'Messiah' moves from school to church — for now

Leaders of the interfaith performance of Handel's "Messiah," held in a school and backed by Holladay, have been battling red tape after a Washington, D.C., group complained about a conflict of church and state.

The event, which brought together people from different faiths to sing a popular Christian oratorio known for its "Hallelujah" chorus, has been at Olympus High School in Granite School District the past two years.

"Messiah," created in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, is the story of Jesus' life and is frequently performed for Easter and Christmas concerts.

In 2007, Holladay gave $500 from its arts council fund to underwrite the insurance for that year's performance. The city also hangs a large banner across 2300 East at 4520 South to announce the event, according to city manager Randy Fitts.

Granite District and Holladay each received a complaint letter in February and September from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The group is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation "as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans."

The Holladay City Council voted last winter to stop supporting the "Messiah" group, Fitts said.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com