The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to the Chesterfield County School District in Jefferson, SC about a rather obvious First Amendment violation. The school apparently had a school assembly that they explicitly called a “worship rally” on their website. The rally featured an evangelist and a Christian rapper who preached to the kids.
The violations include a Sept. 1 school assembly featuring Christian Chapman, a preacher and evangelist, and Christian rap artist B-SHOC, who says on his YouTube channel that “324 students got saved” at the assembly.
FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert notes that the assembly was promoted and described as a “worship rally” on the public school’s website.
They’ve apparently removed the “worship rally” language from their website. In fact, they’ve removed all mention of the event. The rapper posted a video on Youtube — which I wouldn’t be surprised to see disappear soon too — making all kinds of statements about the event.
The video also shows:
• Volunteers being trained by Pastor David Sanders. He tells them, “When it’s time for them to go to their next class, they gotta go, so you need to make sure you’re very brief, what decision did you make? Have prayer with them.”
• Christian Chapman telling the students, “A relationship with Jesus is what you need more importantly than anything else.”
• Students lining up and volunteers praying with them and taking further information from the students and “[made] sure [they] were plugged into a church.”
Evidently, Principal Larry Stinson was aware of the questionable legality of holding a “worship rally” like this one during the school day, but he chose to schedule it anyway. He allegedly told Chapman that “I want these kids to know eternal life is real and I don’t care what happens to me, they’re gonna hear it today.” (at 3:58 in the B-SHOC video).
Expect a lawsuit over this one. Here’s the video: