Following a resident’s protest, several Wisconsin public school districts have cancelled performances by an evangelical Christian bodybuilders group.
In late January, Jefferson County resident John Foust started contacting school district officials to express his concern about “The Power Team.” He had perused the group’s Web site and was quickly convinced that the performances were inappropriate for a public school.
All five school districts that were planning to allow the Power Team performances at high schools during the school day cancelled the performances, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Superintendent Mike Swartz told the newspaper that the appearance at his school was cancelled because the district “didn’t want to cross the line on separation of church and state.”
The Power Team, a Texas-based group made up of more than 20 athletes, has convinced public schools nationwide to allow the group’s performances. The group’s feats-of-strength performances include bending steel and smashing stacks of concrete blocks and other items.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has kept tabs on the group’s actions for years and has been able to persuade school districts to bar their performances, arguing that the group’s intent is to proselytize in the public schools.
The group’s Web site states that its mission is, “To reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ which an ordinary church meeting and event cannot. Drawing people through the use of performing visually explosive and spectacular feats of strength by incredible athletes who share with them the life-changing message of the cross.”