Hundreds of parents, students and community members verbally clashed on April 19 when two sides protested for and against a weekly "Jesus Lunch" that several Christian moms put on in a public park next to Middleton High School in Wisconsin (video below).
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), based in Madison, was also present to hand out food and protest the lunches, notes Madison.com.
The FFRF, an organization that fights for the separation of church and state, sent a complaint letter to the Middleton-Cross Plains School District superintendent regarding the lunches. The school district asked the moms to stop, but the moms refused.
The public park is owned by the city but is leased to the school; thus school rules apply to park grounds during the day. The moms have gotten permits from the city to use the park for the lunches on Tuesdays, but they refuse to follow the school's rules against proselytizing the children on the property.
Those protesting the Jesus Lunch waved signs that read: "Take Jesus Lunch To Church" and "Jesus Would Compromise."
Beth Williams, one of the moms who helped organize the Jesus Lunch in 2014, told the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based conservative think tank, " ... [T]hat's really our goal, to come and share a lunch, and see how they are doing, and share a Biblical truth with them."
Williams said the lunch is voluntary, but she was confronted by three Rabbis after her interview who told her that some kids were being harassed and intimidated because they don't agree with the Jesus Lunch.
"Do you think that Jesus would approve of you're coming and hurting these kids?" one Rabbi asked Williams. " ... It may not be your intention, but that's what you are doing."
Several of the kids interviewed by the MacIver Institute didn't mind the free lunches, but shouting matches broke out afterward, with one group yelling, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Jesus Lunches have got to go," and the other group hollering: "Jesus Lunch! Jesus Lunch! Jesus Lunch!"
In a video filmed during the week of April 18, school administrators set up cones and asked the moms not to hold their weekly lunch, but the Christian mothers told the school officials to talk to their lawyers.