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
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.