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This fundamentalist Christian group is being allowed into public schools to convert other people’s children

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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.

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“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.'”

Read FFRF’s full report at this link.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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