Street signs showing intersection of Church and State

COLUMBUS—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio in a letter to Governor John Kasich is questioning the constitutionality of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s grant award of $300,000 from a legal settlement to Athletes in Action (AIA), a religious organization that operates athletic camps and programs in Ohio.

Because AIA actively seeks to convert camp participants to Christianity, families and children of other faiths, and beliefs across Ohio will be effectively excluded from these state-sponsored programs, according to ACLU of Ohio’s Executive Director Christine Link. The ACLU recently requested all records pertaining to the grant award from the Ohio attorney general’s office.

“This is a disgraceful use of public funds that raises a serious constitutional issue,” Link said. “We urge Governor Kasich to take immediate steps to restrict AIA’s use of the grant to programs that are free from religious promotion, or redirect the funds to secular community organizations.”

If the governor restricts AIA’s use of the grant funding, he should require routine monitoring by the office of the attorney general.

“The ACLU defends AIA’s right to freely operate its camps and programs with its own funds, but the state of Ohio may not participate in or finance this organization’s proselytizing activities without violating the constitution,” Link said.