How a Motivational Speaker Tricked a Public School District into Letting Him Preach to Students and Parents… and Got Paid for It

You have to wonder why high school administrators don’t do their due diligence when bringing speakers into their buildings…

Back in August, the Rio Rancho Public Schools (New Mexico) brought in a group called “The Future Champions of America” to teach students how to stay strong against “illegal drug use, drinking and driving, dropout rates, suicide and bullying.” The main speaker/performer was Jason “White Shadow” Gibbons, who shared that message while also showing off some of his basketball trick shots.

Gibbons was basically hired at a cost of $650 per school… for 20 performances total… which came out to nearly $12,000 (***Edit***: For the math folks out there, sometimes, multiple performances occurred at the same school):

Yep, the kids will all take him seriously

“We thought that the program had merit,” Boone said, hoping the sports theme would be a common denominator for youngsters.

Although board member Carl Harper was at first hesitant to take away instructional time in the classroom, he said, “This sounds like a nice program.”

“I think students are motivated by those kinds of things,” Superintendent Sue Cleveland said.

It turns out the school board members didn’t do the thing I did in about a minute online: Look up the FCA group (and Gibbons) online.

On Gibbons’ personal website, he has a section devoted to his ministry (emphasis his):

I have been performing and speaking in schools for over 7 years now. I feel the greatest responsibility that I have is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others… My passion is to share that same message with as many people as I possibly can!

Showtime basketball has proven be such a powerful tool to set the table for the gospel today. I’m extremely humbled that God would use me to help reach one of the great untapped mission fields… America’s public schools.

You know exactly how this turned out…

Gibbons went to the schools, performed for the crowd, and told students to make safe decisions — no problem there. His team also handed out flyers encouraging kids to bring their parents to a free evening performance for “Jason’s final night”:

So parents went, expecting more positive messages and cool basketball tricks.

What they got instead was a Christian revival (watch the video… seriously, watch it:

According to the flyers it was going to be a night of showtime basketball, entertainment, door prize and food.

There was no mention of religion, but she said about halfway through the event they got a heavy dose of it, starting with a personal story that sounded more like a testimony.

“They used our children; that’s the way it felt,” [parent] Rachel said. “They tricked our children.”

After the event was over the group handed out New Testaments to some of the older kids.

They also handed out different flyers which encourage people to go to a service at a local Baptist church this Sunday.

The school district said its reference checks did not show that the group preached religion even though it advertises itself as a faith-based.

So let’s summarize this whole thing.

The school district thought they were bringing in a motivational speaker. They didn’t do a thorough background check. They promoted his evening event on the host school’s website:

And they ended up with a couple of preachers instead.

Gibbons didn’t tell the school district the entire truth. He used his advertised talent to push his religious beliefs onto unsuspecting children and their parents.

His group got paid $12,000 in taxpayer money for praising Jesus to public school students and their parents… and afterwards, Gibbons pretended that he had no idea what all the controversy was all about!

“I hate to think that anybody would come away from any of our events feeling misled or feeling like they didn’t feel good about what happened there,” Gibbons said.

He knew exactly what he was doing.

Much like Christian rapper B-SHOC, Gibbons does whatever he needs to do to get invited to public schools. As soon as that door opens, he finds a way to preach to those kids using whatever deceptive practices he can, in this case, handing out flyers promoting his evening meeting without giving any indication it would be a conversion scheme.

To be clear, the problem wasn’t Gibbons’ in-school assemblies. The problem was that Gibbons illegally handed out flyers to students promoting his nighttime religious gathering — and no one thought to stop him.

If he was promoting Islam instead of Christianity, this would be a national news story.

Instead, it’s being ignored.

What’s worse is that the administrators are treating this like it was no big deal:

… the school district said if they were to invite the group back, they would need to take a second look at what happened before making a decision.

Here’s a better solution: GET YOUR MONEY BACK! They duped you! They wasted your community’s time! You could be held liable in a lawsuit! (And you can bet the Freedom From Religion Foundation is already on this.)

