Just last week a new Pew study revealed nearly three-quarters of Americans believe religious influence on life in the U.S. is waning and nearly half think that churches and other houses of worship should play a greater role in the national discourse on social and political matters.

The relationship between Church and State has always been something of a tightrope walk down through the years, but somebody just pushed in Livingston.

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to officials at the Livingston School District 4 and 1 in Livingston, on behalf of a concerned citizen regarding the distribution of religious materials to elementary school students.

According to the letter, religious flyers promoting St. Paul’s Lutheran Church have been prominently displayed and distributed to students at Washington Elementary School. The flyers promote a Christian outdoor camp organized by the church and were given to kindergarten students to take home.

The letter states that, despite complaints, the flyers have been distributed at the school for years, and no other churches or organizations have been granted the same privilege.

“By granting one church exclusive access to target impressionable elementary students during school hours, the school district sends the message that it endorses the religious views of that church,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the American Humanist Association.

The letter strongly encourages the school district to remove all religious flyers and materials from the school. If the school refuses, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center will demand that the school district disclose its practices regarding the distribution of religious materials, detail its efforts to inform all community religious organizations of the opportunity to display promotional materials, and include atheist and humanist literature as part of its open forum policy.

Watch this space for updates as information becomes available.

If you do have in interest in the current level Faith and Politics interact, you might want to attend a lecture and panel discussion on the MSU campus (EPS 103 Montana State University) Wednesday evening at 6pm.

This lecture will feature Retired Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson followed by a panel discussion featuring local religious and civic leaders and will focus the recent non discrimination debates happening across Montana.