I wrote a pretty extensive post earlier this summer about Vacation Bible School, known to many as “Bible Camp” or “Church Camp.” These are week-long (or summer-long) camps designed to keep kids busy and indoctrinate during the long summer months.
In that previous post, I showed how many local churches here in Central PA were employing curricula from such extremist groups as Answers in Genesis and Living Waters/Way of the Master, groups intent on interrupting science education to promote their fervent creationist nonsense. These camps target kids as young as 3 years old.
As I was poking around The Daily Item yesterday, I found a story about another local VBS that shows just how benign such indoctrination can be. My point is not to paint these Sunbury folks as extreme or malicious, but merely to demonstrate how much privilege religion has in our communities and what easy access religious leaders have to our youth.
Maggie Kurtz woke up one day with a vision and decided to change the rules.
Kurtz, 33, of Sunbury, is the director of vacation Bible school for the First Baptist Church, in Sunbury, and she decided it was time to get away from traditional methods and get in the minds of children and help teach them about the past, while having fun in the present.
“I wanted to have the children take a trip into the Egyptian culture,” Kurtz said. “When the children arrive, they enter Egypt.”
To be honest, her idea is pretty creative. As far as education goes, it’s a wonderful way to engage children’s minds. Unfortunately, her motive is to convey the Bible with the illusion that Bible stories are fun. It’s all just peaches and creme in that Old Testament!
You see, there’s this false juxtaposition. The folks in the story talk about how “amazing” and “wonderful” it is to see the “delightful” kids make Egyptian headbands and weave their own baskets. And these innocuous activities are paired with Bible teaching, thus suggesting that the Bible teaching is also innocuous. It’s far from it.
And consider: here is a mainstream local newspaper featuring this story about all the fun the kids are having. How many parents that aren’t even members of First Baptist are going to send their kids to the VBS so they can experience the Egyptian marketplace too? Talk about free publicity.
Gavin Shawder, 4, of Northumberland said he attended all week and had the time of his life.
“I enjoy this so much,” he said. “It’s a real good time.”
I say forcing religion (or sneaking religion) upon young minds amounts to child abuse and inhibits their free will. Wait until their brains develop enough before attempting to indoctrinate.
Jordan Hunt, 12, of Selinsgrove, agreed with his younger friend, but said he had other reasons for being there, not just the fun.
“I like it here and it is fun,” Hunt said. “But to tell you the truth, I really enjoy learning from hearing the Bible stories.”
I sure hope that Jordan doesn’t turn out to be gay. He might already be convinced the Bible is the place to look for answers and he will be led astray.
Sorry, I know there are many folks out there who aren’t bothered by Vacation Bible School, but I think it’s just plain evil.
I wonder if Maggie Kurtz might be convinced to talk a little bit more about modern-day Egypt and teach the kids about Islam. Let’s get some Vacation Qur’an School going and see if it gets covered in the local newspaper with interviews about how fun it is! I’m sure no one would flinch…