Jesus Wants You to Kill All Infidels… Says 7th Grader Doing His Homework

Here’s a bad idea for an assignment If you’re teaching a history class: Draw a recruitment poster to enlist soldiers who can fight in the Crusades. You’re only asking for trouble…

Here’s a hilarious idea if you’re a student: Draw a picture of Jesus (a la Uncle Sam) saying “I want you to kill all infidels!”

Here’s a really bad idea if you’re the school: Display that poster so everyone can see it.

That’s what went down at Hamilton Elementary School in Central Fresno, California:

In the picture, you can see a man wearing a Jesus name tag, with the caption, “I want you to kill all infidels.” Below, the phrases: “meet me in Jerusalem” and “get a free ticket to heaven.” The artwork is one of several drawings in a display case inside the main lobby at Hamilton Elementary.

It might be a reference to Luke 19:27:

But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me.

(Edit: Joe Zamecki points out that Jesus was quoting someone else in that passage. My apologies for the error.)

In any case, some parents are freaking out.

Parent, Chris Alfaro said, “I do believe common sense tells you, hey this may not be appropriate for a k through 8 school, right in the main lobby where each child passes on their way to school and home.” Chris Alfaro is Christian and has a second-grade daughter at Hamilton. His wife first noticed the drawing in early March. But according to him, when she called the office to complain, no one made an effort to address her concerns. He claims, “The aide said something along the lines of I’ll see what I can do, and then hung up the phone.”

“The picture itself I feel goes against everything Christianity stands for.”

Because, as we all know, Christianity would never be associated with anything evil… (The Crusades were Islamic, right?)

Isn’t that one of the purposes of the assignment, though? To show that a religion that constantly claims to be a good, kind, moral faith was once used for evil? (Hell, it’s still used for evil now — just ask anyone who’s LGBT. Or female. Or supports church/state separation. Or accepts science. Or… you get the idea.) Anyway, maybe that conversation is beyond the reach for a 7th grade class, but the poster doesn’t strike me as offensive. It’s only displaying something from the Bible that most pastors never want to talk about.

What do the other posters look like, anyway? How do you recruit for a religious war without bringing religion into it?

(Thanks to Heather 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500163078 K Douglas Horseman

    Hang on, their debate is whether it’s either “sacrilegious or just a harmless classroom assignment” as if those are the only two possibilities? How about not sacrilegious but still harmful? How about harmful whether it’s sacrilegious or not? Wow. Just…wow.

    • matt

       Who is it harming?  I think as far as the assignment was concerned, he did a pretty good job.  Kind of funny, actually.

      • Glasofruix

        I agree

  • Cindy

    I hope the student got an “A” on his assignment! It cracks me up that parents want it taken down because it’s sacrilegious….christianity never had the goal of killing infidels!

    • Baby_Raptor

      Nah, that’s all old Testament. And you know the rules there…Ignore everything but lip service to the 10 Commandments and kill gays. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/LyzandraOO1 Lyzandra Daria

    The kid gets an C+.   Crusaders went for ‘free’ land.  Common practice at the time for inheritance to be only for the 1st born son.  Any subordinate sons were disinherited unless the 1st born son didn’t survive to inherit.  Without other opportunities (and, IMO, a particularly odious method of birth control), the Crusades gave young men an opportunity to get land and get temporal forgiveness of sins already forgiven (but not forgotten).

    • unclemike

      They may have personally gone for “free land,” but wasn’t the main reason because the Muslims at the time had cut off access to Jerusalem to Xtians? And doesn’t this poster address that?

      I’d say “A.”

      • Stev84

        There were several crusades spanning several centuries. The Christians conquered Jerusalem in the first one already. The immediate goal was to stop Muslim encroachment on the Byzantine Empire. The Pope then used that in an attempt to increase religiosity and of course his own power. Appealing to people’s piety by telling them they need to conquer Jerusalem was just a means to and end.

    • Nunya Bidness

      According to the history  that I have heard, history that examined the Crusades afresh in the late 20th century, the Crusades were fought because the arms dealers whipped up public outcry in order to sell more weapons and armor.

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    I would love to know what the point of this assignment was.

