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Camps teach kids to put their faith into action

Left to right, Chelsea Johnson, Savannah Rhudy, Tennyson Florer-Bixler and Grace Hochstetler work on a building project during “We Have the Power,” a community-organizing camp involving eight congregations in the Durham, N.C., area. Photo courtesy of Franklin Golden

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) Twenty kids marched around a multipurpose room at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church on a recent Thursday, following the path of a cardboard highway that a day earlier they discovered had divided the city’s neighborhoods and altered their vision for the community.

“Ain’t gonna let the freeway turn me around,” they sang, hearkening back to the civil rights activism of the 1960s.

Instead of the traditional vacation Bible school, this downtown church partnered with seven other congregations — black, white, Baptist, Jewish, Episcopal, Pentecostal and nondenominational — to put on a community-organizing camp for kids aged 4 to 12.

“We Have the Power,” as the weeklong camp was dubbed, represents a recent movement within activist networks to invite children and youth into political action, and a renewed movement within religious communities to live out biblical teaching with good works.

Across the United States, churches are joining with social-change organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, the Children’s Defense Fund and Kids4Peace to use summer breaks to teach children and youth about the civil rights movement and how they might be part of its renewal.

It reflects a wider trend in secular summer camping, as almost half of American Camp Association accredited camps focus on civic engagement or service learning.

“We’re all God’s children, and we all should look out for one another,” said Sabrina McCall, whose two daughters are attending a CDF Freedom School in Rocky Mount, N.C., this summer.

Kylie Mitchell with the “character” she’s playing in the imaginary city, during “We Have the Power,” a community-organizing camp involving eight different congregations from in and around Durham, NC. Photo courtesy of Franklin Golden

Kylie Mitchell with the “character” she’s playing in the imaginary city, during “We Have the Power,” a community-organizing camp involving eight congregations in the Durham, N.C., area. Photo courtesy of Franklin Golden

The CDF Freedom Schools are the most common of the faith-related justice camps, serving thousands of kids and proliferating at some 180 sites across 30 different states, from California to Massachusetts.

Though the program is secular, more than 50 of the CDF Freedom Schools are hosted by Methodist, Baptist and other churches and some Jewish congregations. Every morning, the kids gather for “Harambee,” a kind of pep rally based on a Swahili word meaning, “Let’s get together.” During Harambee, the kids sing a Quincy Jones arrangement of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” and the Freedom School theme song, “Something Inside So Strong,” which references the biblical city of Jericho.

The CDF schools emphasize literacy to help impoverished kids toward a more secure future. But the content of the books they read is civil rights history, and the Freedom Schools invite the young scholars into issue-based political advocacy and community service.

The Freedom School tradition grows out of the Freedom Summer of 1964, when civil rights organizations like the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee worked to register black voters in Mississippi. Since then, Freedom Schools have trained new activists. CDF Freedom Schools across the U.S. celebrate a “National Day of Social Action” each summer, focusing on issues like voting rights, health care access, gun violence or education funding.

“They will definitely get some practice in engaging in social change,” said Reginald Blount, an assistant professor of youth formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, which is hosting its first CDF Freedom School this summer in Evanston, Ill., through the first week in August. “It very much is a children-and-youth empowerment curriculum.”

Pastor Heber Brown, whose Pleasant Hope Baptist Church hosts an AFSC Freedom School called Orita’s Cross in Baltimore, said the summer-camp program is among his congregation’s citywide partnerships with urban farms and criminal-justice reform activists.

“It’s an important time for us to really have courage in how to think about how we ‘be’ the church,” said Brown. “Conventional ideas around evangelism and missions, they’re losing momentum.”

Brown said training young activists is a way “to be a beacon of light and love to our community, whether or not people join our church.

“Dr. King didn’t just fall out of the sky. Rosa Parks didn’t just fall out of the sky. Somebody groomed them,” he said. “We’re trying to groom the next generation of Freedom Fighters.”

Melissa Florer-Bixler, associate minister at Duke Memorial, said the camp aims to empower kids to cooperate to solve their community’s problems.

“We’re not using this camp as an evangelistic tool,” she said, but added: “We all bring values, and some of those values come out of our religious communities.”

For example, the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt framed the curriculum as a liberation story that Christians, Jews, and kids of no faith could embrace.

