A Christian group is battling a Maryland school district, charging officials are trying to circumvent a federal court ruling allowing the evangelistic ministry to advertise on campuses.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in June ruled Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools are required to distribute informational fliers for Child Evangelism Fellowship on the same terms as they do for other community groups.
But the district, in an apparent effort to circumvent the ruling, passed a policy in July that school officials claim prevents them from distributing CEF’s meeting announcements.
Monday, the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom, representing CEF, will ask a Maryland federal court to enforce the appeals court ruling.
The Christian Legal Society, or CLS, says the school district continues to discriminate against CEF’s “Good News Clubs” because of religious content while distributing informational fliers for numerous other community groups.
Lawyers for CEF also will argue the preliminary injunction ordered by Judge Peter J. Messitte in April, allowing the religious fliers to be distributed, should be made permanent.
CLS said the public is welcome at the hearing Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Courtroom 2A at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, 6500 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, Md.
If Messitte elects not to rule from the bench, a decision is expected by early next year, CLS said.
“Child Evangelism Fellowship welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate that Montgomery County’s actions since the Court of Appeals’ decision have been designed to navigate around CEF’s First Amendment right to bring its message to parents on the same basis as other community groups,” said Steven H. Aden,chief litigation counsel for CLS.