Times have been rough in Panama City, Florida lately. A series of shootings have put residents on alert, including students who will soon be heading back to school.
But when they arrive on campus, more than 30 Christian pastors will be waiting for them, validating that old political canard about never letting a serious crisis go to waste.
More than 30 local pastors are taking the fight to the classrooms, working with Bay District School Faculty, to help students who have experienced trauma over the summer. “The churches want to do this and the churches want to get involved. They want to be there the first day of school. They want to be there and be available for the students to talk with if they want to. Just as a recognition of support,” Bay County Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.
During the first few weeks of school, pastors will be on campus, offering support to those who are related to the suspects or the victims in the latest gun violence. “We are going to walk them though this difficult valley with a good solid word, faith and encouragement. A positive voice versus all the negative voices,” Family of God Baptist Church Pastor Kenric Conway said.
If anyone sincerely believes these pastors want access to children out of the goodness of their hearts — and not because at least some part of them wants to sell these kids on the idea of Jesus — then I have a perpetual motion machine I’d like to sell you. It’s irrelevant that the program is voluntary for students; it’s an obvious endorsement of Christianity by the district. (Will they allow atheists and Muslims and Wiccans access to these kids, too, even if they’re not trained as grief counselors? I’m sure many would volunteer.)
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is already working to put a stop to this, sending a letter to Superintendent Bill Husfelt yesterday:
… It is inappropriate for a public school and its employees to give religious organizations, preachers, pastors, and the like access to public school students. Granting Christians this access to students during the school day suggests that Bay District Schools unlawfully prefers not only for religion over non-religion, but Christianity over other faiths.
Violating the Constitution with this program is not a way to “make the kids feel comfortable coming back to school and let them know the community loves them and cares about them.” If that is your goal, seek out child psychologists or grief counselors trained to handle the needs of children, not trained to proselytize for their religion.
Who needs child psychologists when you have Jesus to stop the bullets, right?
(Thanks to Dennis for the link!)