From lower left, Tennyson Florer-Bixler, Grace Hochstetler, Kate McGarrah, Molly Sprague, and Chelsea Johnson (at center) work on their “special box,” a hybrid power plant/circus/office building/amusement park, during “We Have the Power,” a community-organizing camp involving eight different congregations from in and around Durham, NC. Photo courtesy of Franklin Golden

From lower left, Tennyson Florer-Bixler, Grace Hochstetler, Kate McGarrah, Molly Sprague, and Chelsea Johnson (at center) work on their “special box,” a hybrid power plant/circus/office building/amusement park, during “We Have the Power,” a community-organizing camp involving eight congregations in the Durham, N.C., area. Photo courtesy of Franklin Golden

Monday through Wednesday, the kids built cardboard neighborhoods with the houses as close together as possible and amenities like a public pool located as centrally and equitably as possible. Overnight on Wednesday, the staff rearranged the city with wealthier residents’ homes and new skyscrapers in the center of town and poorer neighborhoods cut off by the beltway.

The children discovered the rearranged city and found the new power structures “really frustrating,” “said Florer-Bixler.

After dining together on chicken cutlets, peas, macaroni and watermelon, the kids gathered with musician-activist Clinton Wright to sing songs such as, “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “I Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed on Freedom.”

Later that evening, in the neighborhood they’d named “Chuck E. Cheese,” the kids had to decide what they wanted from the city council to mitigate the impact of the highway.

“We can sing the Freedom Songs!” said 6-year-old Chloe Powell.

“But what are we going to ask for?” asked Duke Memorial member Rick Larson, playing the role of community organizer.

The kids eventually agreed to build a rainbow-colored tunnel to connect the neighborhoods torn asunder by a highway.

Chloe’s grandmother Danita Stephens said her Pentecostal church, Monument of Faith, normally hosts a regular VBS, but she’s glad the kids are learning how to make a difference in their communities.

“When you put everybody together and get ‘em working toward a common goal,” she said, “you can get a lot more accomplished.”

(Jesse James DeConto is an RNS correspondent based in North Carolina)

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  • ‘Monday through Wednesday, the kids built cardboard neighborhoods with the houses as close together as possible and amenities like a public pool located as centrally and equitably as possible. Overnight on Wednesday, the staff rearranged the city with wealthier residents’ homes and new skyscrapers in the center of town and poorer neighborhoods cut off by the beltway.

    The children discovered the rearranged city and found the new power structures “really frustrating,” said Florer-Bixler.’

    In today’s day and age, telling kids that their ideas for how to arrange their homes will be crushed by urban planning departments and bureaucrats who think they know how to better arrange people’s homes is probably an important lesson.

  • “live out biblical teaching with good works.” And that’s what Jesus was all about.

    Good camps, kudos to the churches and communities who put these camps together.

  • I think this is a good idea. However I think the point of VBS is to teach kids about their faith, while this would be an excellent way to help them live it out. Would be a total advocate for having both, but not replacing one with the other. I think community faith based service is greatly lacking in our society, and we should take measures to implement these everywhere. But not at the expense of learning about the faith.

  • On the contrary, faith is not for slaves. Faith is strictly something you believe. That is for anybody. Everyone has faith the sun will rise in the east every morning. Are we slaves to the sun? No.

    In fact, Christ specifically told us we are not slaves. But rather we should be servants for God to the world. A servant gives of his time freely because he wants to and needs to. A slave is forced, and is not on equal footing with the people he is interacting with.

  • I would beg to differ. We have created a culture where we despise learning. And I blame that on our focus on passing tests instead of learning material for the sake of knowledge. Learning about one’s faith should never be a chore.

    Most VBS’s i’ve attended and helped at are fun for the kids, engaging in crafts, songs, and outdoor activities incorporated with church services and other faith based knowledge. It’s fun for the volunteers and it’s fun for the children who come. If the children aren’t having fun and aren’t learning anything useful, then there’s something wrong with the VBS coordinators planning.

  • The interesting point to me is that though the camps may be teaching social action values to the kids and all but one child are white.

  • You have your faith in science then. All that means is that you believe something and what that something says. I have faith in the science behind gravity. In the science behind medicine. We have faith in doctors, in our cars that they won’t break down, in a lot of things. Faith in God is just a different kind of that faith.

  • No, Haley. The problems with your faith are that the claims of your religion are contradicted by reason and evidence, and that they are also internally inconsistent. They should be discarded just like a failed scientific theory would be.

