Last week, when a narrow, all-Christian majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the Town Board of Greece, New York could use its public meetings to exclusively promote Christianity using prayers that directly insulted and denigrated non-Christians, it was a signal to aggressive Christian groups all across the USA: Let the Crusade begin.
And lo, it has begun.
Down in Tennessee, the blending of church and state has always been a problem, but with the Greece v. Galloway ruling, things are getting even worse. the Shelby County Schools – a public school district – holds a debate awards program every year, recognizing the work of public school students who have participated in local debate competitions.
Shelby County public school teachers confirm that their district’s school buildings have auditoriums large enough to host the awards program. Nonethless, there has been a murky arrangement between the district and a local megachurch, the Germantown Baptist Church. The church hosts the awards program, and is able to use the opportunity to try to recruit new members from the gathering of students and their families.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that local government bodies can be used by churches to engage in aggressive proselytization of certain religions to the detriment of others, the Germantown Baptist Church has decided to take its exploitation of the debate awards program to a new level. This year, when families gathered with their children at the program, a preacher from the Germantown Baptist Church insisted on delivering a long religious sermon. The topic of the sermon: Non-Christians are “the enemy”.
There were many non-Christian students at the gathering. It was, after all, a public school event. They were forced to make a choice: Listen to a preacher condemn them because of their religious beliefs, or walk away from the event without receiving the awards they had earned.
Parents have written messages to the school district and to the Germantown Baptist Church complaining about the preacher’s conduct, but there is little hope of preventing similar incidents in the future. After all, the Supreme Court has ruled that such coercive denigration of non-Christians at events held by local governments is a valuable American “tradition”.
This scenario is now being repeated across America. Thanks to Greece v. Galloway, it’s now open season on religious minorities in the United States.