by Michael Tennant
Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com
A Massachusetts school board has repeatedly delayed approving a church’s application to open a private school because of the church’s religious beliefs, attorneys for the church claim.
The Vida Real Internacional church, which consists largely of Hispanic immigrants, applied to the Somerville School Committee in September, requesting permission to open a faith-based school in Somerville called the Real Life Learning Center (RLLC). (Massachusetts law requires private schools to gain pre-approval from their local school boards.)
According to a letter to the Somerville school superintendent and board from Ryan Gardner of the First Liberty Institute and Andrew Beckwith of the Massachusetts Family Institute, the committee waited two months to tell Vida Real “its application was deficient and needed to be resubmitted.”
That was just the beginning of a long process of delays and requests for more information. In February, a subcommittee submitted a list of 35 questions to which it wanted the church to respond at its next meeting. Some of the questions asked for information Vida Real had already provided, while others delved into its religious beliefs.
Despite the church’s accommodation of these demands, the committee continued to drag its feet and “repeatedly expressed hostility to Vida Real’s religious beliefs,” the church alleges. The subcommittee submitted a report to the committee questioning “how the [school’s] application process will result in a diverse set of applicants” and taking issue with “the school’s position on homosexuality and creationism” and its “belief that mental illness is caused by sin and demons.” Read Full Article >