Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fundie "adopt-a-school" programs

Natalie Garcia of the Visalia Times-Delta asks the question, Do church-run "adopt-a-school" programs cross the line?

Five churches have informally "adopted" Visalia Unified School District elementary schools, donating time, money, energy — and Christian values.

Congregations help out by donating backpacks filled with school supplies, assisting at school carnivals, holding Character Counts! award breakfasts and offering free summer and after-school programs.

Some of these activities include Bible study.

I have a simple method to combat fundie attempts to ensnare my child. I screen his activities. No after school bible studies disguised as basketball camp for my boy. Nope, he gets to come home and play Crackdown on X-Box Live until his eyes bleed.

The issue here is not so much a Separation of Church and State matter as it is opportunistic evangelizing. Providing gifts with one hand and a Bible with the other is a sound strategy for injecting Christian moral values into our school systems. What they are doing is not against the law. They donate needed school supplies, they rent unused school property, and they provide needed supervised recreation to children. It comes with a price, but everyone understands that. And that is the problem...

Fundies are hunting for converts among innocent children. They happen to be the children of other religions. It is ironic - Mormons, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims - they are the ones who are pissed about this opportunistic bottom feeding. And they should be.


DM said...

We left the Jehovah's Witnesses a few years ago. They would have been pissed at the "opportunistic bottomfeeding" as well.

Last year, I had this problem with my 9 yr old daughter (regarding the basketball camp thing). Her best friend was going to "basketball camp" which ended up being run by southern baptists. They would practice for an hour and then do bible study. Sheesh. When I told my daughter that we really didn't want her to go because they did "bible study" at the camp, she looked at me and said, "What? Can't we just play basketball?" That's my girl!

Because we didn't catch the religious angle early on, we missed the sign ups for the local parks & rec league, but we'll hit that this year.

aidan said...

There is a predatory aspect to their proselytizing of kids. Often as you rightly mention the indoctrination is presented under the guise of a social or sports activity.

I don't have first hand knowledge of the situation in the US, but some of the stories I've read - including viewing the film "Jesus Camp" - make the agenda clear.

Kathleen said...

On the other hand, there are Christians who serve just for the sake of serving, and whether people become converts or not isn't the point. The point is loving and serving others.