  • The problem is the sinister religious indoctrination that goes along with the pretty crafts and songs. It’s a sneaky, subversive way to recruit kids into your cult to keep it going. Luckily some kids eventually see through it.

  • “Camps teach kids to put their faith into action.”
    “We’re trying to groom the next generation of Freedom Fighters.”
    9/11 and 7/7 happened because people who were considered “Freedom Fighters” “put their faith into action”.
    Fortunately most people don’t have faith. They say they do but they stop at red lights, wear their seatbelts, don’t play Russian Roulette and jump into foxholes whilst pretending that they’re not atheists.

  • Are you religious? This post is about people of different religious faiths coming together and integrating their FAITH into service for others. The only thing I had a problem with was the REPLACEMENT of VBS with this. I think it would be INCREDIBLY helpful to have community service programs for religious children like this. I 100% advocate for this alongside of VBS.

    If you think religion is dumb, then this is not the post for that conversation.

  • Are you religious? Do you have kids? If you did have kids would you not want to teach them what you know to be true? Not all religions are cults.

    VBS is the same as any other school, just instead it teaches kids about their faith vs science, math, and the arts as regular school teaches them.

    This post is about religious kids integrating their faith into service. If you think religion is cultish, then you should have a problem with this as this is a bunch of religious children serving others as taught to them by others according to their faith.

  • Nice try at dodging Haley, not. Back to the topic you responded to and are now trying vainly to squirm out of, this quote is appropriate: “Science works whether you believe it or not. Faith only works until you stop ignoring reality.”

  • It’s a cult. More signficantly, the faith these children are being taught is a terrible one, and is loaded with bigotry, unfair punishments of innocent groups, and worse. Yes, there are some nice parts to it, but they merely mask the horrors and untruths that eventually surface.

  • I’m not trying to dodge anything. Science is the study of things. You are right, anything that is true remains true, regardless of whether one believes it or not. Same with the supernatural. If you choose not to believe in anything that is your own choice.

    My original comment was supportive of this whole article. I have seen so many negative comments on here, why? Just because you all don’t like religion? Community service is something to be celebrated, no matter if someone is religious or not. I was merely commenting on how it was good for religious children to do this, and how It shouldn’t replace VBS because they are two different things, meant to convey two different things. One is learning about ones faith, the other is living it out.

  • Which faith are you talking about? There were children of SEVERAL different faiths here? Of course I don’t agree with all religions, just one. Also there’s a definition of a cult, and hardly many religions fall into it.

    And learning about ones faith is never bad. If the religion is bad, it will soon show itself. There is only one truth, and in the end it will be evident which one has it.

    However the point of my comment was just that community service shouldn’t replace learning about our faith, but be practiced alongside it. That was all I was saying. If you have issues with learning about what you believe (whatever that is) while living it out, then I don’t know what to say. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about their faith.

  • Oh I think what is happening with these camps is wonderful, I just noted this in the context of social just and community.

  • Again Haley, community service itself is great but a problem is the usual subversive attempts by the churches to insert their hooks and their badly flawed dogma into young minds to get them early . It’s shameful. Learning to reason and see the problems with mythology such as the Christian myths would be an important antidote, but it would be better to just do the community service and not have the religious viruses there to begin with.

  • You were obviously dodging, and science is not merely the study of things.

    Religion deserves the negative comments that it is getting here. Faith in an obviously false set of tales is bad enough; acting out that faith is even worse.

  • Oh ok =) I wonder what it would take to implement these everywhere? Would definitely love something like this in my city!

  • That’s YOUR belief. And your free to educate your kids what you think about religion. Just as we have the right to educate our children about our religion. America has freedom for this specific reason, so that we can worship our respective ways without being forced to change by people who disagree.

  • Science: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
    In short, the study of things. I was being generic.

    Also, you cannot claim to know what I am thinking or doing. No one can except me, and I honestly wasn’t dodging anything.

    So you don’t approve of community service? Because that’s an action based in faith. As well as loving your neighbor. And loving yourself. And helping the poor. Religion definitely doesn’t deserve all the negativity that gets thrown at it. Most religions are peaceful, and are just searching for the truth and loving people. It is people with hatred, arrogance, or indifference towards others that make the world a bitter place to live.

    Before you start, yes people in religion can be this way. But most religions in their theology or philosophy are centered around love. And we try to emulate ourselves to that. We may fail at times, but that is what we try to do.

