ACLU of Ohio Demands Cancellation of Government-Sponsored ""Faith-Based"" Concert

August 16, 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLEVELAND - In a letter submitted today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on Franklin County Children Services to cancel a government-sponsored "faith-based" gospel concert scheduled for August 21, 2004.

In its letter, the ACLU of Ohio said the gospel concert "constitutes an impermissible and possibly unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion." The letter also stated that failure to cancel the event may result in litigation to prevent the concert from going forward.

According to a press release circulated by Franklin County Children Services, the gospel concert is scheduled to take place at the First Church of God in Columbus with the purpose of educating the faith community about foster homes, adoption and other related issues.

"Informing the community-at-large about the problems facing foster and adoptable children is certainly a laudable and necessary goal," said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeffrey Gamso. "However, any such efforts must be done in a way that complies with the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. That most assuredly does not include a government-sponsored, faith-based event held in a church sanctuary."

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