These Christian teachers want to bring Jesus into public schools

Mar 15, 2016

Photo credit: Dustin Franz

By Emma Brown

Finn Laursen believes millions of American children are no longer learning right from wrong, in part because public schools have been stripped of religion. To repair that frayed moral fabric, Laursen and his colleagues want to bring the light of Jesus Christ into public school classrooms across the country — and they are training teachers to do just that.

The Christian Educators Association International, an organization that sees the nation’s public schools as “the largest single mission field in America,” aims to show Christian teachers how to live their faith — and evangelize in public schools — without running afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition on the government establishing or promoting any particular religion.

“We’re not talking about proselytizing. That would be illegal,” said Laursen, the group’s executive director. “But we’re saying you can do a lot of things. . . . It’s a mission field that you fish in differently.”

Not everyone agrees that it’s acceptable for teachers to “fish” in public schools, where government officials are not allowed to promote or endorse any particular faith.

The nation has been fighting over the role of religion in public education for more than a century, and in helping public school teachers understand — and push toward — the legal boundaries of expression, Laursen and his colleagues are wading into one of the most fraught issues in American life.


Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/these-christian-teachers-want-to-bring-jesus-into-public-schools–legally/2016/03/12/bfd95986-dfd3-11e5-8d98-4b3d9215ade1_story.html

16 comments on “These Christian teachers want to bring Jesus into public schools

  • OP

    “We’re not talking about proselytizing. That would be illegal,” said Laursen, the group’s executive director. “But we’re saying you can do a lot of things. . . . It’s a mission field that you fish in differently.”

    Rather than fishing, I would describe it as creeping Jesus.
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  • @OP – The Christian Educators Association International, an organization that sees the nation’s public schools as “the largest single mission field in America,” aims to show Christian teachers how to live their faith — and evangelize in public schools — without running afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition on the government establishing or promoting any particular religion.

    OP quote: “We’re not talking about proselytizing. That would be illegal,” said Laursen, the group’s executive director. “But we’re saying you can do a lot of things. . . . It’s a mission field that you fish in differently.”

    Which translated from theist double-talk means, “We are proselytizing, but are not talking publicly about proselytizing, and lying to pretend we are not!
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  • @OP – Finn Laursen believes millions of American children are no longer learning right from wrong, in part because public schools have been stripped of religion.

    Perhaps some day he will learn that working out a “right decision”, requires evidence and thought! NOT dogmas and the evils of religious bigotry!
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  • In other words, “we know exactly what the law is, and we’re doing our darndest to find ways to subvert or wiggle around it”.

    It’s basically in the same boat as dodgy tax-avoidance tricks. Which is par-for-the-course where religions are concerned.
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  • Well, if this gets anywhere, I hope there are some parents who will successfully argue that alternative religions may also “fish” in those schools. Maybe even the Satanic Temple. 🙂

    Steve
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  • @ #5 – Jesus creeps in mysterious ways

    Yep.

    An organization called ‘Secular Safe Zones’ (for colleges), started a few years back, is still up and running. The title may suggest a bomb shelter (lol), but actually is much more nuanced.

    Darkly strange and funny > atheists have to go to all the trouble to ward off a man-made god, an infiltrator that does not even exist, except in neurons/synapses/grey matter et. al. of the ‘ol noodles of some.

    @ OP – bring Jesus into public schools

    Maybe he is against the idea, hence would be dragged in kicking and screaming.
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  • If I was a parent my first reaction would be to protect my children from such predators. Describing as they do that public schools are a good place to “fish” i.e. prey on children, is something which all school boards need to be concerned about. I presume this is an example of what they consider the ‘right’ thing to do in teaching right from wrong? If it’s an example of anything it’s hypocrisy. In Canada we have laws which protect children from emotional abuse, this would qualify.
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  • “”Finn Laursen believes millions of American children are no longer learning right from wrong, in part because public schools have been stripped of religion””….

    Two [ ‘deep’ ( ͜¨ ) ] thoughts about that :

    First : Religion is NOT about « teaching right from wrong ».

    It’s about worshipping a fictitious entity, and, occasionally, praying ‘it’ in order to cure Grandma’s Parkinson or to reward little Kevin’s fifth try to get his driving license. Period.

    For topics like ”right” and ”wrong”, noboby needs ‘religion’.

    There is a discipline which is perfectly fit for that, and which existed way way before christianity. It’s called….. philosophy. And it works much better than any stupid and obscurantist religious dogma.

    Second : By the way…. what legitimacy do these prozelitizers have, to ”teach right from wrong” ? Let’s have a look inside their ‘sacred’ texts, the so-called ‘christian new testament’. What do we see ? A bloke who says : « I didn’t come to bring peace and harmony ! …. I came to bring dissent and division between the father and his son, between the brother and his brother ! ». Great teaching ! Is that what they intend to promote in US public schools, when they brag around claiming that Jeebus has to ‘sneak in’ in children’s classes to improve their morality ?

