Here’s a pop quiz: Is this legal?
That would be an advertisement for Christ Fit Gym complete with Bible verse on the football field outside Benton High School in Louisiana. The owner of the gym, Billy Weatherall, paid $3,500 to have his company’s logo on the field all season. But shortly after it was painted on there last week, the Bossier Parish School Board’s attorneys flipped out and told the school to get rid of it.
That’s because the District is already embroiled in a lawsuit alleging a litany of church/state separation violations. It’s hard for those attorneys to pretend administrators and teachers are not endorsing Christianity when there’s literally one painted directly on the football field.
Keep in mind atheists didn’t complain about the logo. We didn’t even have time to notice it. It was the District’s attorneys who called for it to be painted over so that it wouldn’t become an issue.
And that’s why this has become an issue.
“This is something I believe in,” [Weatherall] said. “This is what my faith is all about. This is something I cannot and will not compromise on.”
A judge granted a temporary restraining order to prevent anyone from removing the signs — but it was too late.
Republican State Sen. Ryan Gatti, who is representing Christ Fit Gym, said he did not think he would see the day in Louisiana when teenagers would be asked to violate their conscience.
“We’re at the point now where kids are being asked to spray paint over signs with the name of Christ,” he told me. “Just let that sink in.”
Regarding that last point, District officials asked two students (perhaps volunteers who help with the team) to remove the logo and they refused. (Hello, Christian martyrdom.) There are conflicting reports as to whether the logo has been removed anyway due to a restraining order filed by Christ Fit Gym.
Whether or not it’s removed, it never should’ve been painted there in the first place. The business exists primarily to promote Christianity and the advertisement includes a Bible verse. How did it get through the vetting process?! If this is the game the District wants to play, I know a bunch of Satanists who would gladly pony up $3,500 to put a Pentagram on the field. I know atheists who would quickly crowdfund that money for an ad that reads, “The Bible is a fantastic fiction book.”
This problem exists because Bossier Parish continues to let Christians get away with things that would never be acceptable for any other religious or anti-religious group. It’s all the more reason the courts should rule against the District in the pending lawsuit. Even if it means a few Christians will convince themselves they’re saviors of the faith in the meantime.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)