Worst Field Trip Idea Ever January 21, 2009

Worst Field Trip Idea Ever

Think back to the field trips you took when you were in high school — maybe you saw a production of a Shakespeare play or you went to a museum.

Now what if your school’s idea of a field trip was to attend a “Just for Jesus” rally? This is a rally that has in the past “featured Christian music, skits dramatizing the effect of being saved, and sermons from local preachers.”

That’s a possibility that the Ouachita Parish School Board (in Louisiana) will take into consideration at the next board meeting next Tuesday. (Apparently, there’s discussion to be had over this. Competent school officials would’ve just said “No” right off the bat…)

This is not a field trip for members of a Christian club at the school (that would actually be ok if all clubs at that school had the same opportunities). As far as we know, this is a field trip for everyone, taking place during school hours.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Check out the same district’s history with church/state issues:

… In 2000, Americans United and the Louisiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the school district on behalf of families who disagreed with the school’s policy of broadcasting Christian prayers over the intercom.

In 2006, the school board approved a policy watering down the teaching of evolution; last year, school officials engineered votes on graduation prayers, saying the majority should rule.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is not suing over the field trip — not yet. But they are warning the school board not to go through with this.

In a letter to the school board (PDF), AU lawyers tell the school that this is essentially a bad idea.

I’d also like to know who proposed the trip and what the motivation was behind it.

In the meantime, until we hear any more about this, give yourself a good scare and check out the Just for Jesus website.

(via Proud Atheists)

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  • Becky

    Well… I went to a christian high school, so one of the field trips I had to go on was a Billy Graham museum. I remember being chided for not even knowing who he was. That was one of the worst field trips ever; it was so boring!

  • PrimeNumbers

    I went on field trips to Christian monasteries and cathedrals. But in England, there are a lot of Church schools. Beautiful buildings built for dodgy reasons.

    But this is all about pure indoctrination.

    In the USA it should be that “if you take public money, you don’t get to do religion.” very simple. Yet again another example of the lack of morality christians posses.

  • mikespeir

    I’m glad this sort of thing is becoming less common. Back in the late Iron Age it wasn’t strange at all. We had one public high school assembly that started off singing secular songs and playing trumpets. (In fact, they were excellent trumpeters.) But that was just to put us off our guard. Then, all at once, they were singing Christian songs and at last offered us Jesus. It was weird. I was already a Pentecostal Christian and even so it didn’t feel quite right to me. Then there was another assembly where they didn’t even try to fool us first. They took popular secular songs and put Christian words to them. I still wonder how they skirted copyright laws.

  • Arnaud

    I don’t know if it’s just me but these types of pictures seriously creep me out. And, just to make matters worse, look at their part of their description, “A testament to the hunger of students for God to be real in their lives.” Christians can laugh all they want at cults, but their style of believing isn’t much different.

  • Woody Tanaka

    I think its time we stop local school boards and make it a merit board on the national level. To the right wingers who will complain, we point to this nonsense and say, “You had your chance with federalism and blew it with the religious shenanigans.”

  • i’d say “unbelievable”, but it’s not. can you imagine the uproar if Just for Mohammed Day was announced?

    That’s the standard to me. If you would have a problem with another religion, you shouldn’t be pushing activities for your own. you want your kids to get jesus? fine, take them to church.

  • And what is it with crazy religious people and crappy web sites?

  • Polly

    Big surprise coming from Louisiana. /sarcasm
    If they’re going to teach that evolution is “controversial” then why not wheelbarrow kids to Jesus?

  • Joanna

    Yikes. That WAS scary. The mission statement of “Just for Jesus.Inc” states that it’s made up of volunteers from “throughout the Body of Christ”….creeeeeepy.

  • Ben

    Most of you will probably enjoy this bit of satire about creationists, from the most recent issue of Free Inquiry:


  • happycynic

    The school has “parish” in the name, right? So is it a public school, or a religious one? If it’s religious there’s no problem, if it’s public then people should throw a fit.

  • Siamang

    Parish means county in Louisiana.

    It’s a public school.

  • RobL

    They come voluntrily, by the thousands – during the school day and receive the present day touch of Jesus.

    Thousands come during the school day?!! What the hell?! I think I hear banjo music in the background. (The theme from Deliverance)

  • Kimberly

    I went to a Catholic grade school and they had a big meeting of sorts for all the Catholic schools in Omaha. It was weird. I don’t remember much (a defense mechanism) but I do remember we chanted, they preached and there was even a rapping priest who rapped to us about sex.

    On the plus side…we got out of school early!

  • chancelikely

    To a certain subset of evangelical Christian (and for whatever reason, this subset is overrepresented in school boards in Louisiana and Arkansas), Jesus really does trump everything, including “doing your job” and “acting in a way that won’t get your school district sued, costing taxpayers (i.e. your own damn neighbors) millions of dollars”.

    At least there’s John Freshwater in Ohio and the Dover, PA, school board circa 2005 so that the rest of the country doesn’t feel left out of the sectarian craziness.

  • ssns

    “They come voluntrily, by the thousands”

    Huh? Sounds like this folks need to concentrate more on the school and less on the Jeebus.

  • WTF???? School trip to attend a “Just for Jesus” rally, ok, can I bring my “I worship Satan” or even better “Jesus and I smoked pot” shirt?

  • SarahH

    To quote Shane, when sent to a fundamentalist summer school on the show Weeds:

    I’d like to solve the mystery of a school that receives federal funding yet blatantly presents a religious curriculum in direct violation of church/state separation mandate.

  • Jacquie

    Oh my gosh, this is where I went to high school (West Monroe). I was there from 1998-2002, and I remember going from prayers on Monday mornings to moments of silence.

    I just yesterday posted a comment about my Louisiana schooling experience here –> http://skepticblog.org/2009/01/19/louisiana-we-have-a-problem/

    My time there was before I started calling myself an atheist and got into the whole secular movement thing, so I guess things would have been much different if I had been then the person I am today. At the time, I basically just dealt with it and was glad that there were a few reasonable teachers in the building, at least.

    It’s pretty scary.

  • Jay

    I went to West Monroe High School and parish is not in the name, but yes it’s a public school. Although this means it recieves state funding, don’t get your young, undereducated brain too worked up Polly.
    West Monroe is one of, and in certain areas the top high school in Louisiana where many of it’s programs are concerned. Guess where some of the money for THOSE programs comes from! Being that the majority of N.E. LA is of Evangelical religion, most field trips of this nature don’t offend many, if any, students. If it does, then don’t go. However, if this particular student happens to be a choir member, etc., then he/she shouldn’t expect a free ride down to Baton Rouge on that nice bus with friends when they make All – State, as West Monroe always does. That’s the STATE’S gas!!!!
    By the way, keep your dull – witted remarks to yourself. I hold a BA in English Literature. I see you conveniently forgot to list where you’re from.

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