A high school football field has become a battleground for the fight over religion in schools.
An advertisement for Christ Fit Gym, which includes a Christian cross and the title of a bible verse was removed from the center of Benton High School’s football field. The owner of Christ Fit Gym, Billy Weatherall, paid $3,500 to have the advertisement placed on the field.
According to the Shreveport (La.) ABC affiliate, Benton High School removed the advertisement from the field because of school officials' concerns over separation of church and state.
Benton High School is currently in settlement talks in a lawsuit over prayer in school.
An attorney for the school board Jon Guice released the following statement regarding the removal of the logo:
"The Benton Football Booster Club recently sold advertising space on the Benton High School football field to a local business. The logo of the business included a Cross and Bible verse and was painted on the football field yesterday. A challenge to the logo was received from counsel for the plaintiffs in a pending federal lawsuit alleging improper endorsement of religion in the schools. The School Board's legal counsel advised the administration that the logo should be removed pending consultation with the Court, as alleged violations had just been discussed with the Court. The Bossier Parish School Board was unaware of the logo and has not met to discuss the issue. We understand that a lawsuit has been filed in state court challenging the removal of the logo and that a temporary restraining order has been signed against the Benton Football Booster Club. The Board is not named as a defendant in the suit and has not had an opportunity to discuss the allegations."
Weatherall has now launched a lawsuit of his own, claiming this is the beginning of a slippery slope. "It’s a slow fade. And I promise you, if I don’t stand up for this right now, it ain’t stopping with the logo on the field,” Weatherall told the local CBS affiliate. "They’ll be coming for ads next. They’ll be coming for what’s in the programs. It’s just not gonna stop right here, I promise you it will not stop with this.”
Guice said the Bossier Parish School Board is slated to take up the matter Tuesday at a closed door meeting.