ATHEIST GROUP STOPS CHURCH FROM HANDING OUT “RELIGIOUS FLYERS” DURING STATE AFFILIATED HUNTERS’ SAFETY CLASS
that seeks to separate God from government has succeeded in stopping a
church from distributing gospel literature and an invitation to Sunday
services to attendees of a state-affiliated hunter’s safety class held
at the house of worship.
“These proselytizing handouts are supremely insulting to
non-Christians and unbelievers,” the Wisconsin-based Freedom From
Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department on June 28.
“The State of New Hampshire has no business holding workshops of
vital importance to hunting safety that berate attendees as ‘sinners,’
etc,” it said. “Such a misuse of a state function for sectarian,
proselytizing purposes is disgraceful.”
The organization states that it was contacted by an individual who
attended the class, which was held at Heritage Free Will Baptist Church
in Laconia. The training was taught by one of the pastors, and included
with the study packet and other hunter’s safety information was a
document that provided the ABC’s of salvation, as well as another that
invited attendees to Heritage’s Sunday services.
FFRF asserts that the church’s inclusion of the flyers with the class
studies violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution
because it creates the appearance of a government endorsement of
“Allowing churches to distribute their religious literature through a
class co-sponsored by New Hampshire Fish and Game constitutes
government endorsement and advancement of religion,” it contended in its
letter. “It also sends the ancillary message to members of the audience
who are non-adherents that ‘they are outsiders, not full members of the
political community …’”
FFRF requested that the department investigate the matter and
disallow the distribution of religious materials at future classes. It
also asked that the state discontinue hosting hunter’s safety training
at churches altogether.
On July 10, Glenn Normandeau, the executive director of the New
Hampshire Fish and Game Department, responded to FFRF. He advised that
the matter was investigated as requested and that class instructors have
been directed not to distribute anything other than what pertains to
“I want to assure you that we do take the complaint seriously, and
have confirmed that materials were in fact provided to participants that
were unauthorized and outside of the approved curriculum,” Normandeau wrote.
“We have taken corrective action in the matter, and are reaffirming
with all of our instructors that no materials should be distributed in
any class other than those which are part of the approved curriculum.”
He did not mention discontinuing utilizing churches for the class.
FFRF says that it is “thrilled” with the outcome of the situation,
which Co-President Dan Barker referred to as a “transgression.”
Christian News Network reached out to Heritage Free Will Baptist Church, but a response was not received.
Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Education, once said,
“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to
form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries
and evils which men suffer from—vice, crime, ambition, injustice,
oppression, slavery, and war—proceed from their despising or neglecting
the precepts contained in the Bible.”