We owe a debt of gratitude to the people who took this story to the local press. It doesn’t matter that only one person or a small group of people complained — what the Christians did was wrong, and they need to be punished for it or they won’t stop.

(Thanks to @wills4223 for the link)

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.

  • Kalex

    This closely resembles an act I had come to my middle school many years ago. They were these guys who would rip telephone books in half and do other feats of strength. They promoted their night show and I went with my dad. Quickly it became a Christian conversion event… my dad was furious and he took me home only a few minutes into the act. Seems to be part of someone’s play book !

    • Artor

      Was it Power Team? I had to work at one of their shows once. It was horrible! The backstage crew quickly nicknamed the program, “Steroids for Jesus.” The trick with the phone books is that you have to bake them first, then they’re really easy to tear in half.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      in our school, it was a rock band. they did all these cover songs, that were cool at the time, and we were mandated to attend. suckers showed up for the night time “concert” where i’m sure they asked for money.

      i didn’t.

  • Mark

    Regrettably, I ran sound and helped with some setup tasks for the group Kalex describes as a teenager (the Power Team). We went to a number of local schools and told them to come to our big show at my church. This kind of manipulative dishonesty might be the single biggest thing that provoked me to question the existence of any sort of divine moral directive. Concerns like honesty have a habit of vanishing, at least in the circles I ran with, when confronted with the necessity of saving souls.

    • Rain

      “This kind of manipulative dishonesty might be the single biggest thing that provoked me to question the existence of any sort of divine moral directive. ”

      Manipulative dishonesty is actually par for the course for marketers in general. And thus condonable in the minds of marketers. (Because all the other marketers are doin’ it.) Bill Hicks on marketing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

    • http://www.facebook.com/mark.weber.9237 Mark Weber

      Mark, I was sucked into one of those Power Team shows. They were having a “Strongest Teen” contest at the Evening show. After the contest, they started speaking in tongues. We called BS and got up to leave. That’s when they closed the doors on us and wouldn’t let us leave. Luckily the chief of police was there to provide handcuffs for the show and saw what was going on and asked one of the meatheads “what the f do you think you’re doing?” The roid boy started to argue and the chief asked him if he wanted a kidnapping charge! He let us leave….

    • Edward

      “This kind of manipulative dishonesty might be the single biggest thing that provoked me to question the existence of any sort of divine moral directive.”

      Yeup, me too. Not only did I find that Christians were no more moral than anyone else, they were frequently worse, incapable of distinguishing morality from legality.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Is anyone really surprised at this? Evangelicals using stealth tactics in order to hammer their dour religionism into people is nothing new. They’ve been playing this game with people for ages. And they’re not planning to stop, any time soon.

    Example: A few years ago here in Connecticut they pulled a similar stunt, using a free motivational seminar for executives and business owners … headlined by notables like Joe Montana, Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani … as a hook to draw people into an evangelical revival event. Compounding this is that this event also included hard-sell solicitations for questionable investments and investment techniques. You can see what sort of upstanding, ethical people we’re talking about, here.

    Yes, these people are liars for Jesus. They have no reservations about doing whatever it takes — including misrepresenting themselves or lying outright — in order to get the message of their Jesus to people. (As though no one in the United States other than themselves could possibly have ever heard that message before … but that erroneous assumption is another matter entirely.)

    • Rain

      “…in order to get the message of their Jesus to people. (As though no one in the United States other than themselves could possibly have ever heard that message before … but that erroneous assumption is another matter entirely.)”

      It’s not an erroneous assumption. It’s another standard lie everyone is so used to hearing that we all just let it slide. “Spreading the gospel” is code speak for something else. This is especially apparent when they are spreading the gospel in places that have had the gospel spread a zillion times over already.

      There are many things we are trained like sheep to acquiesce like blind steeples flocks. My favorite is, where did god come from? We are browbeaten into thinking it’s a stupid question. Another one of my favorites is the “ask and ye shall receive” one. Why, of course Jesus didn’t mean ask and ye shall receive when he said ask and ye shall receive. How could anyone ever possibly be so stupid that they would think it means ask and ye shall receive? Duh!?

      • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

        Actually, back in my own fundie days, I’d been told … and in turn, genuinely believed … that people really, truly, & actually had not heard “the ‘real message’” of Jesus. The world had been saturated with false versions of Christianity that clouded “the ‘true’ faith.” So as I experienced it, it truly was an erroneous assumption.

        So when I acted on that assumption, or even stated it outright, I was not, in the strictest sense, lying to anyone. I suppose one could say I was lying to myself, and unquestionably taking other peoples’ word for something without knowing how true it was, but I was not being disingenuous or dishonest.

        Of course, some evangelicals may well know better, perhaps even a lot of them, in which case they’re not making an invalid assumption but are explicitly lying when they tell their sheep that other people have never heard “the ‘real message’” of Jesus. But not all of them are lying. Some sincerely believe this invalid assumption to be true.

        Either way, though, it’s factually incorrect, and evangelicals really need to stop already with it. They might not wish to; they might not want to hear it’s not so; but it isn’t, which means they should stop acting as though it is, if they want to have any integrity.

        • Rain

          Okay PsiCop. I forgot that evangelicals would think that the other evangelicals were doin it rong if they didn’t convert everybody. Sorry about that. I need to check my own binary thinking, lol.

          • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

            Yeah, there’s that binary thing. It sure snagged me, back in the day! :)

  • A3Kr0n

    I think even people who are religious would feel betrayed by this person. Imagine being Catholic, and finding out you’ve been duped into attending a Baptist revival.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    My elementary school had a regular visitor called Miss Joy. I have no idea if that was her real name. She played the accordion while singing songs like “Jesus Loves Me.” Of course, we were all instructed to sing along. She also challenged us to read and learn Bible verses. On her next visit, kids who wanted to show that they had memorized verses could recite them to her, in front of us. Those kids were praised and rewarded with Christian prizes, including small Bibles like those given by the Gideons.

  • C Peterson

    Gibbons was basically hired at a cost of $650 per school… for 20 performances total… which came out to nearly $12,000.

    Interesting math…

    • Phil Cleaver

      If only someone who knew something about math wrote blog posts here *sigh*…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Some of the performances may have been at the same school — that’s how I made sense of that math, otherwise it came out to $13,000

      • C Peterson

        Actually, one of the linked articles said there were more than 20 events contracted. So it’s even more uncertain where all the numbers actually came from.

    • Stev84

      Maybe they offered a volume discount

    • http://www.facebook.com/rebekah.dekker Rebekah Reyenga Dekker

      Some of the schools doubled up for the assemblies.

  • Cecelia Baines

    Gee, Christians lying to promote a religion that says lying is a deadly sin….the paradox makes the mind spin.

    I’ve said ti before, I’ll say it again, Christians are among the least trustworthy people on the planet.

    ****BONUS JOKE****

    How can you tell a Christian is lying to you?

    Their lips are moving.

  • jjramsey

    It turns out the school board members didn’t do the thing I did in about
    a minute online …

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that. The page you mentioned also read:

    To be clear: ‘Teens of America’ and ’Future Champions of
    America’ deliver strictly educational and character based messages.
    While we sometimes seek the support of local churches and other local
    outreach organizations to host us while we are reaching out to the
    schools in their community, we are very conscious not to endorse any
    type of political or religious messages inside the schools that have
    booked with us.
    [emphasis original]

    It may very well have been that the school board members thought that, yeah, he’s an enthusiastic Christian, but he’ll keep it legal. They may not have expected such a brazen bait-and-switch.

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

      I wonder if that counts as false advertising?

  • Michael

    “…what the Christians did was wrong, and they need to be punished for it or they won’t stop.”

    They will never stop. If they are not punished they will keep going and if they are punished they will use their “martyrdom” to advertise future events.

    • baal

      Punishment isn’t the only route. You can also lead folks positively or you can let them self extinguish. The later happens when you have a strong social safety net, low social inequality (high mobility) and excellent education. We should strive for those things both as intrinsic goods and due to their effect on society (depowers religions).

