Last week, the Christian Post reported on a Texas megachurch that received $50,000 from Ivanka Trump “to express the love of Jesus” to immigrant children who have been separated from their parents.
PLANO, Texas — A megachurch that received a $50,000 donation from Ivanka Trump last week has detailed how that money will be used to help migrant children at the southern border.
As Prestonwood Baptist Church Pastor Jack Graham, a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained:
“HHS officials have told us that the basic needs of the children are being taken care of,” Graham said. “What the kids really need most is someone to brighten their day. They need someone to give them hope. Our plan is to create an event for the children that will encourage them and make them smile. Of course, we will also focus on how we can provide financial aid to families to assist them in their situation.”
Although the physical needs and education are being provided to the immigrant children, Prestonwood is seeking to provide things such as money, volunteers and Vacation Bible School-type activities.
Let’s stop right there for a moment. Vacation Bible School-type activities?! Say what?
Vacation Bible Schools are religious education programs that teach children Protestant religious beliefs through themed stories, snacks, crafts, and activities. They’re fun for kids, yes—but they’re also explicitly designed to bring children to a religious conversion into Protestant Christianity. Fundamentalists and evangelicals have long used these programs as a religious outreach opportunity, often targeting neighborhood children who do not live in practicing Christian homes.
When I was a child growing up in an evangelical home, I attended a weekly Bible club program; I still remember the exultation of of the adults when a child of atheist parents (that is how they described her) made a profession of faith and converted to evangelical Christianity after attending the club with a friend. I recall wondering, even then, what her parents thought of all of this. I never found out.Most of the immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border over the past few months are from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Half of those countries’ population is Catholic. Fundamentalists and evangelicals—especially Baptists—do not typically consider Catholics Christians.
Now, stop and consider what is going on. Several thousand children are removed from their parents and placed in what amount to prison warehouses. Do you think Graham will be getting the children’s parents’ permission before setup up shop and running religious outreach programs for their children? Most definitely not—in many cases the parents do not even know where their children are.
I’m reminded of Native American boarding schools, where Native American children had their culture and their religion stripped from them, and replaced with that of the white man. Certainly, this is only one piece of that wider puzzle—to my knowledge, the children have not been forbidden from speaking Spanish—and one hopes that these children will be returned before there is time for anything so sustained.
Still, we’re talking about separating children from their parents, interning them, and proselytizing them into another religious tradition without their parents’ consent. This isn’t some low-profile pastor on an individual mission, either. Graham is a former two-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention—and Ivanka Trump herself gave him the money for his proposed program of proselytization.
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