Breaking report: Is a Clark County middle school violating the separation of church and state? A banner was placed upon the chain link fence belonging to Jack Schofield Middle School on Friday afternoon, March 15, 2013 -- and while it's not uncommon for banners to be promoted on school spaces in the city, the message conveyed by this one is rather blatant. You see, the banner is promoting a Christian church -- a Christian church that meets right inside of the school. Grace City Church of Las Vegas touts itself proudly as being a "militant" and "servant-oriented" evangelical religious group. On the church's blog they refer to Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and new age spirituality as "cults" and compare other faiths to "moonies." So it certainly appears as though this is the blatant promotion of one religion by a public school, which is federally illegal.
Seeing as though it was late Friday, leading into the weekend, it was impossible to contact the Clark County School District regarding this banner. The photo seen in this post was obtained from a source who wishes to remain anonymous for his personal safety as he is a Las Vegas resident who lives near the Jack Schofield Middle School. He told me that a group of adults were putting up the banner around the time he snapped a photo of it with his phone. Seeing as though this is a middle school and not a high school it's only safe to say that the adults weren't students. That would mean that this is not a student coordinated church promotion, so how is the Grace City Church allowed to display Christian advertisements on public property which is funded by taxpayers?
Furthermore, this banner could serve as a federally illegal form of indoctrination of the middle school students in attendance. Since the banner is only advertising one single church, which adheres to very strict Christian evangelical belies, then this creates the environment in which students may feel pressured or obligated to "follow the herd" so-to-speak. This is precisely why the promotion of single religions by public schools and government buildings is illegal. It violates the First Amendment rights of students who feel pressured to worship as his or her school encourages or whose families are nonreligious taxpayers.
It should also be noted that the Grace City Church is one that speaks out against homosexuality on its blog, making an obvious stance against equality in a time of civil rights. According to the church's own blog their stance is strongly and "militantly" against all that Las Vegas stands for and all that is responsible for the city's economy. That includes every form of gambling and the legal entertainment. Grace City Church even goes as far as to compare Las Vegas to the biblical city of Corinth. It's apparent that this is a religious group that hates Las Vegas and those who call the city home that don't attend their church meetings -- which, again, are at this Clark County middle school!
Do you agree that this banner and the promotion of Grace City Church's values are against federal law? I intend on reaching out to the Clark County School District first thing Monday morning and requesting an explanation regarding this banner. It would be interesting to hear their side of the story as well as what leaders of this church might say about the situation. In the meantime, it's important to take note that this could happen in any neighborhood. Violations of the separation of church and state happen all over the United States -- and pretty much daily. Do you think that this is a display of the Christian privilege or should this be acceptable?