Apparently, Minnesota's own toxic metal preacher and school speaker Bradlee Dean isn't good enough for school assemblies in the North State State any more.
Instead, Caledonia High School booked Keith Becker, the local paper reports in Controversial foundation speaker comes to Caledonia. Managing editor Daniel E. McGonigle writes in the Argus:
“We should’ve done a better job in vetting the speaker,” superintendent Ben Barton said regarding the speaker who visited the school on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with a penchant for walking the line between the separation of church and state.
Several parents upset by portions of the speech called The Argus to share their concerns, wondering if this was a school sanctioned event. . . .
Read the rest at the Argus. At the Wall of Separation blog published by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rokia Hassanein writes in Deceptive Evangelists Invade Minn. Public School:
The controversial fundamentalist Christian group known as the Todd Becker Foundation (TBF) is at again – this time, visiting and speaking at a Minnesota public school assembly, a local newspaper reported.
According to a story in the Caledonia Argus, Keith Becker, who created the Nebraska-based evangelical foundation in memory of his late brother Todd, spoke to Caledonia High School students in a Nov. 30 assembly that troubled many parents. . . .
But the community reaction said otherwise. According to the report, Becker’s presentation had “some students and community members feeling uplifted and moved, while others felt put out and insulted,” and parents questioned why the school agreed to host the assembly.
It comes as no shock that many students felt excluded or insulted. The TBF has a history of proselytizing and spewing homophobic venom. Its main goal is to evangelize public school students.
Time and time again, TBF has proven to not abide by church-state separation. In 2010, Americans United warned TBF about its unconstitutional practices, noting that TBF “can be held responsible for infringing on the religious neutrality of public schools.”
But TBF didn’t stop. In fact, its speakers continue to appear at public school assemblies while masking its activities as issue-based talks that tackle student struggles such as alcoholism and drug problems. The group’s website notes that it has held assemblies in 300 different schools in 11 states.
How does this organization keep worming its way into public schools? It’s actually quite sneaky. The foundation’s reps offer talks on secular subjects relevant to teens, but they quickly pivot to fundamentalist fear-mongering.
The group often holds an assembly for students during the day that includes religious content. But while there speakers plug another event at the school in the evening. The latter event is voluntary but is usually promoted by the school, and students are encouraged to attend. There they get a hellfire sermon. . . .
. . . if you get wind of a group like this coming to the public schools of your town, report it to us.
Bluestem agrees. Churches can invite anyone they wish (but need to accept that criticism of extremist speakers is just that: criticism, not censorship), while public schools (remember Bradlee Dean in Dunkerton IA?) and publicly-funded charter schools (remember TiZA?) should stick to secular material.
Photo: Gustave Doré's illustrations of Lucifer, King of Hell, and such from Dante's Inferno scared the heck out of our editor when she was a wee schoolgirl growing up in the Minnesota River Valley. One auntie also gave her a Bible illustrated with Dore's fabulous plates. We are uncertain whether this present brought us closer to Jesus, but studying the details in the pictures gave us less time to get into trouble.
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