is the only one that's excluded, then the pastor may well have a lawsuit against the school for being singled out and excluded, and therefore, his own First Amendment rights to free speech are being violated," the Liberty Counsel founder submits.

The Buchanans are quoted as saying, "We're not heathens. We're not anti-religion; we're anti-religion in public school."

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