  • http://twitter.com/SwamiHenderson Swami Henderson

    I am not an atheist, but I think this kid’s work is extremely creative and well done.
    A+

  • TiltedHorizon

    Absolute hilarity. The same people who would not bat an eye at putting up prayers banners in schools are offended by an image of JC hanging on a wall. All of a sudden the idea that schools should be free of religion makes a bit more sense. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheRiotActNYC The Riot Act

    I hate to be the snarky type, but this kid did exactly what he was asked, and produced something historically accurate. If my (hypothetical) child was given this assignment, I’d hope he’d have the intellectual clarity to produce something like this. Whether or not the child is fully cognizant of what this means doesn’t even really matter, because at least as he/she matures there would be the foundation of what getting into Heaven might entail. It would only take a minimal amount of fostering reason in the child’s mind to produce the faculty of critical thought in this child’s mind; he’s already half way there.

    I get that the focus isn’t so much on the child as it is on the school to give this assignment. Well, good. This is precisely what happens when religion is flippantly introduced into a classroom–particularly at a young age. When some of the atheist spokespeople say that religions in a historical context should be taught in schools, I think this type of outcome needs to be factored in. As it is, our history lessons taught to the younger grades are very Disney-fied, and there are few efforts to dispel that in later years.

    • Persephonides

      With all due respect to teachers and schools, you may have to find out the non-Disney aspects of history on your own. They didn’t teach me in grade school–or high school–about Warren Harding’s extramarital affairs, Grover Cleveland’s out-of-wedlock child, how James Buchanan’s ex-fiancee killed herself after he shot her new boyfriend in a duel, or how Abraham Lincoln had his dead son Willie dug up (twice) so he could look at him again. Or just what riding someone out of town on a rail and tarring and feathering them (like some of our fine patriots did to Loyalists during the American Revolution) entails. If this kid knows how hideous the Crusades really were at his age, good for him.

  • Ritch

    Hilarious.

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

    I love kids.  Absolutely no filter.  It’s brilliant.

  • Joe Zamecki

    This shows very clearly what religion is all about. Let the Christians face the music!

    BTW – Luke 19:27 was Jesus paraphrasing someone else. He was talking about a very mean person who was very harsh to other people, and in that exact verse, he’s speaking for the mean person. It wasn’t his opinion or his demand, it was Jesus talking about someone else’s demand.  Lots of Atheists get that wrong, but if you read the whole chapter, you’ll get it. Even though it’s poorly written in that respect. Like so much of that whole book.  Jesus is still a hella-jerk though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

      Then what, pray tell, is the point of the parable?  DON’T do what the bad man says and invest and work hard?   That ain’t the way it was explained to me in Sunday school.

      Your last line, though, yes.

      • Joe Zamecki

        No idea. I never heard this quote until I read it in Catholic school. I don’t remember anyone talking about it from the pulpit. I had to find it when I sat down to read the entire Bible – something I was never asked to do.

    • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

      As Chris also said, this is Jesus relating a parable. I’ve read the context; the only meaning I can discern for the last line of the parable is that God/Jesus will be completely intolerant of disobedience.

      …It’s telling that early Church father John Chrysostom used this verse to attack the Jews:

      Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: “But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them”.

      ~Eight Homilies Against the Jews, Homily 1

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Hi Joe, the parable clearly has the King as a placeholder for God.  As such, the quote still stands and the message is clear – worship me or die.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Talbot/1014919276 Scott Talbot

       Hey Joe!
      Did you happen to notice the person Jesus was paraphrasing was none other than his celestial Daddy, Yahweh his self? But of course since He and His father are one, then he was paraphrasing himself!

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” – John Adams

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tina-Loving/100001333023378 Tina Loving

    Thankfully, he doesn’t live near me.

    • http://twitter.com/m_ethaniel Mistletoe Ethaniel

      Care to elaborate on that, Ms. Loving?

  • Annie

    I love how Jesus is wearing a cross necklace… how prophetic!

    • Mark W.

       Maybe he’s Republican Jesus.

      • wright1

         There’s another kind?? /sarcasm

        • Mark W.

           There’s Zombie Jesus, Raptor Jesus, Baby Jesus in his tiny Tuxedo t-shirt and full beard, there’s Zombie Raptor Jesus (my personal favorite), there’s personal Jesus etc.

