A Colorado school district provoked controversy after sending out fliers inviting young girls to a Christian event.
Two people complained and one reached out to the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers organization, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports.
“This is in violation of their code of conduct. This is in violation of their own rules,” said Aleksandr Kolpakov, president of the organization. “They are not supposed to use public resources to favor one religion over another.”
“[We] only want District 51 to be more careful in the sort of material they use their public resources to send out to their students,” Kolpakov added. “That’s all we wanted, was for them to be more selective and not send harmful information to their students.”
However, district spokeswoman Emily Shockley denies supporting the Christian event called “Wake Up Sleeping Beauty: Worship At His Feet.”
“It’s not sponsored by us or promoted by us,” Shockley said. “We’re not telling anyone they have to go or should go, we’re just the conduit for that (information). We didn’t support them with any money, sponsorship or materials.”
She also added that it is difficult to be “discerning” in the way Kolpakov demands without infringing on the rights of other groups.
“We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. We can’t discriminate between what’s religious and what’s not religious,” Shockley added. “The word promote would indicate financial support or class credit, and we’re not doing any of that.”
Moreover, Kolpakov and another individual, Marni Zoborac, said the flier and event also discriminates against women.
The flier features a woman crying at Jesus’ feet.
Parents also complained because the Christian event encourages girls to stay “pure” as they look for husbands, Raw Story reports.
“[It] demeans or ridicules a person or groups on the basis of gender,” Zoborac complained.
”I am disturbed by the imagery and language used to promote a program purportedly intended to support or strengthen girls. [The verse is] far from empowering words for girls and women — instead, it encourages them to subjugate themselves to an undefined ‘Him,’” she added.
Again, the district disagrees with these additional accusations.
District spokeswoman Jeannie Smith responded that the district doesn’t believe “[the flier] promotes a religious organization or demeans a person or group on the basis of gender.”