After they sent out a fundraising letter called “inflammatory” and “anti-Muslim,” the state of Maine has told the virulently anti-gay Christian Action Network that they can no longer raise funds there. The group is suing the state in response.
The organization claims the state violated its right to free speech under the First and Fourteenth Amendments when it denied the Christian Action Network a charitable license to solicit funds in Maine and proposed the group pay $4,000 in sanctions. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Knowlton said he was aware the lawsuit had been filed, but his office had not been served with the complaint as of 4 p.m. Monday. The AG’s office has 20 days to reply to the lawsuit after it receives it. “We believe the state did not violate the group’s constitutional rights when it denied the Christian Action Network a license to solicit as a charitable organization in Maine,” Knowlton said.
The letter complained the public schools were teaching about Islam.
The letter, according to the complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Bangor, was “an informational and educational packet … alerting citizens to the remarkable privileges afforded the religion of Islam in American public schools and universities, including the provision of a ‘prayer room,’ foot baths, instruction in the Five Pillars of Islam, discussion of key passages of the Koran, and even an exercise in which seventh grade students were told that they ‘will become Muslim.’” A copy of the letter was filed with the complaint. It does not cite any schools or universities in Maine where the tenets of Islam are being taught or where accommodations for Muslim students have been made. The letter states that public schools in California, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and South Carolina either teach or offer information about Islam and-or have made accommodations for prayer for Muslim students.
According to Maine law, fundraising efforts may not use an individual’s name without their permission. Christian Action Network used the name of Maine Gov. John Baldacci.