Teacher draws ire of parents, atheist group

Photos provided by Northern Indiana Atheists A Jimtown High School classroom featuring stickers and posters with Christian and conservative messages has lead to complaints from parents and Northern Indiana Atheists. Among the materials in the classroom are the 10 Commandments, multiple anti-abortion stickers and a sticker stating that “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”

ELKHART — Three families and an atheist group have complained to Baugo Community Schools that the schools, and one Jimtown High School teacher in particular, are failing to properly separate church and state, although others are coming to the teacher’s defense. 

The families claim teacher Mike Hosinski has filled his classroom with “religious propaganda” and makes non-Christian students feel uncomfortable.

(12) comments


The text of the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom gives great insight into our nation’s First Amendment right. It reads: “… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced … in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

In short, the act affirmed what we should recognize in every era: the right to practice any faith, is a foundational freedom for all Americans. This right is also behind what Jefferson meant when he spoke of a “wall of separation” between the church and the state.

Jefferson’s famous phrase came in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut. The Baptists were worried about the freedom to practice their faith, writing to Jefferson that “what religious privileges we enjoy, we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights,” which is “inconsistent with the rights of freemen.”

Jefferson wrote back that religious liberty, free from state tampering, would be a key part of the American vision. The Constitution, he wrote, would “restore to man all his natural rights.” In this same letter, Jefferson explained the intent of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This, he said, built a “wall of separation of church and state.”

Jefferson was not suggesting that religious people or religious motivations should be exiled from public debate. As a matter of fact, the letter was from a religious people appealing to an elected official for their rights — an elected official who, by the way, attended church services during his administration inside the United States Capitol.

In its day, a constitutional prohibition that the state would not establish or restrain personal faith was truly revolutionary. Sadly, in many countries today, religious freedom is still revolutionary. America has the obligation to live this truth and demonstrate the depth of this powerful human right!

Unlike many places in the world, our government is not prohibited from referencing or accommodating religion, nor is the government compelled to scrub all religious references from the public square. Rather, the First Amendment ensures both that the government does not show preference to a certain religion and that the government does not take away an individual’s ability to exercise religion. In other words, the church should not rule over the state, and the state cannot rule over the church. Religion is too important to be a government program or a political pageant.

Thankfully, the Courts have affirmed this time and time again.


Could one say these shootings are byproducts of failed parents? Ironic article to be discussing this topic....


meanwhile there were 4 shootings over the weekend.

Joe King

Yes. Mr. Henke, we all know schools, teachers and kids are involved in numerous school shootings, but I think it should be left to the police to handle shooters and city leaders to handle the poverty and poor living conditions? What are the city leaders doing to stop slum lords and poor landlords? What are the city leaders doing to fight for a decent living wage and bring in more jobs?


Are you serious? Blame the city, the landlords and the employers. How about blaming personal responsibility?

Joe King

Sidearm....you really need to get out more..read more, and experience more....and turn off fox entertainment channel

Joe King

This teacher cannot be trusted in class. He should removed or another person should now have to sit in and audit his classes for now on. This is what happens when you preach your own beliefs and no follow school curriculum and follow the law. Separation from church and state isn’t a suggestion.


I would trust this teacher with my grand kids, you Joe, not so much.

Joe King

It shows sidearm....it really shows....


Actually, it is Separation OF Church and State. If you would care to educate yourself on it's meaning and where it actually originated from that may clear up your misconception. I cannot believe we live in an age where such ignorance prevails, however there is no law against it!


These complainers need to find something else to focus on. Tar and feather the man for teaching good value to students. OMG!!! We get it, separation of church and state, it is a thing. Why do you think people have been flocking to Jimtown schools in recent years? Think about it. They are free to take their children elsewhere. I chose to do that when I didn't like what was going on in the school my children attended. I didn't call some radical group and put it all in the paper. I could have. Here's a question. Did the parents even try to talk to the teacher before having a big public fit? Jw


Signs and posters that show religious or political views do NOT belong in the classroom. He can Express that, or keep those things at his home, but NOT in public schools.

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