In the South, Jewish Students Have to Deal with Excessive Christian Proselytizing

The (excellently-named) website Jews On First has a lengthy piece on how Jewish students in the South suffer at the hands of overzealous Christian proselytizers in public schools:

One parent relates how his son would eat breakfast in the school cafeteria when a group of athletes would come in and “perform” for the students. “They would basically lift weights for about 30 minutes,” then go to the microphone and “announce that Christ helped them become athletes. After five or 10 minutes of sermon, they would pray and leave,” but meanwhile the students eating breakfast were not allowed to leave the cafeteria and were obviously a captive audience with no option to “not hear.”

Rose refers to these situations as “stealth evangelism”…

Indeed, according to Rabbi Greene, one of the largest evangelical churches in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, even provides literature to its young members about “how to approach your Jewish friends.” He calls the effort “love bombing.”

A lot of the stories mentioned parallel what atheist students have faced in the South as well. When you’re in the minority there, Christians tend to paint a target on your back. To them, you’re just someone who needs to be converted, not respected.

In addition to being pressured by proselytizers, the article also notes the difficulties for Jewish students trying to take days off of school for religious holidays.

(via Religion Clause)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • C Peterson

    Given that there are many fewer Jews in the U.S. than atheists, we should all be able to sympathize with the uncomfortable position they find themselves in.

    Jews should find themselves attracted to secularist movements every bit as much as most atheists.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      I was just about to post the same point…. 
      Yes, we should network with Jews (and other religious ‘minorities’) in our efforts to keep church-and-state separate, and similar causes. 

    • asonge

      It was a case brought by Jews that got school-sponsored prayers removed from schools. The kid was being bullied and the parents brought the suit because of the other-izing effect of Christian prayers.

      • C Peterson

        The sweet thing about that is that while atheists remain one of the few minorities that most politicians feel they can openly display contempt for, they can’t do that to Jews… even though many of the Christians probably feel that way. When a religious person brings a suit in support of secularism, the Christians have no choice but to grin and bear it.

    • Tom S

      Let’s not forget that a significant number of Jews are atheists.  

  • GabyYYZ

    I think it’s all about the 144,000 in Revelation, the chosen few Jews who will make to heaven on judgement day along with all the Christians.

    • GabyYYZ

      …so of course, the xians have to save them, meet their quota.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_722JM2BE6YISLQ3KWROXGHBBXQ Joe Mama

    “love bombing” = passive aggressive attacks.

    Double speak is alive and well in the Christian community.

    • asonge

      Love bombing is when everyone showers you with praise so you feel great until you’re integrated into the group. It’s not double-speak…I’m not even sure it’s value-laden…both insiders and outsiders use it, and it’s particularly common in literature about cults.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_722JM2BE6YISLQ3KWROXGHBBXQ Joe Mama

        And I learn a new thing every day.

    • nakedanthropologist

      Love bombing is a strategic manuver often used by cults.  New or potential members are shown only the good stuff, showered with praise, and given social approval and status.  Later on, after they’ve been integrated into the group (and have usually cut other social ties) this technique ensures that the target is dependent upon the group making the person more susceptible to other psychological/physical manipulative techniques by the leaders and other cult members.

  • Sami Hawkins

    I’m having nasty flashbacks to Middle School after reading that. Our taxpayer funded public school ordering every single student to pray to Jesus, the teachers refusing to teach evolution and preaching to the class about how Atheists are idiots, the constant harassment over my lack of beliefs culminating in me being powerbombed onto solid concrete while the rest of my class laughed and the onlooking teachers said nothing.

    Things got better in Highschool, but only because most of them got really into drugs and it’s hard for a pillpopper to lecture others on morality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mankysteve Stephen Rowley

    Sounds like a law suite

  • Robyman4

    That “Christ made us athletes” thing is just silly. I’ve been an atheist for 13 years, and I was just telling someone last night that although I’m 36, I weigh exactly what I weighed in high school: I”m 5’10″ and 155 pounds. That’s because I play soccer, jog, lift weights and take martial arts classes with insane cardio warm-ups that guarantee fighting fitness. No God is needed for me to be disciplined, organized and motivated on a daily basis, nor is any deity needed to keep me free from injury or give me success when physcial challenges arise. And really, if you’re compelled to go into a cafeteria and workout so that people notice, you’re an egotistical, pompous blowhard, not an athlete.

    • nakedanthropologist

      Right on

    • Gunstargreen

      My first question to them would be that if f Jesus made them athletes why do they still have to lift weights?

  • RobertoTheChi

    Can’t these idiots just let people ALONE? No one wants their stupid god or jeebus shoved down their throats at every opportunity. I thank FSM that I don’t live in the bible belt.

    • LesterBallard

      No, they can’t leave people alone. When you have the one true god, it kills you that there are those who don’t accept your one true god; you take it personally. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        And even if you’re not the type of person to do that, other Christians pressure you to and make it seem like you’re not very committed or you’re ashamed of Christ if you don’t witness to people. I never liked to push it on people, but there was always this sense that the more people were willing to talk about their faith, the more they loved God.

        • Robster

          Gotta love how the godbots call selling their nonsense “witnessing”. If there’s one thing the big three delusions have in common is that no one has ever witnessed their god or reliably, the baby jEsus/Mo. It’s another good example of how the godbots change the meaning of words to make something not at all attractive, sound attractive and desirable.

  • Tracsar

    Being from a Jewish family and having to live in the south.. this falls under the category of ‘Don’t even get me started’.. and I know others have had *far* worse experiences than I did.  It’s even worse these days.  There’s a lot of secular/atheist Jews out there who wouldn’t mind some support from a community like this.

    • Soren

      Same with Hindus. I had some Indian friends who grew up in the South, and their experiences were a lot like those of these Jews.

  • Mandocommando23

    Is it horrible of me to wish that the north had let the south leave the union back in the day? I could really do without that region of the country.

    • Baby_Raptor

      No, it’s not. I still wish they would. Just don’t leave us sane ones down here…Please. 

      • Mandocommando23

        You can come up here where there are more sane people. I mean, I live in the midwest, and while the majority of people are still pretty religious, they don’t prosthyletize and throw it in your face as much as people do down south.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      Sometimes I think that, but then I go to Indiana and realize it’s the same there. The Bible belt is a lot bigger than I’d like to think.

  • Isilzha

    And somehow the students who object to such treatment very quickly become the “bad guys” who are denying xians their “rights”.

  • The Other Weirdo

    This shit happens in Canada, too, before anybody thinks that it’s confined to the Southern US. Perhaps not as aggressively, but as a former recipient of this, and from kids I thought were my friends, I know that it happens.

  • Phil

    I lived in the South for 8 years after living in the Chicago area my entire life.  I was, frankly, appalled at the attitude that if you aren’t an evangelical christian, there’s something seriously wrong with you.  It was so pervasive too.  I won’t even get into the political aspect of that mentality.  Needless to say, for a variety of reasons, but this was one of them, I’m back home.

  • doninkansas

    not just non-christians, even the wrong kind of christian gets it. I was Catholic in small southern town and got it. got it even worse when my family moved to small central Indiana town with the world headquarters of an evangelical church on the outskirts of town. our principal there was a Baptist minister and they had religious assemblies all the time. they didn’t require students to go and I didn’t, but it shouldn’t have been there to begin with. also, they allowed Campus Life free run of the campus. I was a very devout Catholic at the time and whenever they’d try to convert me, I’d respond with “oh for the days when we could still burn heretics.” they were not amused. LOL


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X