Religion

Pastors to Speak in Schools After Shootings, Will They Evangelize?

| by Michael Allen

There have been six deadly shootings in Panama City, Fla., over the past two months. In response, more than 30 local pastors will be visiting school campuses to help students who are related to the suspects or victims.

The pastors were invited by the Bay District School District.

"The churches want to do this and the churches want to get involved," Bay County Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt told WJHG. "They want to be there the first day of school. They want to be there and be available for the students to talk with if they want to. Just as a recognition of support."

"We are those people that are called on, times like these, to be mentors," added New Bethel Missionary Baptist Pastor Parnell Smith.

Other pastors have admitted they will be on campus to help students with their faith.

The pastors will be hitting the campuses on August 19th, but some are questioning whether or not it's appropriate or legal to have faith leaders in public schools where they may be evangelizing.

Andrew L. Seidel, a staff attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, recently wrote a letter to Superintendent Husfelt objecting to the pastoral plan, which Seidel called a "serious constitutional violation."

In his letter, Seidel admits the “program will be voluntary,” but adds, "Clearly, the pastors intend to discuss religion with the students. This program is unconstitutional and must be stopped... Religious counseling and education are not the province of the public schools."

Sources: WJHG, Freedom From Religion Foundation, (Image Credit: Ivan T)