Religious Message on Sidewalk


The LDS “Plan of Salvation”

Haley Jensen and Sirene Blair, Staff Writers

On the morning of February 20th, hundreds of Bingham students stepped over a giant chalk drawing as they headed into school. The drawing, titled “God’s Plan of Happiness,” illustrated Mormon beliefs on life and death. This detailed chart was signed by a group calling themselves “The Zion Society.”

The drawing mysteriously appeared the night before.

“I came to Bingham around 6:30 P.M. and nothing was there,” said assistant principal Mr. Chris Titus, “By the time I left school around 9:15 P.M., I noticed the drawing.”

The drawing managed to remain unnoticed by Principal Tom Hicks until later Wednesday morning.

“Oh, that needs to be removed immediately,” said Mr. Hicks upon learning of the drawing’s existence and content, “This is considered vandalism and is not appropriate on this property.”

The drawing itself did not convey a harmful intention or have a negative connotation. However, a school sidewalk is not the time or place to spout religious beliefs.

“There must be a separation of church and state,” said Mr. Hicks, “This is a state institution; we do not promote one religion over another.”

The people who allusively call themselves “The Zion Society” obviously did not get the school’s consent.

“If someone had come to me asking to do the chalk drawing, I would have said no,” said Mr. Titus.

An internet research revealed that The Zion Society is an official organization with a Twitter and Facebook page.  However, there may not even be a connection between the organization and the drawing. Most likely, a group of students got together and borrowed the name.

The main concern is that this display will offend others.

“Nobody has complained,” said Mr. Titus, “If it was offensive I’d worry about it, but it isn’t attacking anyone.”

There may not have been any complaints, but that does not mean that some people were not offended or confused by this religious display. The majority of Bingham students are LDS and probably did not give it a second thought. But from a minority perspective, this drawing could be insensitive and offensive.  If the words “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Quran 3:19), were written on the sidewalk, or a Star of David was drawn, imagine how many complaints would come pouring in.

If a student wants to wear a religious t-shirt, backpack, or button they can, because everyone has the freedom to express themselves. But in this case, freedom of speech went too far. By drawing on tax-supported school property where everyone can see, this group was forcing their beliefs on other people.

“You’re free to believe what you want, but leave it out of school and politics,” said senior Spencer Rathbun, “I’m Jewish, but I don’t lay it out on a platter for everyone.”