CLEVELAND – Today, the ACLU of Ohio Foundation sent a letter to Franklin County Children Services demanding cancellation of a “faith-based” gospel concert scheduled for August 21, 2004. The concert is set to take place in the main congregation area of First Church of God in Columbus and will feature several gospel musical acts.
According to a press release circulated by Franklin County Children Services, the purpose of the event is to educate the Columbus-area faith community about foster homes, adoption and other related issues.
In its demand letter, the ACLU of Ohio stated the gospel concert “constitutes an impermissible and possibly unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion”. The ACLU’s letter goes on to say that failure to cancel the event may result in litigation to prevent the concert from going forward.
“Informing the community-at-large about the problems facing foster and adoptable children is certainly a laudable and necessary goal,” stated Jeffrey Gamso, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio. “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,” added Gamso.