September 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The pastor of the Cowboy Church of the Crossroads will no longer be permitted to proselytize students at a Florence, Colo., public school due to a legal settlement. 

Robert Basevitz, a former teacher, sued Florence High School and the Fremont RE-2 School District over what he alleged to be an unconstitutional promotion of religion. According to his complaint, Florence administrators advertised church events over an official public address system and allowed the church’s pastor, Randy Pfaff, broad access to students during the school day. The school even distributed the church’s literature to students and allowed the congregation to hold a daily prayer circle so large it blocked the building’s entrance.

When Basevitz, who is Jewish, complained about the practice, he was reassigned to a local elementary school.

The case was settled out of court in late July. Under the settlement, the district has agreed to stop sponsoring religious organizations, distributing religious literature or permitting ceremonies of any kind to block school entrances.

Basevitz’s attorney, Paul Maxon, applauded the settlement in a statement. “The separation of church and state is one of the most important ways that the Constitution protects our liberty,” Maxon said. “This settlement is a victory for the idea that schools are for educating, and religious decisions are for families, not governments.”