Muslim Parents Object to Distribution of Presbyterian Church's Easter Egg Hunt at Schools

A flyer for an upcoming Easter egg hunt at a church is more fuel for some Muslim parents’ concerns that Christian institutions are working through the school district to convert their children.

The Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church defended distribution to Dearborn public school students of a flyer promoting an upcoming Easter egg hunt because the event does not have a religious component. (Patch file photo)
The Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church defended distribution to Dearborn public school students of a flyer promoting an upcoming Easter egg hunt because the event does not have a religious component. (Patch file photo)

Flyers publicizing an upcoming Easter egg hunt at a Presybterian church distributed to students in Dearborn Public Schools violates the constitutional separation of church and state, a group of Muslim parents said, deepening their concerns churches are using the school district to convert their children to Christianity.

The district has a large group of Muslim students. One of their parents, Majed Moughni, told the Detroit Free Press the flyers "really bothered” his two children, ages 7 and 9, who attend Dearborn elementary schools.

The April 12 event to be held at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church includes an egg hunt, relay race and egg toss. The flyer, which included images of eggs and a bunny, were encouraged to RSVP to make sure they got a free spot early.

“My son was like, ‘Dad, I really don’t feel comfortable getting these flyers telling me to go to church,” Moughni told the newspaper. “I thought churches are not supposed to mix with schools.’ ”

Moughni said he doesn’t think teachers whose salaries are paid by taxpayers should be distributing flyers for a church event. “I think that’s a serious violation of separation of church and state,” he said, adding that he would similarly oppose the distribution in public schools of flyers that promote events at mosques.

Moughni said this isn’t the first time flyers for events at churches have been distributed by the schools, including a Halloween party at another church last fall. He also cited a performance at the school by The Conquerors, a Grandville-based group of Christian athletes who perform feats of strength to spread the gospel of Jesus.

The Free Press asked Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen for comment, but he did respond to several requests.

Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church pastor Neeta Nichols said the Easter egg hunt isn’t a religious event and the Dearborn school district approved distribution of the flyer.

“It’s designed to be an opportunity to invite the community to come for  day of activity,” Nichols said. “There is not a religious component to this event.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State lawyer Greg Lipper told the newspaper that though there’s room for debate over whether Easter is an entirely religious holiday or one that combines Christian and Western cultural traditions such as the Easter bunny and eggs, promoting an event at religious institution is troublesome.

Events such as the White House Easter egg hunt or similar events in other secular settings pass constitutional muster, he said, “but this invitation was for an Easter egg hunt at a Christian church — and so the event has much clearer religious connotations."

"Context matters," he said.

Lipper also said the school district has to be careful about appearing to endorse one religion over another, especially when impressionable children are involved.

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Luther's Fan April 08, 2014 at 06:08 PM
Your exactly right Daniel English, so tell me why we have religious foods, in-school prayer times during Ramadan, all girl gym classes (co-ed for the rest) for one religious group. An Easter Egg hunt is a totally secular activity with NO ties to any faith I know of. The fact that it is being held on the grounds where a church is, does not make it a Presbyterian indoctrination class. Most individuals on this post have the mental capabilities to recognize this, they are just sick and tired of one religion being given so much preference in Dearborn.
Dale Behler April 08, 2014 at 06:25 PM
Daniel.....I doesn't seem that you have read all the comments on here. The concern of most people is not so much whether or not to allow religious content in public schools as it is allowing preferential treatment of one religion (Muslims in Dearborn), while strictly enforcing restrictions against similar special accommodations for other religions (usually Christians). It's a matter of having equal treatment for all religions, not just one.
Michael Matigian April 08, 2014 at 06:52 PM
We All need to remember to get out and Vote !!!! That is our only tool Vote and May God Bless all of us
laplateau April 08, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Daniel...what an ignoramus. Your comment brilliantly illuminates what you so rudely label as lack of mental capabilities. You not only did not take the time to read all forgoing comments, but you have no understanding of whatsoever of the first amendment to our constitution...which plainly says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Do you REALLY think that applies to this issue? Try reading a bit...like the constitution itself, also the the plethora of writings by our founding fathers. In doing so, you might just be able to avert sounding as if yousuffering from a lack of mental capabilities in the future.
T as in Truth May 03, 2014 at 05:46 AM
Roberto....the party is long over. Go back to sleep.


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