"Jesus Christ is the only hope our society has in a culture increasingly built on materialism and relativism. School Ministries of Birmingham offers the moral and spiritual compass young people need by showing how the truth of Christ brings purpose to their lives. Being a part of a similar program as I was growing up in Tennessee introduced me to a hope I had never known, and continues to influence my life to this day."
~ Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University
What is Released-Time Education (RTE)?
Released-Time Bible Education was first initiated in the United States in 1914. Today there are approximately 1,000 released-time programs in operation, ranging from kindergarten to high school, with estimates of 250,000 or more students enrolled.
How can my child's class not be allowed to pray at school, or even say the pledge of allegiance, but can take a religious course potentially for credit?
The U.S. Supreme Court in 1952 (Zorach v. Clauson 343 U.S. 306) held that Released-Time Education is constitutional if:
1. Classes are held off school premises/property;
2. Students have parental permission to attend;
3. Classes are privately funded.
(Classes can be historical or devotional in nature.)
So this does not violate separation of church and state?
The legality of RTE recognizes and reinforces the constitutionally protected right of parents to direct the religious education of their children. RTE gives the opportunity for all children to be released from school time for off premises attendance at the religious education classes of their choice.
My child attends church regularly. Why do we need SMA?
We want to be an asset to churches in our area, and our hope is that SMA will empower your child to be a witness for Christ in their school and invite their friends to join them in the SMA class. SMA will help students to intellectually understand Christianity and teach students how to apply it to their life.
Summary of Benefits