  • Nunya Bidness

    Killing the infidel is an automatic free ticket to heaven?  Where have I heard that before?

    Oh, yeah!  That is a (supposed) central tenet of Islam.  The same religion of the “infidels” who were the target of the Crusades.

    All other things aside, THAT should have gotten the kid a failing grade, not the honor of having his poster displayed for all to see.

    Hypocrite much, Xtians?

  • newavocation

    Just another example for our kids to follow. Like Washington cutting down the cherry tree. We will soon have kids pinning down blond hair gays and cutting off their hair just like President Mormon did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000014662263 Kathi Wise

    I wonder how many students made ads to promote the Magna Carta.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=546656285 Mike Funicelli

    Nearly 30 years ago, I was a grade school kid and our teacher thought it’d be fun to make a mock Salem witch hunt-style trial. I was somehow selected as “prosecutor” (I suspect because I was hyperactive with no attention span so perhaps a deliberate choice in the hopes that I’d do a poor job).

    Well, much to my teacher’s horror, I started slamming the defendant  for her inability to recite the Apostle’s Creed and Lord’s Prayer, which I had learned in Sunday School. The teacher cut the exercise abruptly short. If it had been Lord of the Flies, I would have had the kid under a slab and a pile of boulders!
    I have a feeling that had I been asked to make this poster that my finished product would look a lot like this. Not because I was religious, but probably because I saw the truth of what religion was and hadn’t the understanding of the subterfuge required in endorsing it.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

      Did that, teach the teacher? lol

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

    From the article:

    Rabbi Rick Winer with Temple Beth Israel said, “If we want to encourage people to learn the lessons of post Crusades or post Holocaust, I generally find it’s more effective to do it through images of peace as opposed to images of horror.”

    I guess the rabbi prefers that all of those disturbing, horrific pictures of dead Jews being bulldozed into mass graves be removed from Holocaust museums. After all, better to rely on the countless “images of peace” one can find about the Holocaust. In other words…”I wish people would stop reminding us about how dangerous religious thinking can be.”

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Like I said there, it’s a step up from 
    Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    (sorry, wrong thread)

  • Edmond

    It doesn’t matter if this is what Christianity is about.  It doesn’t matter if this is what Christianity teaches.  What matters is that this is what this kid has LEARNED about Christianity.  This kid’s knowledge about his religion came from the authoritative Christians in his life, and clearly there was never any point where they disabused him of this notion.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    Wonderful idea, i doubt even Dawkins could have come up with something better. This could be the start of something. Maybe we should all have a go at drawing something similar?

    • Jonathan

      Yeah! It could be an expansion to draw Muhammad Day, so it wouldn’t just be picking on Muslims

  • Mandie

    Did anyone else think of Eddie Money “Two Tickets to Paradise” when they saw this?  Except then I started singing it as
    “Free Tickets to Paradise”.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    Nice, wholesome “family values” there.  

  • Gunstargreen

    That assignment was asinine and this kid is a hero.

    I love how people are freaking out over truth.

  • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

    (Edit: Joe Zamecki points out that Jesus was quoting someone else in that passage. My apologies for the error.)

    Sort of.  Jesus is speaking in a parable about a King and how he treats his servants.  It is clear from the text that the King is a represents God, so the phrase still stands.

    “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” – Jesus, Luke 19:27

  • Erp

    Luke 19:11-27 is the whole parable, and, it is an odd parable indeed (if one sides with the king it seems to support usury).   The mainline churches don’t include it in the lectionary (the three year cycle of Sunday readings) so they probably feel uncomfortable with it.

  • Truth and Sanity

    This kid rocks.   He understands the bible and history much better than any of the complaining adults.  A++

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    His poster is absolutely appropriate for the assignment.  I recall seeing a medieval manuscript where a mounted Christ leads troops with a sword clenched between his teeth.  Probably inspired by the Book of Revelation.  I really hope the kid doesn’t draw any criticism for his work.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Just want to add that doing the assignment is one thing, posting it for all to view is another.  Rather a stunning assumption on the part of the teacher that no non-Christian students, staff, or visitors  would take offense.  Good for the Alvaros.


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