In England, where I grew up, all schools are required by law to have an act of worship of “wholly or mainly Christian character” every day. Many of them don’t, although in the 1970s, we had an assembly to praise our Christian God every morning. Those of Jewish faith were not required to attend.
By contrast, public schools in the U.S. must follow the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. One clause gives citizens the right to freely exercise religious convictions; the other prohibits government (including taxpayer-funded public schools) from giving favorable treatment to one particular religion.
That’s important: adults cannot establish ministries within public schools with the goal of making converts to their religion.
Now comes evidence that in thousands of public schools across America, children are being trained by adults to push Christianity.
Every School Every Student (ESES) is an organization backed by around 60 evangelical initiatives and church denominations around the country.
According to their website,
Everyschool.com is dedicated to the millions of students, youth leaders and concerned adults who’s heart desire is to reach out to the high school and middle school students in their communities. We want to help you get started in praying for your school and reaching out to students. Whether you are a teen or an adult, everyschool.com has something for you.
The campus is made up of a tapestry of many different students, all of whom have the need to experience the truth of Jesus Christ and be loved unconditionally. Christian students on campus are in a strategic position to communicate this love and truth. Here is how to pray for students:
This is followed by directions on how to pray for students.
Are you creeped out yet? If not, just check on the interactive map, and you’ll see that ESES has already taken over in thousands of U.S. middle and high schools. (They draw the line at 7th grade.) You can also watch any number of videos, excellently produced, where peppy teens talk ardently about the 67,000 middle and high schools in this country, with 25 million students, just waiting to be converted. Their plan is to establish missionary operations within all schools.
Ready for more?
You know about the Gideons placing Bibles in hotel rooms across the U.S.? Of course, adults are not allowed to hand out religious material on public school grounds, but the students can do it.
Enter The Life Book Movement (TLBM). Again from the ESES website:
Founded by The Gideons International, TLBM is an innovative strategy to reach high school students with God’s Word. TLBM works through churches and their students to saturate high schools with God’s Word.
The Life Book Movement is best described as a short-term mission trip in which high school students get the opportunity to offer the gift of The Life Book to their classmates during school.
The Life Book’s unique design engages searching high school students with the truth of God’s Word as they are introduced to Jesus Christ. Using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins, readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever.
According the website, more than 5 million of these religious tracts have been handed out on school campuses nationwide. The goal is to get them into the hands of 17.5 million high school students.
Exploiting a legal loophole, adults are using children to spread their message in schools. This is not a fight for religious freedom; it is a fight for one particular version of evangelical Christianity. Not even every Christian denomination is involved in this kind of activity.
This group sees public education as secular education, and therefore intrinsically hostile to their religion. They are unwilling to accept that we live in a very diverse society. At the same time, creationists have stepped up their tactics and are also promoting religion in public schools under the guise of science.
Just like Mitt Romney, they would not be sorry to see public schools disappear entirely.
Not only should public schools not be in the business of promoting particular religious beliefs, but they should also be protecting their students from being coerced by others to accept such beliefs.
Can’t these ideologues have the decency to allow children their childhood unencumbered and free of proselytizing?
What do you think?
Related Care2 Coverage
Photo Credit: thinkstock