COMMENTARY–Allowing Christian youth pastors and youth-group leaders onto school properties during lunch hours is nothing new. Some thirty-five years ago, I remember being hounded by a youth-group leader from a local church during lunch at my middle school. He and the others, adults all, encouraged students from their churches to introduce other students to them and ask us to join them for lunch. After that, you couldn’t get rid of them. As a typical young teenager, I didn’t understand that I could complain about this harassment. After all, these people were allowed to join us for lunch–they were guests.
According to a story by Max Seigle at KTHV, Conway School Disrict in Arkansas, until very recently, allowed youth pastors to visit the school during lunch. When a parent complained about the practice to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the visits were temporarily banned while the school board reviews their policies.
Why only temporarily? Isn't the violation obvious here?
Those who think it’s just fine to allow Christian pastors into our public schools to talk to children are generally of two views.
The first group is naive enough to believe that these pastors are only there to talk to youth from their particular churches. Of course, if any other student wants to join in, they’d be welcomed. And naturally, they see nothing wrong with a little sharing of the gospel with a teenager who might want to listen--never mind how their parents might feel about it.
And this outlook beg the question, why do they need to speak to their members at school? Why are'nt their youth group meetings enough?
The second group believes that we’ve taken their Christian God out of schools (imagine such a fragile deity) and they have to stop letting the atheists and the ACLU push them around. They talk about bringing God to “our” children in the schools, oblivious to the fact that not all children in this country are Christians and they have parents of their own who might want to raise them in a different, or no, religion. These people don’t understand the difference between freedom of religion and a “freedom” to push their religion onto other people’s children.
Some Christians try their best to be liberal-minded by claiming that these youth pastors should certainly be allowed to talk to the kids at school–and so should leaders of any other religions. They must instinctively know that the only religious adherents in this country that actively proselytize are Christians. It’s only Christians who want prayers led in schools. It’s only Christians who want "holy" books available in schools. And it’s only Christians who have the nerve to send pastors onto school properties to recruit young minds into their cult.
We must stop allowing adherents of the Christian religion to use our public schools as culling grouds from which to lead other people’s children into their churches.