Real Smart: Church Stages Fake Raid on Youth Group

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You have to marvel sometimes at the amazing lack of intelligence some people have (or don't have), such as the pastor of a Pennsylvania church who thought it would be a good idea to stage a fake armed raid in the middle of a youth group meeting.

The Daily Mail reports more than a dozen teenagers were meeting at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown last week when two men burst in. At least one of them had a gun.

They put covers on the kids' heads, threw them into a van and took them to the pastor's house, where they proceeded to "beat" him into a bloody pulp.

But it was all an act, to teach the kids what it would be like to be a missionary overseas.

"It was a youth event, to illustrate what others have encountered on a regular basis," said Pastor John Lanza, the genius mastermind behind the scheme.

But it all seemed real to the kids. The blood was fake, but the gun, carried by an off-duty police officer, was unloaded but very real.

One girl also suffered real bruises on her legs.

"They pulled my chair out from underneath me, and then they told me to get on the ground," the 14-year-old girl, whose name was not released, told "I had my hands behind my back. They said, `Just do as I say, and you won't be hurt.'"

The girl and her parents filed a complaint with police.

"They heard me crying," the girl said. "Why not right then and there tell us it was a joke, when you see me crying?"

Lanza said he was "so saddened" that the girl was traumatized by the event.

"If anyone was ever uncomfortable, they would be removed," he said.

Police are investigating to determine if charges are appropriate, but in the meantime it doesn't look like Lanza has learned his lesson.

"I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value," he said, "but I would find a way to inform the parents."


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