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Gibbons does whatever he needs to do to get invited to public schools.

    With God, everything is permitted.

    • ortcutt

      One of the worst aspects of proselytizing religion is that almost anything will be justified if it “spreads the faith” and “saves souls”.

      • Phil Cleaver

        Yeah… like the Crusades and the Inquisition.

        • Stev84

          Don’t forget the forced conversion of natives in Africa and the Americas. Once the church conveniently decided that American natives had souls it was open season on them.

  • Jasper

    School definitely needs to be sued, even if they were tricked. If they had invited someone in who decided to beat up the students instead, there’d be hell to pay.

    We can’t allow the precedent of schools feigning being tricked as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

  • corps_suk

    Some one at district needs to be held accountable for one of two reasons…
    First, they knew exactly what this was, forced attendance to religious sales pitch…
    Or second, totally failing to do a background check and allowing access to school kids without knowing what they were.

    There needs to be a formal apology from the district.

  • Random_acct

    Ooh…this sounds horrible. I wonder if these kids will be able to survive?

    Bonus question: identify the book used to help students learn to read in schools in the nineteenth century?

    • ortcutt

      1. We have this thing called the Establishment Clause, which applies to school districts through the 14th Amendment.

      2. Public schools stopped using the Bible in schools in the 19th and early 20th Century because Catholics rightly complained about the fact that schools used the KJV or other Protestant Bibles rather than Catholic translations like the Douay-Rheims. People at the time thought it would be better for the country if Catholics weren’t excluded from public schools. That’s the same reason that Lord’s Prayer recitation stopped in schools. Catholics and Protestants don’t agree on that text either. Teaching any religion is going to favor some religion over others and favor religion over non-religion.

      • Random_acct

        There is no such thing as “non-religious” individuals. Everyone has a religion.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          If it wasn’t already clear that you’re a complete moron…

          • Random_acct

            Only trying to speak to the level of my audience.

        • Edward

          I have views about religion. I don’t have a religion per se.

          If you’re about to disagree with that, please define the term ‘religious person’ first, I suspect there may be some strong disagreement on your definition.

        • MattD

          There is no such thing as “religious” individuals. Everyone has no religion.

          • Random_acct

            Ha. Nice try. What is your idol?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Maybe that would be relevant. If we were living in the nineteenth century.

      • Random_acct

        Ah yes, the old “it’s not relevant” claim pops it’s ugly head out. Amusing that you even reference time in terms of Christ. Oh, the irony of it all!

        Another bonus question: do you use U.S. coins?

        • Brian Scott

          I say “oh my god” all the time too.

          I also say “holy shit”.

          So, yeah, what the hell-oh, used that as well… even though it’s an old germanic wor-wait, what?

          • Random_acct

            There are many gods. The is but one God. Verstehen?

            • Cecelia Baines

              Apparently McDonald’s is giving out those free lobotomy coupons with each Big Mac again…..

              • Random_acct

                Oh, so you use coupons with the cash that states “In God We Trust” too? Tsk tak. I bet you also take Sundays off from work too. That is, if you hold a job. Lol.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  That’s your best troll? C’mon, at least ask if we still live in mom’s basement.

                • Random_acct

                  So you do take Sundays off from work too. Thanks for admitting. You know why that tradition exists, right?

                  The hypocritical life of the atheist…

                  Freeloading off of a system that came into existence and thrived due to Christianity.

                  Carry on…

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Actually like most Americans, I feel no compunction to follow bronze age rules. I often work on the Sun’s day, and on Saturn’s day too. And I don’t mind coveting my neighbor’s car. Actually I don’t, but if my neighbor actually had a car I wanted, it wouldn’t freak me out.

                • Random_acct

                  You missed the point. The fact is that the weekend (I.e. Saturday and Sunday) tradition of work days off, which most Americans follow, was established due to Christianity. I bet you didn’t even think of that.

