How evangelicals are making children their missionaries in public schools


Adults can’t proselytise in schools – but kids can. Hence a new scam by fundamentalists to circumvent church-state separation

When he was 15, Jim ran drugs for a cult group. When I first heard his story, I was shocked – not just that the group was running drugs, but that they had directed one of their youngest recruits to do the dirty work for them. Then I learned why it made sense in a technical sort of way: the cult leaders reasoned that the older members, if caught, would face serious sentences and lifetime records, whereas the kids could get away with an unpleasant but not life-altering juvenile detention. It was a matter of using kids to do what the grown-ups didn’t want to risk doing themselves.

In a tactical sense, religious fundamentalists in America appear to have taken a page from the same book. The constitution and the law prohibits adults from, say, establishing ministries within public schools aimed at proselytizing to the children during school hours. But a growing number of religious activists have come to realize that it’s technically legal if they get the kids to do their work for them. OK, so religious proselytizing is not the same thing as running drugs – but manipulating kids to exploit legal loopholes isn’t pretty wherever it happens.

This tactic has been tested and deployed in a great number of situations already in schools across the country. Right now, a large group of fundamentalist organizations and church denominations is making a big bet that they will be able to pull it off on a national scale, starting in 2013.

Written By: Katherine Stewart
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  1. These people preach about love and decency!
    Even more ironic still, if you stop them from wrong doing,they will claim violation of their constitutional right of religious freedom,the very same constitution they are making a mockery of.

  2. Any lie, any tactic, any manipulation and all for Jesus.

    What rationalization next?

  3. Yes of course, the desperate do desperate things.
    Pimping the kids is not unknown for the murky world of Christian morality.
    They basically do that every xmas anyway, with pageants and the baby jebus front & centre, not to mention the nativity plays and scenes the kids get roped into!
    They have tried everything else, this is about the last throw of the dice for them.
    May it fail, it is a pretty weak brain fart anyway, not sure the peers will buy it, they are only easily manipulated by weak minded but up-tight pious adult authority figures anyway!

  4. Wonderful.

    I visited the website linked to in the article, clicked on the little map and discovered that the high school in my town has officially been “adopted.”  Presumably this means that my son will run into one or more of these nutters when he is old enough to attend.

    The question is, though, what can I do about it?  Aside from teaching my son to be a rational thinker and not be swayed by peer pressure, that is.

  5. At the risk of invoking Godwins Law (shame on me), am I the only one to notice that “Every Student Every School”‘s acronym ESES could be pronounced “SS” ……

    Coincidence?????? …. You decide!

  6. Prayer Zones – are they f*ing kidding ?  Do you use orange cones and tape, invisible “blessed” walls, what?

    Student Secular Societies, make ready!

    we must help our teenagers get serious about sharing their faith…

    The adults are trying to put a square peg in a round hole – if the teens aren’t serious, they’re not serious, get it?
    Hey, Christians, do not harangue them teens.

  7. I would truly feel like an alien in large parts of USA. By alien I don’t mean an immigrant from another part of the world. I mean like a person from outer space. 

  8. The question is, though, what can I do about it?  

    Make your kids start a science club. Host it at the same time. Get the teachers involved (cause it’s allowed if it’s science!). Do awesome experiments. Be cooler than the religious kids.

    If that doesn’t work, weep for the fallen. It’s about the only other option.

  9.  Yep …targeted merchandise.

    Best not to miss a trick in
    They been doing it for years, then when they don’t get the pay back they desire they ring the hands and moan lyrical about the usurping of Xmas by secular corporate greed…. the cheeky sods!

  10. This notion that cheating in the name of God is ok, goes back at least to Luther:

    What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church… a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.
    ~Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Reason and logic have made the modern world possible. I find astounding that the church has been so successful in persuading Christians to give it up. Perhaps the trick is getting them to distrust it only when it counters church teaching.

    Martin Luther on the Treatment of Jews
    First… set fire to their synagogues and schools and… bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them…
    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed…
    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blaspheming are taught, be taken from them…
    Fourth, I advise their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb…
    Fifth, I advise that safe conduct on the highways be completely abolished for the Jews…
    Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them, and put aside for safekeeping.
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Reason is the enemy of faith.
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Stab, smite, throttle, slay these rabid mad dogs without mercy, with a good conscience to the last ounce of strength, for nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel. He that shall be slain on the side of law and order is a true martyr before God, earning eternal bliss; he that perishes on the side of rebellion is doomed eternally to hell. Such times are these that a prince shall win heaven by bloodshed sooner than others by prayer…
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    We Christians seem fools to the world for believing that Mary was the true mother of this child [Jesus], and nevertheless a pure virgin. For this is not only against all reason, but also against the creation of God, who said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply”.
    ~ Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Not even Luther believed this silly story. Richard Dawkins explains how this goofy idea of the virgin birth got started with an erroneous translation of a word meaning “young woman” as“virgin”. From there, dishonest clerics adjusted other parts of the bible to be consistent with the mistake.

  11. “OK, so religious proselytizing is not the same thing as running drugs”

    Isn’t it?  Opiate of the masses?  Hello?

  12. An American friend of mine once said, after having done a bit of traveling around the country with his job, that he could only live in maybe two states in America.

  13. How sickening that adults are coaxing children into teaching their fairy tale nonsense to keep creationist twaddle alive.
    I read a blog the other day where some chap mentioned that a blow against creationists was phototropism as he noticed the turning of a field of sunflowers towards the sun.
    That’s a telling argument to demolish the bollocks known as irreducible complexity.
    But they might argue that sunflowers have invisible eyes?

  14. OK, so religious proselytizing is not the same thing as running drugs – it’s WORSE. 

  15.  “OK, so religious proselytizing is not the same thing as running drugs”

    It’s much more like deliberate viral infection of innocent children.

    To paraphrase Pink Floyd in The Wall :

    “We don’t need no indoctrination.”

    “We don’t need no thought control.”

    “Hey preachers, leave those kids alone….”

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