  • No, Haley. We have separation of church and state so that religions cannot usurp government. Furthermore our freedoms exist not for the reason you claim, but because freedoms such as freedom of speech are great, commonly agreed upon and moral to have -despite desperate attempts by religions, especially Christianity, to subvert those freedoms in America.

  • No, Haley. You were simply wrong, again.

    As for love, no, most religions, Christianity and Islam for example, are mainly about worshipping a plainly fictional deity. There’s some nice stuff in them, but it sits alongside some ludicrous falsehoods, a lot of bigotry, some backward nonsense that is contradicted by science, and some horrid, violent demands.

    Let the religion go; the just keep the good stuff! No god and no religion required.

  • Note also below that I have strongly approved of community service in an earlier comment. So, you are wrong there again, Haley – as usual, very visibly wrong.

  • America was founded without a national religion, because the people fleeing England did not like being forced into a certain religion against their will. America was literally founded so that different religions could worship as they wish. Most people in America do not want a religion to govern all, that’s why mandatory Christian prayer was taken out of public schools. I support that, as we have more than Christians in our schools and our nation was not created to force a certain religion on others.

    However people are free to worship and believe what they want because that’s a right we deserve as humans, as Americans.

  • Christianity is about worshipping God, who we believe to be Love itself. Christianity calls us to love everyone. If you do not believe that I can’t make you, but you are wrong about most religions.

    Without the religion, I have found no happiness. Without a god, I see no morals, only subjective happiness that is fleeting. You are free to believe what you want, but my religion is not evil and neither am I. I will continue to believe it because I want to, and because it is my right as an American. As it is your right to disagree.

  • It was a rhetorical question because a lot religions call to help service others. If you hate a religion as a whole and say it is inherently evil, then you also want the good that comes out of it gone. Not all religion is bad, not all religion is good. But the point is that you can’t take our right away to serve others according to our faith.

    We do not serve others because they believe, we serve others because WE believe.

  • No, Haley, you are badly wrong yet again. First, your religion is claimed to be the work of a perfect, omnibenevolent divine entity, yet you admit that your religion has bad parts. That rules out your own claims. Those bad parts are actually very bad; they include instructions to murder, torture and rape, and they have other awful problems.

    Like I said, lose the silly, obviously false religious tales, and just do the good work. It’s easy; toss the religion and you’ll have more time for the community service (which I do a lot of and have won awards for).

  • False again, Haley. There is a set of reasons for which America was founded. Escaping the yolk and taxation by a certain empire was a major reason. There were a tapestry of conflicting religions involved, but they were only part of the picture, and freedom to not worship is also part of the picture -more so as more people see past the silly religion fictions you try so hard to sustain.

    Glad you support separation of church and state, and support freedom. As for your religious delusions, try to take a more critical look at your beliefs. You don’t need them. Toss the obvious religion nonsense and do the good stuff.

  • You don’t know anything about my religion. You know the face of it, but if you knew the whole of it you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying. And I have no intent to discuss it here, as that was not the intention of my original comment. So this part of our conversation is over, because I do not wish to continue arguing about it.

    Congratulations on helping out your community. It’s a wonderful thing that should be done by more and more communities.

  • The Europeans came to America to escape religious persecution. I am not wrong. There were of course other factors in the actual separation from England, but that’s why we’re all here to begin with.

    I understand freedom to not believe in anything is allowed. That’s exactly why there’s not a national religion.

    Also, I know what I need, and what I want, and what and why I believe. I’ve studied far into my faith, and am actually a convert. I cannot convince you to join by force, nor can you force me to disregard my beliefs. We all have free will and we all have the ability to reason and discern what is good for ourselves.

    So I think we should leave it at that, as you have a completely different view on religion than I do.

  • No, there were several reasons why various European groups came to America. Religious persecution was not the only one -far from it. One set of motivations for many, quite independent of religion, was actually economic incentive and opportunity. Another was required service -military and other.

    As for your ability to reason, it is demonstrably suspect and lacking in the above discussion. Time after time, you have made statements that have been shown to be incorrect.

  • I suspect that I know much more about the doctrine and details of your religion than you do, given what I’ve seen so far from you. Recent studies have clearly shown that non-believers overall have a vastly better set of religious knowledge than believers do. So, give it a try; tell me about what you claim I don’t know. (Or just give up because you can’t do that, as you have tried to slip out with in the above).