                  Like I stated before, you can do and believe whatever you want. However, there are eternal consequences for moral choices.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Oh, you mean people aren’t supposed to work on Sunday because Christians can’t figure out when the Sabbath is? Well jeez, it’s a good thing this isn’t a Christian nation or everything would have been closed today!

                • Random_acct

                  Hilarious. You do understand why Sunday is the typical worship day and day of rest for Christians, right? Hello? Bueller?

                • John (not McCain)

                  On paper money, I use a magic marker to change “In God We Trust” to “FUCK God.” I’m hoping it helps a Christian get to heaven sooner.

                • Random_acct

                  Very impressive. Your intellect is truly dizzying.

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

                  On the contrary, the two day weekend is a direct result of those evil socialist labor unions. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your so-called god-man who promised to be back in the lifetime of the disciples he was speaking directly to and — 2000-odd years later, after they’re all long dead and dusted — has yet to make an appearance.

                  Stop trying to take credit for purely secular improvements to society.

                • Random_acct

                  Funny. You better understand history before popping off. Also, try to understand the point as well. It’ll help you in the future.

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

                  I do understand history. And the Wholly Babble. I also understand that your “point” is nothing more than yet another Christ-stain lie designed to keep them in power.

                  Plus, the Sabbath, as laid out in the Bible, is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday — your Sunday-based “sabbath” is blasphemy.

                • Random_acct

                  Do we have a secular Jew here? Do you understand why Sunday is typically the main day of worship to most Christians? Please explain so I know you understand.

                  PS. Who is “them” and what “power” are you referring to? Inquiring minds want to know.

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

                  I’m not a Jew, secular or otherwise, just someone with a working brain. Yes, I’m aware of why Sunday is the main day of worship for Christers, but even that is in error — you say he died, and rose three days later. Simple math, here; the crucifixion is said to take place on a Friday, right? So, Friday, crucifixion, Saturday (One), Sunday (Two), Monday (Three). Monday should be your day of worship, rather than Sunday, if you’re going about it based on the alleged resurrection. Otherwise, you should be following the instructions laid out earlier in the Bible, and celebrating the sabbath from sundown friday to sundown saturday.

                  Then again, you lot believe that 1+1+1 somehow equals… 1, and you are so totally not polytheistic. *SMH*

                • Random_acct

                  You have some misunderstanding. Christ rose on the third day, not after three days had elapsed. Day one, Friday. Day two, Saturday. Day three, Sunday. Sometimes people get careless with the wording.

                  Do you believe that water in frozen, liquid, and vapor form consists of H2O molecules in each case?

            • piet puk

              Trollin’ trollin’ trollin’..

              • Random_acct

                Trollin’ is getting a lot of bites too.

                El-oh-el.

                • Guest

                  So you take Sundays off too. Thanks. You know the basis for that tradition too, right?

                  The hypocritical life of an atheist…

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Sub-species script-troll. It’s been fun but I’ve been told feeding time is over, so troll will have to find kibble elsewhere.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Riiiight, because using coins that have an obvious falsehood on them means anything…. Yes. I use US coins which say “In God We Trust”. Question back: do you think that actually makes me, a US Citizen, magically trust something I don’t even think exists?

          It’s an infantile argument. Step it up.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Oh, and, do you use a calendar? You know, with the names of all those Norse gods on it?

          • Random_acct

            It means you don’t hold true to your non-belief. That is sometimes referred to as hypocrisy.

            • Vision_From_Afar

              It means he, and the rest of us, live in a country where the religious have had too much power for far too long.
              Besides, I use a credit card. No “God” on there in any form. Problem solved.

              • Random_acct

                FYI, everyone is “religious”. Yes, even you.

                • Vision_From_Afar

                  Lol, let’s take off the PC gloves then.
                  Edit: in a country where the Dominionist-bent Christianity-and-ONLY-Christianity Christians have had too much power for far too long.
                  Better?

