Students at Middleton High School started having an off-campus meeting which was name “Jesus Lunch.” Until the school stepped in to put an end to it. Do you think these students have a right to gather together and talk about Jesus? Here’s the story…
An ongoing debate over the propriety of a weekly Christian gathering dubbed “Jesus Lunch” at Middleton High School led to crowds of supporters and protesters facing off at a park shelter adjacent to the school Tuesday afternoon.
Around 500 students, parents and community members gathered at Fireman’s Park, where the lunch is held, to serve and eat lunch as well as express their thoughts on the controversy for about 10 reporters covering the event.
Jesus Lunch was started in 2014 by a small group of parents whose kids attend Middleton High School. The lunches involve parents passing out free food to students and having discussions about Christianity. According to students who attend Jesus Lunch, parents give faith-based motivational speeches and send positive messages their way. On one occasion, parents handed out Bibles and Christianity pamphlets.
Of the students gathered in Fireman’s Park Tuesday, about half strongly opposed and half strongly supported the event. The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation was on hand to distribute snacks, as well.
Those protesting held signs that said “Take Jesus Lunch to Church” and “Jesus would Compromise.” They also drew comparisons, saying a “Muslim Lunch” would be shut down immediately.
“I’m here to support my friends and peers that feel marginalized. There is a park right down the street that is public property that the parents could have rented out, but instead they chose to go against school laws and policies and stay here,” Powers said. “This is dividing the student body, hurting minority students and creating unsafe spaces for those that aren’t Christian.”
Middleton student Anna Diamond disagreed with that sentiment.
“I’m Jewish and don’t feel like I’m being oppressed. People think the lunch is oppressive but it’s not; no one is forced to come here at all, students have a choice,” Diamond said. “The parents are not trying to get people to convert and they are very peaceful. We should all be allowed to have our beliefs and right to preach as long as it’s not offending or hurting anyone.”
Read more: Madison