The Freedom From Religion Foundation has officially demanded Colorado Springs School District 11 Board Director Al Loma stop pushing religion from the board dais and from his district email address, following a complaint and Loma’s doubling-down on his rhetoric last week.
D11 constituent and LGBTQ activist Joseph Shelton had filed a complaint with FFRF, a national organization that takes action against separation of church and state violations, after he exchanged emails with Loma about the Nov. 19 Club Q shooting. In an emailed response to Shelton, Loma cited a Bible excerpt that calls homosexual activity “shameful,” “unnatural” and a “perversion,” and signed off with his church signature.
Then, during the Dec. 14 regular D11 Board of Education meeting — the first since the shooting — Loma read that same excerpt during his board report and accused Shelton and the Business Journal of “bullying” and trying to “silence” him. Loma and Board Vice President Jason Jorgensen denied any connection between their anti-LGBTQ comments over the last year and the shooting, which prosecutors believe was a hate crime. (Several Colorado Springs community members have drawn that connection, arguing that rhetoric that vilifies LGBTQ people can lead to violence.)
The D11 Board of Education has not moved to officially reprimand Loma, nor did any board members condemn his statements from the dais at the meeting, the Business Journal reported last week.
In response, FFRF staff attorney Chris Line emailed Loma a letter on Dec. 15, reminding him “that it is inappropriate and unconstitutional for you to abuse your public position to advance your personal religious beliefs” and to “ask that you immediately cease including religious messages and your religious signature in official District communications.”
Line’s full letter is here.
According to Line, Loma responded with:
“I appreciate the reminder. The automatic signature block has been removed. My thoughts and sincerest condolences for all those who suffered during the Club Q shooting.
Rev. Al Loma, D11 Board”
Shelton’s complaint marks at least the second time that FFRF has been contacted about Loma’s religious rhetoric from his board position. Line noted in his letter that the organization first wrote to Loma about the issue on Jan. 26.