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Capitol One will let you customize your card. I called and asked them if something like “In Reason We Trust” would be permitted, and she didn’t see why not. They mostly care about licensing violations.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Avoiding that day of the week question are we True Christian(tm)? At least I won’t be going to hell for my ‘hypocrisy’.

              • Random_acct

                Well…actually you will be. But the gates of Hell, so to speak, are closed from within. You make the choice and, of course, live with the consequences of that choice. That seems fair to me.

        • Cecelia Baines

          Another bonus question!

          Do you hide colored chicken eggs around the yard and house during the Christian Zombie Savior Day, better known as Easter, and let your children celebrate by finding them?

          • Random_acct

            No. No Santa either. Next question…

        • John (not McCain)

          Do you use lube on the 3 year olds you satisfy yourself with?

          • Random_acct

            I like how classy you are. Projecting much?

    • Carmelita Spats

      I don’t want my kid exposed to Bible porn such as being forced to view a naked Dead-Guy-On-A-Stick, a creepy 33-year-old virgin carpenter in a loincloth, bleeding from his nipples to his knees and wearing a grotesque crown of thorns. I am a hands-on mom and if my kid is exposed to the OBSCENITY contained in the Bible, I will HOLLER with legal backing…You will see one angry atheist Momma who has enough tongue for ten rows of teeth. Keep PORNOGRAPHY OUT of the hands of minors…and that includes the Bible.

      • Random_acct

        Cool. The beauty of Chrisitanity is that you get to chose to accept it or not. But the kicker is you live with the consequences of that decision. Be careful though, because you are also accountable to your children as well. I’ll bet you’ll work hard to keep all “obscenity” out of your children’s hands in the future too .

        • allein

          “You can’t believe something you don’t.” (Ricky Gervais)

        • Brian Scott

          “Minors”. Also, being forced upon them. But again, the authoritarian can’t distinguish between that.

          • Random_acct

            Could you be a little more coherent in your response?

        • MattD

          People like you find it easier to debate atheists instead of other theists because you can’t play your little imagination games of which is better, or who is right, with people playing similar rules.

          So you are just a bully who picks on the weakest link to aggrandize your position of authority.

          • Random_acct

            I debate atheists because they are so illogical and inconsistent.

      • Glasofruix

        Knowing that Jebus was hanging around with prostitutes i don’t think that he was a virgin.

        • John (not McCain)

          Why would he be? He’s the child of a clumsy, lying slut after all.

    • David Starner

      Bonus question: identify the book that sparked riots in Philadelphia in the nineteenth century over which version to use.

      • Random_acct

        Extra bonus question: Do you also take Sundays off from work? Or do you even work? Perhaps we need to start with such basic questions. ;-)

        • David Starner

          No, I don’t. In several jobs I’ve worked, we had to stay open Sundays because the Christians wanted to shop that day. Don’t worry; some of them reminded us how horrible we were for working on Sundays while they were buying their food.

          • Random_acct

            Shopping is very restful and relaxing to some.

        • allein

          Seeing as how my office is closed on Sunday, yes, I do. In the past when I worked retail I generally preferred to work Saturday over Sunday, and they accommodated such requests when they could, but for a while I did regularly work Sunday mornings, which turned out to be nice because it didn’t get busy until late morning (cuz everyone was at church) and I actually had time to get stuff done.

          You know most people don’t get to choose the hours/days they work, right? Most people are at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

          (Yes, I know s/he’s trolling; I’m bored.)

          • Random_acct

            The point is that there is a reason that Saturday and Sunday were traditionally days off. It was due to Christianity. Obviously, with some industries this has changed. But the point remains…

            • allein

              So what? It doesn’t make me or my company religious.

              • Random_acct

                That wasn’t the point. This is not that hard bud.

                • allein

                  Fine, people are historically off on Sunday because of Christianity. What does that have to do with this post?
                  And I’m not your bud.

                • Random_acct

                  This series of posts was started by me because I wanted atheists to admit that many things they have gladly bought into are also things that are there due to Christianity.

                  See previous post that where I said that atheists are freeloaders off of a system that thrives and exists due to Christian beliefs/values.

