A community college in Michigan has cancelled its annual Montcalm County Pastors Appreciation lunch after a member of an atheist organization complained.
According to Christian News, Mitch Kahle, co-founder of the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, filed the complaint, saying the lunch violated the constitution law on separation of church and state.
“The 2018 Montcalm County Pastor Appreciation Lunch scheduled for Oct. 11 at Montcalm Community College’s Greenville campus has been cancelled due to concerns expressed by an outside organization,” the college wrote in a press release.
“The concerns expressed have distracted from the true intent of the event, and the college does not wish to have its involvement negatively impact the community service opportunity provided by the Pastor Appreciation Lunch, the release added.
Kahle wrote in his complaint that the event uses public tax dollars.
“MCC is a public institution of higher learning and knowledge – not a church of Christian ideology,” he said. “Public tax dollars, resources, and employees, may not be used to fund, organize, support, coordinate, promote, or hold religious activities or events.”
But Montcalm Community College Bob Ferrentino said the event was for fellowship for pastors.
“We felt it was kind of harmless,” he said. “It was certainly not in any way, shape or form advancing any religion. That was not the intention at all. It was more intended to provide professional development and fellowship for pastors in the community who don’t often get together.
“We host people from many different professions on campus. There is nothing in the Constitution or any statutory law saying you can’t host the group.”
Alan Seaborn, from the organization Winning at Home, Inc., was slated to speak at the lunch. He was going to address ways pastors can support families.
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