Life in a small town like Conway, is similar to living in a small family. The difference is a small family is not a choice, but a result of those who created it. Living in a small town, leaves one to the mercy of those who have exerted their control, and who wield the political power and drive the policies of the city. In a town which is over run by religious zealots, there is a tendency for them to seek and hold offices of power and drive the policies which control the city. Of course, this is dependent upon the dominant religion, and or whether they share some or any theological positions. Where they do, they can agree and work together. Where they do not share these positions, there is friction.
The Catholics of our little town (and many others), work to send their children to Catholic school, and insure their ability to proselytize at will, free of the restraints of the U.S. Constitution. The Catholics choose to send their children to Catholic schools, so they can combine theological training with general education. It is a great system, which has worked well, despite all the adult Catholics who complain about nuns whacking knuckles with rulers. No one has the right to interfere in their teachings, general and theological in nature, as they have chosen the legal path to proselytize to their children and keep them in the fold. They do this through the many men and women who have dedicated their lives, honorably to the advancement of the theology they espouse.
The Protestants choose to send their children to public school, which is supported and funded by public funds, through local property taxation and money allotted through the Federal government. The difference is, they also want to proselytize in the schools, despite the fact all the children are not of the same faith. Locally in Conway, and some 40 other cities around the nation, they proselytize by visiting those they have pulled into their fold, during their lunch time at school. It has become an issue in our town, because unlike the Catholics who preach to their flock, on their property, the Protestants want the freedom to preach to the world, and in this case a captive audience, all of whom may not share the same faith. They call themselves evangelical. Many call them talibangelicals because they want to enforce their religion, not unlike the Taliban of the Muslims of other lands. By using children as proselytizers, they can send them into the schools, where they can speak with their friends in private, and small groups, spreading their theology sneaking under the rules which have been honored for years of separation of church and state. This rule is debated heatedly in many places, but its purpose is to protect the freedom of religion of all persons. Our public schools have children of many religions in them. Unlike the 1940’s and 1950’s, when our public schools were overwhelmingly Protestant, now we have children of uncounted religions, some of which are even considered evil by one theology or another. Still, the Protestants insist they have the right to proselytize in public schools, hold public prayers (in their faith) in the schools (and other public places) despite the separation rules which were put in place to protect people of all religions from having another theology forced upon them. This is akin to cult behavior. Cults try to bring in parents to their theology and then by the will of family rules, the children are included too. Since the children can maintain and carry on private relationships in school, they can proselytize almost at will, and are encouraged to do so by certain groups/cults. It is an action which is hard to monitor or prevent because of the nature of personal relationships in a public school setting. This is done here, under the disguise of “requested counseling”, by members of the cult in question. They are told, anyone who opposes them or these ideas are the “enemy”. The enemy of them, and the enemy of God. They form cliques which grow the more they proselytize. Once the cliques are larger, they can use peer pressure to influence, kids who are vulnerable and feel outcast to join in, and become a part of the clique people they know and or admire are part of. It is an insidious method, used on the vulnerable minds of children who may have parents who are not aware of these actions, since it does not show up on the report card, only in the changes they may or may not detect in their children. It is unfair and is an abuse of family and personal rights for any group to use these methods to gather converts.
Proselytizing in Conway Public Schools must stop. If the Protestants want to have theological and general educational schools, they should follow the example of the Catholic Church, using the people who have dedicated their lives to promote their faith. Not by misusing public institutions to undermine the will of parents whose children are subject to these activities. Take your religion out of our public schools, and do your work to proselytize after school, on your own property and in a legal and unchallengeable situation.
"A cult is a religion with no power" Tom Wolfe