                • allein

                  OK, whatever. I’m a freeloader because I take off on the days my office is closed. Excuse me for living my life in a system that was around long before I was born. When I stopped being a Christian was I supposed to move out of the country somewhere?
                  (We need one of those animated eye-rolling smilies for this place.)

                • Brian Scott

                  He’s still avoiding the days of the week question. And the easter egg question. And the Saturnalia question. And the “holy shit” question and the hell question. He’s so damaged he cannot in any way distinguish between map and territory and he’s falling prey to the Dunning-Kruger effect. Ignore him, he’ll get tired that he doesn’t have anyone to feel superior to and go away.

                • allein

                  Hehe, like I said this morning, I’m bored. ;)

                  But, yeah, I think I’m done. Besides, Castle is on in a few minutes.

  • Ben

    Hello from Italy, first forgive any mistake I may make writing in english.

    Being interested in statistics, demography and sociology and as an agnostic (how hard to be in the country where the pope stays)i found very interesting your debate on America religion, like John Lennon I imagine about a “no religion” world. But what I fear is ignorance. Ignorance leads to religion and religion leads to fondamentalism, to craziness, to nonsense.

    I’ve not yet well understand why the “so modern” America is still so superstitious, like I’ve not still understand the inhumane death penalty that you still have or the wheapons being sell like aspirin.

    I’m white guy, but I’m glad that the wasp republicans are losing their power.

    I hate nationalism and any sort of conservative behavior.

    Is the feeling of the fear that leads to conservation.

    I do not fear the world, I do not fear people who are different from me.

    The world is going in the direction of globalization, of the progress.

    You can slow the progress, you can slow the history, not stop them.

    Fight the changes will only lead the conservative mind to an entire life of frustration.

    At least, those are my thoughts.

    • Ben

      P.s. it would be interesting to compare religion, death penalty and other thing like this to see if there is a match between those and poverty or race.

      I love stats!

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      It helps if you remember the “United States” is a much larger country than Italy. Even Italy has it’s own internal divisions — cultural differences between the Napolese, Florentines, Genoese, Venetians, and so on. The US has some internal differences as well; a lot of the religiosity more common with the rural South, which tends less “modern” in various ways. For some trend lines, treating the US as a single point give an outlier that is significantly reduced if instead you plot the 50 states individually.

      If you’re interested in statistics, you might look into the raw data sets and analysis package at the Berkeley Survey Documentation and Analysis website.

      • Ben

        Sorry, i wouldn’t make offense, so after all the “united states” are not so united!? Yeah, I have a general idea of the differences between the big cities and the countryside the north and the south, that’s all. Nothing else I can understand without being there of course…or start to read more frequently US newspapers!!

        Thank you for your reply.

        • Ben

          P.s. although US states all shares the same language, geographical, economics, etc differences are strong according to you.

          Do you think those differences will in case lead in future to a theorical secession? For real this time, or it’s impossible?

          I don’t wish for it I just want to understand if secession feeling are present in some states due to different point of view in politics, etc.

          For example, I’ve heard time ago that people from Texas are more and more far politically from Washington, there is truth in this?

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

            my friend, it’s really simple.

            there are black people in america.

            there are white people in america.

            it’s really just that simple; fill in the lines that go between those two statements.

          • allein

            There are a number of secession petitions on the White House web site…including at least one from my own state (New Jersey), last I looked. I don’t know how serious they are or even how difficult it is to put a petition up there in the first place. I also don’t know the exact process for seceding but it is highly unlikely that any state will do so any time soon.

            • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

              Putting up a petition takes one person. Getting it publicly visible for those who don’t know exactly where it is takes about 150. Compelling official White House attention takes 25000-100000, depending on when it was started.

              Actual secession would require in excess of 100k residents all from the one would-be-leaving state actively supporting before being politically significant, even for the least populated state.

              Legally, secession requires an Amendment; 2/3 House and Senate and 3/4 of all the states. Politically, it requires doing so legally — OR convincing capability for continuation “by other means”, which requires being able to win a war of secession against all other US states. Even factoring in complication of potential new overseas alliances… ain’t happening.