  • My point about the religious freedom and America was that America was created uniquely without ANY national religion, and protects its citizens rights to practice whatever religion they choose. Not that religious persecution was the ONLY reason people came here.

    It is true that many people within a certain faith don’t know much theology about it, but I am not one of those people. Also, I have said already that I did not want to discuss this here. But since you clearly want to prove something, I’ll bite.

    Tell me about Adam and Eve. What were they like? Were they really perfect? Is original sin something real? What was the purpose of God putting the tree in the middle of the garden if he knew they would just eat from it? Was it even fair? Did they even know what sin was or could they comprehend the consequences of their actions? Was the punishment unjust?

  • Haley, wow, you sure don’t know much about your beliefs and haven’t looked at them critically. So, taking on your Adam and Eve story, your god must have approved of incest among their children, since they had no other choice. Do you agree?

    As for punishment, your vicious bible god is quite the pro at that as described in the bible, since he is described repeatedly as threatening torture and other horrors merely for not worshipping his horrid self. And then there’s his slaughter of whole races, including innocent children. Collective punishment too; your evil god should be cited for human rights abuses and worse.

  • I know the answers to the questions I stated. You claimed you knew more about my religion than I, and by your response, I see that is not the case. That, or you are purposefully mocking me by withholding serious discussion after asking for it.

    As for the incest, no, marriage between siblings was not wrong as there were no other humans around. Here’s a link if you want to know more:
    http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage_print.asp?number=359658&language=en

    I would respond to the end, but I get the feeling you don’t actually care…

  • False again from you Haley. First, you do not “know” what you just claimed to know, and in fact you cannot know that. You only claim to know, but actually we have strong evidence from science that says the whole Adam and Eve story is actually false to begin with. The story of human propagation over the planet spans about 150,000 years and took a very different course than your Adam and Eve fairy tales. See The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells, just to get you started on your learning there. Second, no, the scenario you presented is precisely one form of incest as the term is defined: intercourse between siblings.It’s a sick, evil religion that you follow, and it has an absurd and generally false doctrine.

  • You told me you knew more about my religion than I, and to ask you a question. I said I didn’t want to talk about it, but I asked one anyways. Then you turn around and say because I asked a question I don’t know anything. I don’t understand, and frankly I don’t really care anymore. You are not looking to have a conversation, and you don’t know anything about what my religion teaches, once again. Ok maybe you know a tiny bit, but from what you’ve chosen to show me I can only deduce you know nothing except the face of it.

    I gave you a chance to prove to me that you knew what I was talking about, and just disagreed. But you didn’t take the opportunity, even though you asked for it. I won’t argue this anymore. I never wanted to, and this wasn’t even the point of my comment on a beautiful event that was put together for children to help their community. I believe we have nothing more to say to one another.

  • Noted that you are quitting like that. My points stand and were well supported, and you clearly could not rebut them. Yours were generally shown to be false.

  • It’s not quitting when I never intended to begin. But believe what you want – it won’t change the facts.

  • False again from you Haley. You said, and I quote you, “I won’t argue this anymore”; that was obviously a statement of quitting.

    Next up, re your line “believe what you want -it won’t change the facts”, that is rather ironic coming from you, in that it describes your own state perfectly: you believe in a religious tale despite facts that show it to be fiction in regard to the substance of its claims. No wonder you are trying to quit; it’s tough on you to sustain a fiction like that.

    Belief such as yours only works until you stop denying reality.

  • If you bother to look at prior comments, you will see a string of me saying I do not want to discuss this, and that this is not the place TO discuss this. I am not quitting, I am trying to keep my conversation with my original point, which is hard to do when you keep disregarding what I wish to do on my own thread. Which was that I loved the community service and that I don’t think it should replace VBS, but go alongside it. If you don’t care about the faith aspect, then this article is not necessarily for you because this is focused on kids living out their faith. If you have a problem with that then please don’t take it out on me, take it up with the author of this article.

    That applies to me as well – regardless of what EITHER of us believe (or anyone) the truth will always be the truth. Truth is objective and cannot change. Truth is a fact, not an opinion. I believe that my religion is truth, you do not. You have the freedom to believe as you wish, there’s no need to be demeaning. You’re allowed to believe what you will, as am I. Please respect that. Also, I don’t have a problem defending my faith – however you are not looking to actually learn more about my faith are you? You have told me several times to abandon my faith because of your subjective preferences, and you have already shown that when faced with a question about my religion, you cannot (or just don’t want to) answer it and just dismiss me about it. You are in no position to tell me, a stranger, what to do. I’m not saying you need to become a Christian, it would be nice to be shown the same respect. Just because I don’t believe as you doesn’t mean we have to be rude to each other.

