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ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an Indiana high school recently removed a church banner from its football stadium. The FFRF suggested that the banner was unconstitutional because it included an ad for the church on public school property. The pastor of the church noted that they will continue to support the school and the surrounding community despite the removal of the banner.

By Jardine Malado

12/18/2017 United States (Christian Times) – A school in Indiana has taken down a banner advertising a local church from a county football stadium after receiving a complaint from a Wisconsin-based secularist organization.

In a letter to district superintendent Lisa Lantrip earlier this month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) called for the removal of a banner that read “I can do all things — Dragons Football” from the New Palestine High School’s football stadium.

The secularist group argued that the banner was unconstitutional because a substantial portion of the display included a prominent advertisement for a local church.

Lantrip had acknowledged that the banner displayed a logo for Real Life Church, which had sponsored the school’s football team. She said that the district had decided to take down the banner after receiving the letter from FFRF.

The school hung the banner to show appreciation for the church’s donation to the football program, Lantrip said, according to Greenfield Daily Reporter. She contended that it was not unusual for the district to highlight businesses that sponsor athletic programs, adding that the Community Hospital also had a banner hanging at the stadium.

FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne said that the school is allowed to accept donations from churches, but it cannot advertise the church or its message without violating the separation of church and state.

“New Palestine High School may not decorate its stadium with religious displays or church advertisements,” Jayne wrote.

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