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