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For week ended March 12, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 08Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Evangelical Group Uses Schools To Undermine LDS Church
(Religious Group Under Scrutiny)
Albuquerque NM Journal (AP) 6Mar00 D6
The Associated Press

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO -- An evangelical Christian group drew fire from parents in Santa Fe, New Mexico last weekend for using public school property to tell students that Mormons and Unitarians are not Christians. The group, Impact World Tour, travels the world promoting its Christian message, which includes warnings against groups that it considers not Christian.

Typically, the group provides a non-religious anti-drug and anti-gang pep rally for students during school hours, sometimes encouraging the students to attend a religious rally they hold in the evening, generally in the same gym, which they rent from the school. During the evening rally, one of the messages the group gives is that those attending should avoid the LDS Church and several other churches that the group says are not Christian.

However, in Santa Fe, New Mexico after the group held its non-religious pep rally during school hours on Friday, one parent complained about the group's message, and eventually called the American Civil Liberties Union because of it. The parent, Mimi Roberts, says that the group's intolerance of others should keep it out of school facilities, "I'm definitely someone who believes in the separation of church and state," says Roberts.

The group's director, Derek Vaksdal, says that the group doesn't misrepresent itself and doesn't talk about religion during daytime events in the schools. And Santa Fe school district superintendent

Veronica Garcia says she doesn't have any "solid proof" that the group was putting down other religious groups. However, a flier distributed to students after the evening rally last week does tell youth to avoid certain churches, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

In response to the ACLU's complaint, the school district says it will take a closer look at religious groups that rent school space for events., Current policy prohibits the use of school space by groups that preach intolerance. Impact World Tour has rallies planned for Las Cruces, New Mexico this week before it heads to Norway for religious events there.


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