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ICC Note: Following a letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a public school in New Mexico has decided to paint over a mural that includes a Scripture reference. The mural depicts a dove and an anchor and includes a reference to Hebrews 6:19 with the phrase, “Hope anchors the soul.” The group asserted that the mural was inappropriate and in violation of the US Constitution because it served as a government endorsement of religion due to its presence in a public school.

By Heather Clark

08/21/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – Officials with a public school in New Mexico quickly agreed to paint over a mural featuring a Scripture citation after receiving a letter from a prominent atheist-led church-state separation group last week.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the Clovis Municipal School District after receiving a complaint from a parent who noticed the mural at Clovis Freshman Academy, which features a dove and anchor, and the phrase “Hope anchors the soul—Hebrews 6:19.”

The mural had reportedly been created by a former art teacher four years ago and none had complained—until now.

“The district violates the Constitution when it allows schools to display religious symbols or messages,” FFRF’s letter read. “Public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion.”

“This religious display is particularly inappropriate given that about 35% of those born after 1981 are not religious,” it asserted. “The display alienates those nonreligious students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school.”

The organization therefore asked that the mural be removed so as to adhere to a neutrality toward religion.

The same day after receiving the letter, Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Jody Balch advised via email that the school was working on painting over the display. It was covered within 24 hours.

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