A group of fundamentalist Christians is being allowed into high schools to conduct assemblies whose explicit goal is the proselytizing of their interpretation of Christianity, warns the secular advocacy group Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The FFRF this week announced that it had sent out letters to 350 different school districts warning it about letting the Todd Becker Foundation organize student assemblies on their campuses.
“The Todd Becker Foundation targets high school students, seeking to convert them into fundamentalist Christianity,” FFRF writes. “The foundation is a Christian ministry that travels throughout the Midwest putting on assemblies in public schools.”
The Todd Becker Foundation’s website says that its assemblies are “based off the scripture Matthew 7:13,” which states that “the highway to destruction is wide and the road that leads to it is easy for the many who choose this way… the gateway to life is small and the narrow road that leads to it is hard, but only a few ever choose this way.”
The foundation is named after a teenage boy named Todd Becker, whose “potential and future were cut short when he was killed in an alcohol-related car accident as just a Senior in high school,” the group says.
According to the FFRF, the group holds two separate assemblies in schools — one that appears broadly to be teaching students about making proper life choices, and a second one at night that is more overtly religious in nature. The group uses the first assembly to identify students who seem most receptive to conversion, and then invites those students to attend the second assembly at night.
“After both the in-school and evening events, students are encouraged to sit down with foundation staff members and local clergy one-on-one to discuss their religious beliefs,” writes FFRF. “During these one-on-one conversations, the foundation ‘shares with the student the gospel of Jesus Christ and points them to the hope of a new beginning found in Christ.’ Not only do foundation members discuss their religious beliefs with students, but students are asked to profess to these strangers a personal decision ‘to surrender their life to Christ, or to walk away from Him.'”