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Nevada church says school ban on religious flyers violates Constitution

Dec. 1, 2017 at 11:11 p.m.


RENO, Nev. (AP) — An evangelical Christian church in Nevada says its First Amendment rights are being violated by a school district's ban on promotional flyers the church wants to distribute at a school community program along with other charitable organizations.

Lawyers for Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley sent a letter to the Lyon County School District this week demanding equal access to its community flyer distribution program.

Under the title of "Unconstitutional Censorship of Religious Viewpoints," they suggest the district east of Reno could face a lawsuit if they fail to change current policy.

The policy adopted in July states the district recognizes many outside organizations "contribute to the education and positive development of students and their families," and therefore the district may assist those groups in distributing flyers and announcements. But it specifically prohibits flyers that are "intended to promote a partisan political cause/candidate, promote a religious opinion/belief, are propagandistic or proselytizing."

District officials maintain the policy is legal. They said in a statement that they were caught by surprise by the criticism and have offered to meet with church officials.

The church in Dayton, 15 miles northeast of Carson City, is being represented by a private law firm and the First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based public interest law firm that describes itself as the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated to defending religious freedoms.

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