Christian Strangers with Candy

What’s scarier: A stranger offering your child candy or a stranger offering your child candy and a Bible verse?

Kathleen Crowe says her nine-year-old daughter Angeline was playing in MacEwan park last week when she was approached by a couple from the Victory Christian Center who gave her candy and a Bible verse. Angeline was also promised more candy if she memorized the verse.

“What if the next person who offers her candy doesn’t have the same good intentions as the church? That’s always a fear in the back of every parents mind,” Crowe said.

Hmm… I’d be freaked out if the next person offering her candy had the same intentions as the people from the church.

It’s scary to think about either way.

As if the story wasn’t bad enough already, the Bible verse they handed out was in Comic Sans. (Why won’t they think of the children?!)

None of this is very surprising, though. This is what churches do — they go after kids who don’t know any better. Might as well brainwash them from the get-go.

(Thanks to Ashley for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anonymous

    You did notice that the church was given a permit to do (presumably) secular activities in the park and, surprise, surprise turned it into an opportunity to try to seduce children into their fucked up belief system?

    Maybe the authorities should have listened to your advice:

    We’re better off giving the money to secular agencies with leaders who can be held accountable for the responsibilities they’re tasked with…

  • Esther

    The funny thing is they don’t change their methods all that much as the prey gets older…Campus Crusade (I’m sorry, ”Cru”) used to offer free popsicles on hot days when I was in college.  Only hitch was you had to fill out a survey about your religious beliefs and tell them what dorm room you were in.  And of course they primarily stood in front of the freshman dorms.  And of course once they had your contact info they would harass you constantly.

    • Timothy

      That’s why you give them false information.  “Let’s see, I’m in room….(what room number is that guy I really don’t like?) 502.  My phone number is….(insert pizza hut number)

      • Bryan

        Hey, that’s what I did when Pizza Hut was offering their “free pizza with a ten page credit card application” deal.  But I’d rather be saddled with a high interest credit card than be indoctrinated with popsicles.

      • Bryan

        Hey, that’s what I did when Pizza Hut was offering their “free pizza with a ten page credit card application” deal.  But I’d rather be saddled with a high interest credit card than be indoctrinated with popsicles.

  • Anonymous

    Btw, the report misquotes the parent. She says in the video “What if the next person who offers her candy doesn’t have the same intentions as the church? That’s always a fear in the back of every parents mind.” She doesn’t call the church’s intentions “good,” she just assumes that their intention was not to kidnap or sexually molest her child.

    • Volunteer

      Not necessarily a good assumption to hold.

  • T-Rex

    Maddening. Neither of those “prizes” are healthy for kids.  They’re lucky it wasn’t my kid and me that they did this too or they would have gotten an ear full. I haven’t met a fundy yet that will stay and debate with me after I call them out on thier beliefs and their little hand book. For some reason they dislike when you point out all of  the inconsistencies and immoral things in their ancient manuscripts.  

    • Edmonton88

      Lol, be scared of T Rex! He’s an intelligent atheist!? Lolz

  • Surgoshan

    Don’t get in the church van!

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Because it will roll over and kill you.

  • Tortuga Skeptic

    My son is 8 and watched this with me, one more reason he doesn’t like this type of religion.  Hey Victory church, this behavior is just plain creepy.   Did you notice at the end how their comment was to say that ‘this’ was taking away from all the positive stuff they do and how the news anchor advertised it for them?  Those poor Christians are always getting picked on, right.

  • Sailor

    I suspect the outrage would be a lot more universal if an atheist gave candy to a kid and asked them to memorize “you can be good without god”

  • Dea Emberg

    I live in the same area this happened in and was appalled when it was reported in the news. I think it is awful to proselyte to kids you don’t know. It is scary, disrespectful, and just outright wrong. I was taught as a kid to NEVER accept candy from strangers – and here this church is – handing out candy to kids they don’t know. I shouldn’t have to worry about protecting my kids from religion at the park!

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    Of all the hair-brained, idiotic, foolish and just plain wrong crap these churches do, this pisses me off the most.  They are happily and willfully violating both the child and their parent’s right.  They claim discrimination when science is taught in science classes because they should be in control of what their children are exposed to, but then completely disregard that philosophy in order to foist on children something that they imagine to be correct while in a public place.

    Of course I understand and accept that their speech in that venue is protected, but to abuse that privilege to tempt children to their ideology with the promises of earthly pleasures?  Does that sound like their man Jesus, or another biblical figure they like to bring up when it suits them?

    In case anyone doesn’t get it, they are using a tasty treat to convince innocents into their way of life.  Like the serpent.  The one from their bible.  The bad one.

    I’m saying they’re the devil.

  • mthrnite

    Hi, we’re Christians, and because we’re Christians, we can do anything we want and it’s not considered improper because we’re Christians. We’re going to bribe your 9 year old with candy now, but that’s ok because we host Christmas dinners and give out backpacks to students and did we mention, we’re Christians, so it’s ok.

    • http://twitter.com/meyekael Meyekael

      In other words: We don’t care what other people want, we don’t have to. We’re Christians.

  • Anonymous

    Some Christians are just creepy.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Some?

      • Anonymous

        Well .  Yeah.  Maybe most, I don’t know as I haven’t met them all.  Some at least are OK even if they do believe is some pretty weird things.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          I’ve met very few that aren’t totally creepy — they happen to be family, so… yay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joequincy Jon Peterson

    What disturbs me most is that everyone seems to be claiming that “Victory Christian Church has offered the program”.

    They didn’t “offer” it any more than Facebook “offered” Beacon to users. They forced it. It was an opt-out-only deal. The news story should reflect that.

