School officials in Compton, Calif., have denied two applications filed by Pastor Charles Patrick of Sunago Christian Fellowship Church to start a charter school because he is a church leader.
"A Pastor is entitled to as much right under the First Amendment as any individual is. Especially when they're going to be using the funds, in this case, for secular purposes," Robert Tyler of Advocates for Faith & Freedom argued on Patrick’s behalf, according to onenewsnow.com.
"I think that what we're seeing here is a move toward trying to prevent any person of faith from really being involved," Tyler added.
Although Patrick did not apply on any religious grounds and did not plan to teach religion in the school, the Compton Unified School District denied his applications.
Pastor Patrick, who wanted to start the school in Los Angeles, said he simply wanted to create a charter school "in a safe location," according to OneNewsNow.
Frontier Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit against California in response to the denial of Patrick’s application on the grounds that the State is violating the pastor’s First Amendment rights.
“There is a culture war that’s ongoing that is attempting to remove God from any public arena. It shouldn’t matter that they (Patrick and his church) are a Christian organization if they are using the school for secular purposes,” Tyler told The Christian Post.
“I have not yet communicated with the Lawyers from Frontier, but I will call them to see if they would like to use our services,” Tyler added.
Frontier Legal Foundation’s lawsuit cites Patrick’s protection under the “Establishment Clause,” which protects all citizens against discrimination.
Tyler also told The Christian Post, he is unsure if Patrick was told explicitly that his applications were being denied based on his religion, but it would appear that Patrick’s first amendment rights have been violated.