"After School Fun! YouthWorks will be hosting large outdoor activities at (your school) after classes are done! So if you enjoy sports, crafts and games, join us each day starting Tuesday, June 4th!"
Now doesn't that just sound wonderful? Well of course it does and my son was eager to stay the additional three hours to play. On about the third day he comes to me to tell me he no longer wants to go and asks me to start picking him up at noon.
Curious of course, I ask him why he doesn't want to attend the after school activities. He tells me about what happens toward the end of this alleged fun filled time. Prayer, bibles and proselytizing.
What?! What about the separation of church and state? My kids go to a public school which is supposed to be sans religion -of any kind- that means no Christianity, no Judaism, no Islam, no Buddhism, no Hinduism, no Paganism, no nothing. (I just love how my spell check is trying to make me capitalize the first two religions I named and trying to make me not capitalize the rest of them...anyway as I roll my eyes I will continue.) This YouthWorks group is certainly not without religion.
I had never heard about YouthWorks. So when I first saw the flyer my son brought home no alarms went off in my head. I mean come on? The name its self does not denote any kind of religious intonation. Maybe I am supposed to have just known who they are, but I didn't. Go take a look at their website. Right there at the top it says "YouthWorks....Be Like Jesus" Then you can look a little lower down to see the words "Life changing Christ-centered mission trips."
What I find even more amazing is all these teenagers that are assisting with this 'after school program' are costing their parents $279.00 a kid to go on these trips and proselytize to my children, AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL. Fine, if they do this crap at a christian school where people send their kids to be educated about the faith THEY CHOOSE, but my kids don't go to a christian school they go to a PUBLIC SCHOOL. Again...a PUBLIC SCHOOL that is supposed to be a religion free zone!
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't care what religion you are. If you are happy and you are not harming anyone else, good for you, fine, have at it. If you want to offer some kind of after school activity or other community program, Terrific! HOWEVER, DO NOT attempt to convert my kids to your faith!
What gets to me the most about this is the flyers that were sent home say nothing whatsoever about there being any kind of religious discussion or anything of the sort. It just mentions 'sports' and 'crafts' and 'games.' It really rather reminds me of a drug pusher giving his product away for free to get a person addicted so they come back for more and then are made pay for it. Or even a kidnapper luring a child with promises of cakes and candy. Is that too harsh of me? Tough!
If you are not trying to be sneaky about introducing my kids to Christianity then say so on the flyer. Don't just all of a sudden bring it up to my kids BEHIND MY BACK while they are in your care and unable to leave. I am one pissed off Mommy right now.
Let's reverse the situation. How likely do you think it would be that a group of another faith could get away with the same thing? Can you imagine no one saying a word if an Islamic group attempted to introduce the concept of prayer rugs and facing east to pray five times a day to Allah? Or what about me? What if I wanted to introduce guided meditation and spell craft to the kids at the public school? Would I even be allowed to get a foot in the door? I really very much sincerely doubt it.