  • Again, Haley, you are dodging the exact issues that you stepped into yourself. You replied to comments that were about a specific subject, and now you are clearly trying to squirm your way out of having done so. That’s shameful. You made a plain statement that was obviously about quitting a discussion on topics that you yourself specifically commented on.

    Please either retract that statement, and/or retract your prior comments, since you obviously don’t stand behind what you said.

    Also, you clearly have big problems defending your faith; in the face of facts and modern science, the claims of your faith are quite indefensible and your flawed, directly rebutted arguments thus far simply highlight that.

    As for respect, no, that’s another wrongly made statement by you. Ideas should not get respect per se; ideas should get fully open, critical examination so that the bad ones, such as many of those of your religion (with its hate and bigotry and its obvious instructions to do various violent evil, and its foul, human rights abusing, and fictional “god”), get tossed out, and so that the good ideas, like community service and human rights, get retained and highlighted for our common benefit.

    Lose the obvious nonsense that your religion represents, and keep the good ideas. It’s easy and saves you from wasting time on a religion that is clearly nothing more than delusion.

  • Whatever you want to believe. If it makes you happy, go right ahead. However MY faith doesn’t teach that. Please, do not comment if you have nothing more to say than “youre wrong and I’m not going to respect you”.

  • Haley, trying to silence me like you just attempted in your last comment is also shameful.

    In the above, you have made remarks that you now won’t stand by and can’t defend, so please retract them.

    Your faith rather obviously does teach things that are plainly wrong, in many cases brutally so. The god of your religious tales is also plainly a violent, murderous butcher and human rights abuser, who is presented in the bible has having wiped out whole races as collective punishment – innocent children included. Further, he threatens torture as punishment. That’s barbaric, and wrong.

    In regard to respect, as usual, you’ve been unable to distinguish between people and ideas. Look critically at the ideas that your religion presents; they are largely wrong and often even self-contradictory. Ideas should never get respect per se; they should be critically looked at and the bad ones should get tossed out.

    Keep the good stuff, but lose the religious nonsense. It’s high time.

  • I’m trying to stop a conversation I did not want. And you’re right, I should’ve just stopped replying to you a long time ago.

    I would suggest if you want to actually LEARN something about my religion, to ask a priest or bishop or theologian. This is not the place to discuss this, I never WANTED to discuss this, and you are wrong on practically every account about what I believe.

    Please, I’ve said a lot already that this was not the place and I did not want to talk about this here and now. Please, either leave me alone or say something about why this faith based service should or should not replace VBS. If you have nothing to say about the latter, then I ask that you NOT bring up faith based discussions about whether one religion is wrong or right because this is not the time nor the place, and I am busy with other things in real life that prevent me from devoting enough time to explain it to you anyways. Besides that, you already expressed your unwillingness to listen to me, so I have no intention of explaining anything anyways.

    If you respond with anything other than a speculative comment about MY original comment (either an agreement of what a great thing this was, and/or about VBS being replaced or not), I will not respond because there is no need. I’m not trying to silence you, I’m trying to keep this conversation on track. So, this is probably goodbye.

    You’ll have to accept that we will just disagree with each other about faith and religion.

  • Haley, no, my conclusions were clearly not “speculative”. They were supported by facts and reason. Furthermore, as to my “unwillingness to listen”, no, I not only listened to what you had to say, but I directly quoted you and made direct rebuttals. You, by contrast, have not once countered what I had to say, other than by dodging the subject or making statements that were readily shown to be false.

    As to what you wanted to discuss, you made the comments that the record shows, and the context was clear. You are free to state a retraction. Acceptance and exit as you just demanded is also tantamount to quitting.

    Your obvious frustration is easy to understand; you can’t defend an evil religion that you have vested a lot in, and now that you’ve been presented with the reality that you actually believe in a quite evil set of fictions, you are trying to take the easy way out by quitting instead of looking carefully and critically at it.

    Just lose the silly religion with its false claims and its evil, human rights abusing “god”. Keep the good stuff -the community service, unpolluted by religious evil. It’s that simple.

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