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D20 board director describes tenure on school board as a ‘spiritual battle’ at Christian event

Aaron Salt Close Up
Aaron Salt, ASD20 Board Director

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Last week at an evangelical Christian event in Colorado Springs, an Academy School District 20 Board Director described his time on the school board as a "spiritual battle."

On May 20, a number of political leaders throughout El Paso County and the state of Colorado attended the event titled “Hold The Line.” The lineup included Rep. Doug Lambourn, Rep. Lauren Boebert, El Paso County Commissioner Stan Vanderwerf, Colorado City Councilmember Dave Donelson, and D20 Board Director Aaron Sal. 

Someone who attended the "Hold The Line" event, who wishes to remain anonymous, provided 13 Investigates with a video of what was said on stage. The video shows Salt being introduced as an Academy School District 20 Board Director before speaking, making it clear who he is in the community.  

In the video, Salt described his time on the D20 board as a fight to represent his own values and asked people to pray for board members trying to hold onto Christian values. 

“This is a spiritual battle,” Salt said. “Make sure that we're covered in fairness, we go into fight for you and for your children.”

Salt went on to discuss the heated board meetings during public comments. The D20 board director said he doesn’t see people that disagree with his religious views as his “enemies.” Salt said he sees them as people who are hurting and they’re fighting for the things they believe in just like himself. 

“We know that we're not fighting against flesh and blood, but we're fighting against principalities and spirits,” Salt said at the Hold the Line event.  “We're seeing that actually manifests in some really interesting ways. We had two priests from the Satanic Temple come to our last door meeting. One of them explained what their organization was about. The other one had some prayer thing that they did during their public comments. And my first reaction was, wow, it's really cute that they think they have any authority or power here. We're striking a nerve. If you don't get that type of reaction. You're not doing something so we know that there's a mutual battle going on. We're winning that spiritual battle right now.” 

Still, Salt said he sees them as people who are hurting and who’re fighting for the things they believe in just like himself. 

This isn't the first time Salt has sparked controversy with religious comments and the separation of church and state in public schools.

Back in March, Salt, the newly elected D20 Board Director, read a quote from Benjamin Franklin aloud after the pledge of allegiance. The quote encourages a bible in every house.

Prior to the quote being read aloud, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote a letter to the Academy School District Board of Directors asking them not to recite the Benjamin Franklin quote at Thursday's meeting.

"Furthermore, including religious messages as part of school board meetings sends an exclusionary message that alienates non-Christian and non-religious members of the Colorado Springs community,” an attorney with FFRF wrote to the D20 Board in a letter. 

The letter goes on to say that reciting a religious quote during a board meeting is very similar to a prayer, which violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

13 Investigates reached out to the Academy School District 20 to speak to the latest comments made by Salt.

Below is a statement provided to 13 Investigates from the Academy School District 20 board of directors:

The Academy District 20 Board of Education respects the right of our directors to participate and speak in their individual capacity. While Mr. Salt is an elected member of the ASD20 Board of Education, he did not appear or speak on behalf of the board, nor the district, nor was he present in any official capacity at the Hold the Line event. His words were his own and do not represent the ASD20 Board nor ASD20. We apologize if there was any confusion regarding Mr. Salt's role at this event.  Tom LaValley, Board President, Academy School District 20

Board of Education President Mr. Tom LaValley
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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

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