June 19, 2024

Respect Public Schools: Public Schools Are Not Mission Fields

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As Lifewise pushes similar laws for Ohio and casts their eyes on other states, the website Respect Public Schools offers some warning and explanation of how the group works.

LifeWise Academy is a “released time religious instruction (RTRI)” program. LifeWise facilitates bible classes for public school students, during the school day. The classes can not be held on school property, the classes can not be paid for using public funds, the parent/guardian must sign up for their child and no core classes can be missed. Schools can not promote or discourage attendance in the program.

The supreme court ruled with Zorach v. Clauson(1952) that RTRI is legal if the guidelines are always followed. Other religions have used this court case to attend religious services or prayer during the school day. LifeWise has changed the spirit of the law and has turned public schools into a mission field for their religious affiliations. The lack of public knowledge about the RTRI and that it has been in use for so long is because the religious institutions that have used it to facilitate keeping their religion in their personal culture, have not used RTRI to evangelize and treat the public schools as mission fields.

LifeWise has created a marketing platform with public schools at the center of the plan. LifeWise Academy uses public records request to get the names, addresses, and ages of students at a school. Then they can market LifeWise to them directly. LifeWise has set up an entire organization for the sole purpose of marketing religion to “unchurched” people. This is a concept unique to sects of religious followers and is not how all religions choose to operate.

LifeWIse Academy has a document called “Difficult Questions From Students”. This document is to help LifeWise staff when students ask diffucult questions. One of the topics discusses how to repsond to students whose parents do not follow LifeWise’s religious teachings. LifeWise tells staff they should tell children to obey God before their parents. I can’t emphasise how dangerous this is to tell children. Students are sent to a school, that is legally required for them to be there, then they are taken to a bible instruction class during that time period, and could be told that when given the choice of obeying God or their parents, they should obey God. Students will make the connection that God is the church or ministry, which is LifeWise. Telling children to not follow their parents authority is wrong.

This is what indoctrination really looks like. Should it be part of the school day? Read the full post here. 

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