    No, of course…. They will teach vulnerable young minds that, « if you put your entire life in the hand [of their deity] » , you will instantly ”know” what’s right or wrong , « ’cause ‘He’ will guide you ”from up above”.. »

    Just an example of the hypocrisy behind this rotten endeavour.

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  • I must sympathize with these teachers to some degree. Although I may not agree with their covert techniques, I do see a need for better role models for children. As a mental health therapist I work with kids who exhibit behavioral problems. Children grow up to consider “normal” and “socially acceptable” as whatever they have experienced at home and in the media. Unfortunately, too many parents do not provide good role models for these kids. Furthermore many sports figures, celebrities, politicians, and even preachers constantly in the news for illegal and immoral reasons are hardly good examples for impressionable children either.

    Of course we don’t know the real motivation behind these teachers. But, if the familiar person of Jesus is used as compassionate human role model, rather than some supernatural God deity, it seems as if these teachers might be onto something useful. Assuming their motivation is not to proselytize or preach, I do see this as a possible opportunity to use religion in a positive way.

    I must add that I am NOT a practicing Christian nor a believer in any supernatural deities myself. So, I have no interest in having children presented with metaphorical stories as truth. Although religion did not invent morality, it is one avenue of instruction. There are some beneficial aspects of religion and I fear that enthusiastic Atheists may be too eager to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”.
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  • Dave #11
    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Dave,

    I think you are misreading this.

    Of course we don’t know the real motivation behind these teachers. But, if the familiar person of Jesus is used as compassionate human role model, rather than some supernatural God deity, it seems as if these teachers might be onto something useful.

    While many religious teachers may well present commendable role models and attitudes, this particular organisation is dedicated to hypocritically circumventing the legal rules in order to evangelise the children entrusted to them into their own brand of religion.
    In the USA this is frequently anti-science creationism.

    Assuming their motivation is not to proselytize or preach, I do see this as a possible opportunity to use religion in a positive way.

    That assumption would fly in the face of their stated objectives!

    There are some beneficial aspects of religion and I fear that enthusiastic Atheists may be too eager to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”.

    Those Christians who present to children as commendable role models, do not push their religion or evangelism in the face of others, and do not break the laws and codes of conduct of their employment!

    Decent role models, do not pose as suggesting that some specific religion has a monopoly of morality.
    They simply are good for goodness sake, without wearing pretentious religious badges!

    There is no baby of value in the example of this bunch, but there may well be less fanatical religious teachers of merit!

    It is important in challenging the damage caused by religions to accurately target particular problems and abuses, rather than making vague generalisations which are likely to aggravate those not involved.
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  • I had teachers 40 years ago putting their arrogant faces in mine and insult me because I didn’t believe there is a ghost of a two thousand year old dead person in my brain who talks to me. It was demeaning and insulting child abuse, and it had absolutely nothing to do with morality.
    Child abuse like this is NOT moral, it it the act of a perverse mind. I would not allow my own children to be subject to the insults from perverts.
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  • 14
    Ted Foureagles says:

    My nephew, who is now 12, has attended 4 different US schools. He spent two years on scholarship at a very expensive private Christian school and the following two at the local South Carolina public school, catching the bus at the bottom of the driveway. Religious indoctrination was much more in play at the public school that had “In God We Trust” at the entrance and pictures of a blue-eyed Jesus in almost every room. There was one non-white child in a student body of 2,200. She was adopted, and had white parents. At the Christian school the students were from wealthy, diverse backgrounds, and so the school couldn’t afford to offend their benefactors by pushing a single religion even though it was written into their charter. Yeah, they had Bible classes but also comparative religion classes — something unthinkable, and arguably illegal by some minds, at the public school. He now attends a charter school an hour away, and will be traveling with his class to Turkey this summer if the place hasn’t blown itself up by then.

    }}}}
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  • There wouldn’t be much of a problem if they genuinely imparted the moral teachings of Jesus (without mentioning Jesus or any hint of woo-woo). Morality doesn’t need supernatural tales to back it up. You shouldn’t need the promise of rewards or fear of punishment in the afterlife to be a good person.

    What are the odds that your typical “I’m-not-a-proselytiser” proselytiser will also be a gun nut; solidly behind US invasions of, well, anywhere; and in favour of tax cuts for the rich, staunchly against “socialised medicine” and “hand outs” in general.

    Just where does that morality come from?

    I’m going out on a limb here, but I reckon Jesus (if he existed) would be all in favour of socialised medicine, and any and all poor relief programs, and for the rich to bear the brunt of the cost…
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