YMCA Banned from Posting Fliers on Campus

( [email protected] ) Dec 11, 2003 10:02 AM EST

A school district in Bakersfield, Calif., banned the YMCA from distributing its fliers to children and posting them campus.

The Bakersfield California reports that the reason why the school district banned the YMCA from posting its fliers is that the school officials were concerned of violating “separation of church and state” because the organization put "Christian principles into practice."

The report says that the controversy began three weeks ago after a parent complained to Panama-Buena Vista Union School District about Salvation Army poster asking for clothing donations because it sounded the organization was promoting Christian values.

Since the poster didn't mention the group's Christian mission, it was accepted. However the school district became sensitive over other possible violations regarding “separation of church and state.” The YMCA’s promotional basketball-camp fliers included “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build spirit, mind and body for all,” which captured more attention from the school district.

The school district offered to possible choices: either delete the Christian reference or stop distributing the fliers.

The YMCA chose to stop distributing the fliers because they believe it is not right to conceal its Christian-based mission. The YMCA is taking its path more toward as a Christian organization.

The YMCA stopped emphasizing Christianity as much for a while but about four years ago CEO John Bagala encouraged Kern County chapter of the YMCA to return to its Christian roots, how it used to be when he started the organization.

"We're not going to take our fliers and revamp them without the mission statement on it. It's always going to be on there," Bagala said.

Bagala vowed to emphasize Christianity by spelling out the organizatoin’s name - Young Men's Christian Association on every flier.