A school district in Florida plans to ban religious advertisements after a man requested permission to hang a satanic banner in the district area.
“Any banners from religious organizations currently on district-operated schools will be phased out as those business partnership agreements come up for renewal,” says a statement from Palm Beach County public schools.
School administrators are presenting a proposal to board members this week, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“The purpose of this policy is to develop guidelines for schools to recognize their business partners through the display of fence screens￼ without negative impact to the District,” the policy proposal states. “Any logo, business name or any other information included on a screen￼￼￼￼ or banner shall not contain any offensive, obscene or religious symbol￼￼￼ or message.”
Certain businesses and organizations would be unable to advertise on school property.
“Examples of inappropriate￼￼ business partners include but are not limited to: religious affiliated ￼￼organizations; churches; organizations promoting or supporting￼￼ agnostic or atheist beliefs; satanic-affiliated organizations; persons￼￼ seeking political office; political causes and organizations promoting or￼￼ supporting political causes, or controversial subjects,” the policy states. It needs approval by the school board.
In November, the school district temporarily banned religious ads at Boca Raton High School.
As a piece in Patheos.com noted, “Last October, satanic activist Chaz Stevens noticed that the fences surrounding Boca Raton High School had banners promoting a Jewish temple and a local church, among other advertisements. The religious groups must have applied for the space and paid the requisite fee, and the Palm Beach County public school administrators signed off on it.”
“Naturally, then, Stevens applied to put his own advertisement right next to theirs,” Patheos reported.
Stevens wanted to hang a satanic banner for the “Church of Satanology and Perpetual Soiree” on a chain-link fence near Boca Raton High School, according to reports. The church, “a venture by Chaz Stevens,” is part of an advocacy group called the Religious Liberty Project, according to the Satanology church’s website.
“The Religious Liberty Project is an advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of speech and religion, especially the separation of Church and State,” the website states. “We believe in equal rights for all, with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.”
Stevens allegedly asked to hang a controversial banner to make a point.
“If I was a Christian or Jewish organization, we wouldn’t be talking right now,” Steven told the Palm Beach Post.
“For years, churches, synagogues and other religious groups had been able to pay to display promotional banners at the county’s more than 180 public schools,” The Palm Beach Post reported.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation — an advocacy organization that pushes for the separation of church and state — has said the school district is illegally promoting religion.