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Alabama high school targeted by atheist group for praying – Lt. Gov. Ainsworth fired back

​​A Wisconsin-based atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), is again threatening to take an Alabama public school system to court.

This time, they’ve warned the Elmore County School District about a voluntary assembly at Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, Alabama, claiming it was an “inappropriate and unconstitutional Christian” school event.

“We’re calling on the district to stop gaslighting the situation and adopt clear policy disallowing religious assemblies masquerading as secular seminars,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “Elmore School District must take action to protect its students from preying (and praying) evangelists.”

The event was led by John Eklund, Founder and CEO of Recovery ALIVE, a Christian-based program that has helped many overcome addiction and find hope. Eklund, a respected figure in the community, was invited to speak to students about mental health and resilience.

Students and attendees were drawn to prayer:

FFRF reports that two parents complained the assembly was religious and mandatory.

In response, the school district’s superintendent clarified that the assembly was not mandatory and was meant to help students with mental health issues. FFRF argued Eklund’s social media posts, which included photos of students praying and comments about faith in Jesus, suggest otherwise.

RELATED: Alabama Senator to atheist group: ‘We need more children, not less to hear the good news of God’s saving grace’ 

According to Eklund’s post, the school’s principal told him, “I’ve been doing this for 26 years. If i’m gonna get in trouble it might as well be for Jesus!”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, who has a track record of being unintimidated by the FFRF, told Yellowhammer News they continue to misunderstand Alabama.

“The same fringe group targeting this voluntary school assembly has attacked me in the past for simply encouraging Alabamians to celebrate Easter and seeking prayers on behalf of law enforcement officers,” Ainsworth said.

“I believe strongly that the rise in juvenile crime and the lack of respect for human life that so many young people in high-crime areas possess today is a direct result of religion being removed from our schools and other public venues.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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