Americans United has successfully derailed a Texas public school assembly featuring an evangelistic group known for preaching to youngsters.
Commandos! USA bills itself as an “educational and inspirational” ensemble of body builders who perform feats of strength, but it is overtly religious and incorporates Christian evangelism into its programs. The group regularly performs at “crusades and evangelistic rallies” and its Web site states, “[W]e strive to be true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Commandos! USA was set to perform at a Laredo middle school when Americans United’s Legal Department got a complaint from a concerned citizen. AU sent a letter to Salvador Garcia Middle School’s principal and the district’s superintendent, informing them that allowing the group to perform would violate the separation of church and state.
“A religious group, like any other group, may be allowed to present a secular message to public-school students; but it may not abuse its access to students by proselytizing students or encouraging them to attend religious events outside school,” the letter said.
The Feb. 27 letter asked that the event either be canceled or that steps be taken to ensure religious messages were excluded from the program. The school district responded two days later with news that the assembly had been canceled.
In recent years, Americans United has blocked several evangelistic groups from appearing in public schools.