From the Minnesota Monitor, a Christian ministry called “When You Can Run But You Cannot Hide” has been doing anything it can to get in front of a group of public school students, at which point they unleash condemnations on homosexuality and evolution.
A lot of administrators haven’t caught on and continue inviting the group to speak to their schools:
[Group founder Bradlee] Dean’s ministry may not believe in the separation of church and state, but they seem well aware that public school administrators do. And they have repeatedly run afoul of school officials and students in recent years for promising to run a program on abstinence and drug abuse, and mentioning God only when in front of students. And by doing so, they’ve been able to earn thousands of dollars per event from public schools that later express surprise about the group’s brand of hardline Christianity.
In addition to gloating about the 100,000+ religious tracts his group has passed out in public high schools, Dean also made this comment at a recent ministry fundraiser:
His speech compared the teaching of evolution to the ideology of Hitler, claimed that drugs to treat depression and ADD were “more potent than cocaine” and called the pope “a devil disguised as a minister of righteousness.”
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, the guy who refused to remove the Ten Commandments monument from his state courthouse, was a speaker at the fundraiser.
What’s the reaction like after they perform their duplicitous show?
Here’s one principal who made the mistake of inviting them and now regrets it:
“They had a captive audience for their message, and that wasn’t right,” said Benton Principal Gary Neis… Neis later would call an assembly to apologize to students for the group’s decision to stray into religion.
“They talked about influencing and brainwashing people. Be wise to the fact that is what they were doing. They were using the same tactics,” Neis told the students.
Just to clarify, students can be religious all they want. They just can’t have religion forced upon them by an authority figure.
According to the [Tennessee] Oak Ridger, “[Roane County High School] Principal Jody McLoud apologized for any controversy or heartache the assembly generated. In addition to homosexuality, race and obesity, the materials reportedly also included such topics as suicide, drugs and premarital sex.”
“They encouraged bigotry and hate-mongering toward children that may not share their religious beliefs or who are struggling to find an identity or self-esteem,” said Laura Dailey, a parent of a Roane County High student… The school district was forced to deal with the controversy by reiterating its policy that “forbids religious statements in schools.”
Yet another principal:
“I can tell you, I wasn’t happy.” [one unnamed principal] said, according to the Pantagraph. “I’m extremely disappointed,” he told the students. “Not in you, but that I allowed this.”
He added, “I felt like the kids got cheated.”
And, what the heck, here’s one more person who sat through their presentation:
“It seemed like total propaganda. It was like a cult. They were trying to get kids who can’t think for themselves to think like them,” said Amy Deitcher, then a high school junior, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
According to Deitcher, girls and boys were segregated during the presentation, and the girls were “presented with a ‘treasure chest’ theory in which they were told that any sort of physical contact with a man before marriage would result in a woman becoming ‘leftovers’ for her husband.
How much taxpayer money does the group get for this seminar on Christian fundamentalism?
In 2005, they were “paid $2500 to perform for three school districts.”
Reporter Jeff Fecke concludes with these wonderfully-worded paragraphs:
While Dean and his followers may not believe in the separation of church and state, the vast majority of Americans, including the vast majority of American Christians, do. We may not always agree on where the line should be drawn, but most of us agree that we don’t want our schools pushing a religious message; as parents, that’s our responsibility, in accord with our own religious views and our church, if we have one.
That’s not just to protect a small minority of liberal atheists, either. While Dean feels he is justified in using public money to bring the gospel into the school, he may be forgetting that when the public pays your bills, it gets get a veto on your message.
(Thanks to Bjorn for the link!)
[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian, fundamentalist, homosexuality, Jesus[/tags]