              • allein

                Thanks :)

          • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

            You might look into Colin Woodward’s “American Nations” for more on the US internal cultural divisions. The boundaries are a bit fuzzy, but more than a few historians have noted that there are divisions.

            Secession appears more likely now in relative terms than any time since the US Civil War; however, it appears to remain unlikely in absolute terms.

            Sociological distance is always tricky to calculate, much less change in it over time. I’m not enough a student of history to give a confident answer. I also suspect there’s at least two dimensions to the metric space, complicating the answer; and in the particular case of Texas, that’s a state large enough to have significant internal divisions of its own.

          • baal

            No, the secession noise is just noise for now. Noone seriously thinks that Texas (or any other State) is about to leave the Union.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          I again commend the SDA to your attention. While the US General Social Survey only goes to “census region” rather than “state” level (9 pieces, not 50), it might be a more stats-geek friendly way of getting a picture of the US.

  • piet puk

    Lying for jesus, what else is new?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebekah.dekker Rebekah Reyenga Dekker

    I live in this school district and have been corresponding with Dave Thomas at New Mexicans for Reason about this very issue! My kids received these flyers at in-school assemblies, paid for with taxpayer funds! I also sent info to FFRF. I’m hoping we can take this further. Our school board president, Don Schlichte, is locally famous for being the man who gutted our science standards back in 2005 so it would include creationism. Fortunately, new board members were elected who reversed that policy soon thereafter. Even religious friends of mine are angry about this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mobi-Mktg/100002118545853 Mobi Mktg

    He should at the least be asked to return the money to the school district – and the school district needs to be more diligent (though they may have known already what he was going to do)

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

    Ugh. You’d think the school folks in charge of this kind of thing would, you know, actually look into the people/programs they’re choosing, yeah?

  • Bad_homonym

    Wouldn’t this qualify as bearing false witness?

  • Yoav

    It turns out the school board members didn’t do the thing I did in about
    a minute online: Look up the FCA group (and Gibbons) online.

    Maybe it’s me being the suspicious bastard that I am but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turned out that at least some members of the school board knew exactly what they’re doing and invited him exactly because he was going to do some ninja evangelizing in the school.

  • roberthughmclean

    Isn’t a Gibbon some sort of primate? Not a churchy primate but a biological one. These people need to deceive to get bums on seats/pews because their offering is so abundantly absurd that without some sort of bling there’d be lots of empty seats. Bit like a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The difference is that medicine is good, religous nonsense, not so.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The Gibbon’s most distinguishing characteristic is that it is extremely loud.

  • raytheist

    Groups have been doing this for years. While in high school (1971-72) the whole school was herded into the gym for a ‘pep rally’ sort of assembly to hear a ‘rock band’. After only a few covers of currently popular hits of the day, they started preaching. Religious people use whatever they can to ‘reach’ kids.

  • ’tis himself

    News flash: Religious twits lied and deceived people.

    oh, wait, that’s not news at all

  • Watry

    Aside from all the obvious problems, the superintendent is just wrong. Students aren’t motivated by this sort of thing, they think it’s ridiculous.

  • David Staughton

    A motivational speaker will be very
    helpful for the students to make a bright future with his motivational
    speeches. David Staughton is also a famous motivational, keynote and guest
    speaker
    and have a lot of knowledge that how to make a successful career.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.wadsworth.961 Jacob Wadsworth

    What have the administrators been doing? It is their job to check the backgrounds of those they hire to speak in front of the children. These children can get easily manipulated when influenced in a wrong way. It is very important to have a legitimate speaker to tend to their inspirational needs. – http://timclue.com/

  • Aaron McBride

    If he was pushing Islam instead of Christianity he would have been praised and patted on the back by the public. So come off it!

  • Sicks5

    O wow! Scary! I know I wouldn’t want someone teaching my kids about loving your neighbor as yourself or selflessness. How terrible!


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