  • AM

    A fundamentalist baptist group were making the rounds in our Dallas neighbourhood. They stopped my son in the street, handed him information on the sins of homosexuality, asked him his name and where he lived, and asked him to pray with them. A neighbourhood friend, who’s father-in-law happens to be a baptist minister has told her his church had banned handing out this kind of information to children because of the “adult” content in the pamphlets. I called the local police department to complain and all I got was that unless I believed my son was physically in danger there was nothing wrong with what these people were doing, but if I was truly unhappy, that I should call the church and “ask” them not to approach our neighbourhood children. So apparently it’s okay to obtain personal information from young children out in the neighbourhood without parental approval, because they say they’re members of a church and just happen to have pieces of printed paper talking about Jesus? Sorry but I grew up in the era of the Moonies. Saying you believe in God means nothing!

  • Anonymous

    Flippin’ eck! If they had tried this in some of the parks in UK, they would have been taken apart. Not to do with religion (because we’re pretty apathetic on that score – thankfully) but approaching other peoples children with sweeties??? Na ah, they would have been ground into the mud under the wheels of single mums ‘strollers’, assisted by the cheap ‘sneakers’ of potential & possible fathers and handily available empty beer bottles -  and the last sound on earth for them would have been a steady stream of Anglo Saxon!
     
    In the ‘nicer’ parks the Police would have been called and their church would be sued for mental and emotional distress.
     
    Sometimes I’m so proud of us *sigh*.

  • Anonymous

     Just as bad if it was the Pledge of Allegiance with or without candy.

  • Andrea37mi

    Here is a link to leave comments to the pastor of that church and his wife -
    http://www.my-pastor.com/pastor-cal-jan-switzer-comment-form.htmlHave at it!

  • Andrea37mi

    Here is a link to leave comments for the pastor of that church-

    http://www.my-pastor.com/pastor-cal-jan-switzer.html
    At the bottom is a link to leave comments.

  • Annie

    “Thou shall not steal… from the pedophile playbook.”

  • GregFromCos

    This is another case that emphasizes the fact that most Christians are just horrible at “empathy”. If the group were Muslim, handing out Candy and asking the children to learn Quran verses, what would their reaction be?

    Why is it they can’t see the benefits of a secular society? Empathy is really not that hard to practice… It just further demonstrates the level of intellectual dishonesty many of the religious live with.

  • 1002things

    Funny

    • 1002things

      Apparently the Internet is too advanced for me.

      I find this funny, only because I read so much about “Christians” (which I realize has many nuances and subgroups) going on about how they have the right to not have homosexuality “forced” on their children. But forcing Christianity on kids in a park in a super creepy manner? That’s okay? Yay logic!

  • Anonymous

    They always use the same bible verse! 

  • Jeni

    This happened to me, but it was the Gideons in front of my child’s school handing out bibles. They have a legal right to do so, but I also have a right to stand there and tell the children they shouldn’t take things from strangers. Who did the principal get made at? Me — he even called the district superintendent to complain (who rightly told him I had as much right). My bf suggested we do exactly what another poster suggested — pass out a paper with websites for atheism and science… we didn’t, but it’s tempting…

  • Marguerite

    Ugh. That is just disturbing. Strangers handing out candy to kids for ANYTHING is creepy.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Scary. This is just another example of evangelicals attempting to convert young children from non-Christian families. Similar tactics include Bus Ministries (which troll poor neighborhoods inviting children to church) and Good News Clubs (which try to entice children in public school to stay after hours for Bible lessons).

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Testamints
    “Pass the Word”

  • Stephen Ro

    Did anyone notice the random political correctness at the end — about how the church hands out free backpacks and celebrates christmas? That’s sad integrity.

  • cipher

    As Anna points out, the Good News Clubs have been doing this in schools for years (also with candy, because kids just lose it for sugar). People just aren’t aware of it.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    As GregFromCos wrote, I wonder how they would react if a Muslim person walked up to their kids and offered them candy for memorizing a Qur’an verse?

    They can hand out candy and Bible verses if they want, but they should expect that people are going to have a negative view about intentionally approaching kids and trying to trick/bribe them, instead of actually making a good argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Natalie-A-Sera/743004321 Natalie A. Sera

    I taught in a public high school, and one December, the Christian club was handing out candy canes with “jesus loves you” messages attached. I found one in my box, and went to the principal to complain. He found absolutely nothing wrong with it, and thought I was making a big deal over nothing.  I find it appalling that the administrators of schools are ignorant of the principle of separation of church and state! And I know he didn’t like me much after that.

    • Surgoshan

      The Christian Club doing that?  No problem.  The school doing that?  Violation of the wall.  A student taping a picture of a Christmas tree to his locker?  Fine.  The school putting a tree in the lobby?  Not fine.

  • notURgod

    Don’t worry kids, heaven has a great dental plan.

  • notURgod

    Seriously though, what if one of those children had diabetes? or an allergy? Does the bible verse also come with an insulin shot? My niece is allergic to peanuts, but is too young to understand the danger. If you offered her a peanut butter cookie she wouldn’t say no. I can’t imagine what I would do if one of these victory idiots tried to give her a snickers bar.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure which is worse, scaring the holy crap out of children with stories of everlasting damnation and other such shit, OR bribery and slick sales techniques usually used by marking companies, either way it seems very unholy.
    The whole faith schools issue is under debate in the UK at the moment, I believe it should be illegal to indoctrinate a young mind, just as with alcohol and porn they should allow the child to grow up before introducing noxious thoughts.

  • Drew M.

    What would Roman Polanski do?


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