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Lying For Jesus [Part III – The Sneak-Attack Baptism]

Thursday September 10, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

That’s Mark 16, verse 15 (KJV). It also happens to be the impetus behind Christians going out and knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday mornings. As bad as that is, I don’t have a problem with it. I think if they’re that compelled by an ancient book that can’t even maintain internal consistency, then bring it on.

What I’m not ok with is lying to gain converts. Deceiving children, no less. Lying to parents and the children in order to get a few more baptisms under your belt. I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t keep a scorecard, or a running tally on what church gets the highest number of baptisms or converts.

Last month (August 26, 2009) Breckinridge County High School (Kentucky) football coach Scott Mooney led a group of players from their school’s football team to see what he told the parents and children would be a “motivational speaker” and a steak dinner. What Mr. Mooney failed to mention to anyone was the fact that this “motivational speaker” was the pastor of his church, Ron Davis (Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church). And the “steak dinner” was, in fact, a mass baptism and the teammates were to accept Jesus Christ as their “Lord and Savior” as a way to, as coach Mooney said, “bring the team together.”

So coach Mooney used peer pressure to get all of those teammates baptized in his church. He lured them under a false premise of going to see a “motivational speaker.” Not only this, but he used a public school bus, with the expressed permission of superintendent of the district, Janet Meeks.

What seems to be at issue here is the fact that believers take Mark 16:15 and use it as an excuse to do whatever is in their power to force their religion on everyone they can, honestly or not, willfully or not. If you have to lie, cheat and deceive to get a few more converts, then all the better for the receiving church.

Thankfully, one of the teammates parents is considering legal action against the school district. A lawyer, Bill Sharp, from the ACLU was contacted and he said that…

The message conveyed to the students is there’s an official endorsement.

And also that…

There’s certainly a coercive element. He’s in a position of authority.

I think one of the biggest tragedies of all wasn’t even the fact that these kids were corralled into a big baptism fest. The biggest problem for me was the fact that when one of the kids was asked by his parents, after returning from the trip, what baptism actually means, he hadn’t a clue. This entire process was nothing more than a “getting saved” assembly line. Pump ‘em through the system and get them into the fold as quickly as possible, before they realize what’s happened to them.

I think this is a big problem with the mentality of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. They’ve got this mindset that they have to get everyone saved as quickly as possible. They just need to get as many people  as possible to say a certain prayer as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not they understand what’s going on. The important part is that the person says the words just right.

Anyway, if all goes well and the parents follow through with their legal action, hopefully any faculty involved in this incident will be fired, including the coach and the superintendent.

The public school system is not a place to push your religion on children. And more importantly, without permission from their parents – and that means ALL of the parents… not just the Jesus lovers of the group.

My conclusion? Believers, stick to knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday morning. Keep your religion out of the school system. Also, Mark 16:15 doesn’t condone lying, cheating or deceiving in order to follow through with that verse. Remember the 10 Commandments? Bearing false witness?

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  1. Saturday September 12, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    This was a blatant deception on the part of the coach. My biggest problem is not with the faith of the coach or the pastor’s desire to convert the children, but the tactic they undertook was despicable. They openly used the phrases “motivational speaker” and “bringing the team together” to lead the children into a spiritual revival meeting. If only the parents and children were informed about the meeting and were given an option to respectfully decline this invitation, it would have turned out okay. It is precisely the religious’ attitude to do whatever it takes to save souls that leads to fanatical behaviors. I once heard “it is not the belief that is the problem. The problems is we tend we ACT on those beliefs.”

  2. crazeeaz
    Sunday October 11, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    I’m sorry. My God is bigger than bs about motivational speakers and doesn’t need subterfuge to gain converts; he doesn’t even need Christian to gain converts. So, I am all apologies. I apologize that there are people that use sin to “convert” (there was no actual conversion in this story) others to their own brand of legalism that they call faith. I apologize that you’ve been burned by the church. I, as a Christian, apologize for Christians.

  3. Sean
    Saturday September 18, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    “The important part is that the person says the words just right”

    As a committed Christian, this grieves me deeply (ok, honestly – I guess I’ve been callused by modern evangelism tactics so focused on a isle walked, a hand raised, a sinner’s prayer prayed, etc, etc, etc that it’s not really grief, more so disgust).

    It’s truly saddening how so many to see how many Christians rush to get people to make emotional “decisions for Christ” without even explaining much about why they really need His atoning sacrifice (i.e. many have no concept of what sin is or the depth of it’s impact). The result is that many, if not most, of these “converts” join the church as another social network, hang in the Christian ghetto, don’t follow Jesus’ call to repent of their sins (at least not the internal sins which aren’t so evident to their new religious friends), and ultimately end up as a large part of the reason in which outsiders condemn the church as a bunch of hypocrites (the other part is unbelievers misunderstanding of believers quest for righteous living – it’s a journey made my sinful, broken, messed up people – myself included – who are all having different areas of sin illuminated in their own path at different times and struggling to overcome besetting ones… but I digress).

    “The public school system is not a place to push your religion on children. …Keep your religion out of the school system.”

    It’d be nice if the public school system could be neutral grounds of merely educating students on basic, objective, need to know skills; however, none of us are void of a world view. As such, closely held viewpoints will continue to be “pushed” in all education systems. It’s just merely a matter of who’s world view will be pushed for any given society – and that of the groups who yield the most power and lobbies the most effectively will prevail. As of the past few decades, the dogmas of the naturalists and homosexuals have nailed their stake deep into the
    ground of fertile, impressionable minds through our public education system. Whereas Bible believing leaders implemented and maintained a conservative world view within educational curriculum to “push” down the throats of children for much of our country’s history, the tide has turned and naturalists now “push” their agenda down our children’s throats.

    Time will tell, but I for one do not have a bright hope for America’s tomorrow.

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