Pastor Gets Banned From School Lunchroom

Here’s yet another situation where a school gave a youth pastor access to their school cafeteria to act as a volunteer supervisor and had them decide to start proselytizing instead. Only this time, the students spoke up and got him thrown out for it.

A youth mentor from Salem Heights Church was barred from volunteering at Straub Middle School after a student accused him of promoting Christianity and insulting her for being an atheist.

The school’s principal, Laura Perez, said that Tim Saffeels, the church’s director of student ministries, will not be allowed back as a volunteer for the remainder of the school year…

Saffeels denied the accusations. He said he sat down at a lunch table on Oct. 23 with a student who belonged to the same church when the students started asking him about religion.

“I wasn’t in any way trying to force any of those things,” Saffeels said. “They actually did literally ask me ‘Who is Jesus?’ ”

But some Straub students said Saffeels was making them feel uncomfortable.

“He said imagine this scenario. All of us are in a van and we’re driving somewhere and we get hit by two drunk drivers and we all die. What happens next?” said eighth-grader Sarina Keightley.

Eighth-grader Shelby Conway wrote an email to the principal asking that the volunteer not return.

In the email, she said that Saffeels asked students for their religious beliefs and then insulted her after she revealed that she was atheist.

She wrote in the letter that the volunteer told her that atheism is “wrong,” “bad,” “stupid” and “evil.”

“I was very uncomfortable and personally offended with the way he was speaking to both me and other non-Christians around the lunch room,” Conway wrote. “I request that we keep things like this, such as pastors and religious speeches, in places where they are welcomed, such as churches or religious schools.”

Saffeels denied saying those comments about atheism to the student.

His claim that it was all okay because the students asked him first is ridiculous. First, it doesn’t matter at all. If a student started asking him about his sex life, would he be okay to talk about it? Of course not. The responsible way to handle it is to say that it isn’t appropriate for him to discuss religion in that context. Secondly, he was at a table full of kids. Even if one kid — a member of his church, by the way — started asking him about it, that doesn’t mean the others are interested. He should have said, “Ask me in church this Sunday.” And walked away.

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  • raven

    She wrote in the letter that the volunteer told her that atheism is “wrong,” “bad,” “stupid” and “evil.”

    Well, that does it!!! I’m convinced!!! I’m going back to xianity.

    This youth pastor doesn’t sound very bright, to say the least.

    Saffeels denied saying those comments about atheism to the student.

    And no one believed him. Apparently there were too many witnesses and he is lying. It’s all very xian.

  • Michael Heath

    “[Tim Saffeels, the church’s director of student ministries] said imagine this scenario. All of us are in a van and we’re driving somewhere and we get hit by two drunk drivers and we all die. What happens next?” said eighth-grader Sarina Keightley.

    Hell-believing Christians face at least a handful of conundrums. A primary objection that I have with them is how dishonest they are when confronting these conundrums.

    When it comes to church-state matters I object to their hypocritically waving the flag while falsely proclaiming that they are the sole defenders of our constitutionally protected rights. That when they instead continually attempt and in this case use the power of government to proselytize.

    They’d have more moral credibility if they openly conceded their purposeful propensity to unconstitutionally infringe on others’ rights. That they do so because they believe it’s more important to save people from eternal suffering, even if it means unconstitutionally infringing on the rights of others. Their attempting to have it both ways does not reflect well on them.

    I’m not claiming that Mr. Safeels is one of those “conservative Constitutionalists”. Instead he appears to simply lie about his proselytizing given that I conclude the students who objected demonstrate trustworthiness while Mr. Safeels does not. I’m just pointing out the popular method such proselytizers use to preemptively claim to support two contradictory positions.

    On this matter the group of conservative Christians who don’t demonstrate cognitive dissonance are a subset of Christian reconstructionists. That’s those who openly advocate abandoning the protection of our religious freedom and advocate for a new constitution. There are very few in this subset.

  • Trebuchet

    So the student asking questions was a member of his church? Of which he’s the youth pastor, meaning he probably has frequent contact with the student, at the church? And we’re supposed to believe the student just spontaneously asked the question without advance prompting? If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge or three for sale…

  • John Pieret

    From the article:

    Saffeels said he volunteers at schools to build relationships with students, not to promote Christianity.

    Riiiight! We all believe that, don’t we?

  • ursamajor

    “They actually did literally ask me ‘Who is Jesus?’”

    That all by itself tells me Saffeels is lying.

    As far as the scenario of dying when run over by 2 drunk drivers does that mean it was one of those drivers ed cars with 2 sets of controls and both the instructor and student were drunk? And does that mean there are different after lifes depending on how you die?

  • Kevin Kehres

    No kid ever would ask a question about Jesus in the present tense. No adult, either, other than those gifted in the art of bafflegab, aka Christian theology.

  • Doc Bill

    The comment thread on that news article is interesting, so far as those things go. It’s fairly evenly split between the Bible thumpers who demonstrate ignorance of the law and science (not surprising) and normal parents who just want to be left alone. The pushback against commenters lobbying for Christian privilege is refreshing.

    I am impressed, too, at the confidence of the 8th grader to stand up and speak her mind. I suspect that most of the students that Pastor Tim has encountered during his public school ministry have been more compliant.

  • chilidog99

    Trebuchet @3, On the other hand, those kids could have spotted that this guy was a self-righteous phony and set him up for the fail

    THis guy sounds like a clueless substitute teacher.

  • matty1

    Who is supposed to have asked the question anyway? The girl who apparently attended his church but waited till lunchtime at school to ask who he was banging on about every Sunday?

  • grasshopper

    This episode proves that atheism is a religion: PastorUnfairianism.

    Don’t ask me for the source.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.criley jason the cripple

    So this student, who he says goes to his church, has no idea who Jesus is? Are you kidding me? Of course this was a set up so he could proselytize to the other students at the table.

  • lorn

    The Christians have their answer. They have used it before. ‘Teach the controversy’.

    Q: What happens after we die?

    A: There are several different answers. Some of them are 1, 2, 3 …

    Q: What do Christians believe?

    A: They believe in an afterlife … but we can cover that in detail on Sunday.

  • eric

    to act as a volunteer supervisor

    Dude, why couldn’t you just play on your phone and ignore the kids, like a regular adult?

  • anubisprime

    “They actually did literally ask me ‘Who is Jesus?’”

    Someone has been reading and getting sweaty and breathless over chick tracts by the shape of it!

    It seems you can always tell an xtian is lying because they revert to simplistic kindergarten subjectivity in their language.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Trebuchet @3: I was going to make the same point. Totally spontaneous and not at all agreed to beforehand.