Friday, May 25, 2007

POWER TEAM CONTROVERSY ~ hostility toward the Christian faith-- by Barb

Another gem from Prof. Friedman's Religion Clause

"...yesterday's Houston Chronicle reports that a Christian motivational group, Power Team, finds that some public schools are cancelling its scheduled performances because of the group's evangelical ties. Power Team representatives say they do not mention religion in their public school performances. Their shows emphasize the importance of valuing life and dressing appropriately, as the group preaches against drugs and suicide.

John Foust said...
"I'm the fellow who led to the cancellation of the Power Team appearances in five Wisconsin school districts. I also alerted the administrators in the Houston area, too. My web site explains the full story.

The problem with the Power Team? They rely on the school assemblies to promote attendance at their evening revival meetings. In Elgin, IL a few days ago, they asked to distribute promotional literature during the assembly.

The Power Team and the churches regard the school assemblies as an inexpensive and vital form of advertising."


Barb said...
John, I wouldn't be so proud of this if I were you. They had an anti-drug and anti-suicide message in the schools --and then invited people to religious-oriented rally later. I hope you never have a kid who commits suicide or gets on drugs --and then have to wonder if only they'd been inspired and encouraged by one of these ministries.... We've just had these groups in our city --and the Blade made it clear that these were Christian groups --and gave them really good publicity actually --and the churches and church members were passing out tickets with info on them --so people knew what they were.

So what's your beef?? If Christianity is true, this is a wonderful thing to do --to try to inspire the kids with positive role models who have faith in God. Most of the students are probably at least "nominally" Christian.

Christianity gives purpose and direction to life --and that's what some kids coming from miserable situations need. Christianity has helped millions to live better and happier lives than they otherwise would have.

Why can't people who are not of Christian faith just stay home from the later religious rallys? or let their kids go and discuss it after. After all, most of you would let your kid watch any sort of junk on TV and movies and have computer porn in their bedrooms. Can't you tolerate a little exposure to the child of Christmas, the Christ of Resurrection, the One who preaches the golden rule, love and forgiveness, equality of persons before God and compassion for the needy and downtrodden?

O no --that would be dangerous! You know, Jesus Christ should be admired by everyone for what He taught, at least. No one can make anyone else believe.

As for the promotional literature passed out at the schools, I believe that would be the 'ticket' invitations to the after school events? What is wrong with publicity to students for something wholesome? Many delinquents would be better citizens and might avoid jail if they were introduced to Christ in their teens.

What you did, John, was to stifle wholesome speech --to make the schools favor one philosophy only --the one that is preached every day in our schools -secularism/humanism --and in effect, atheism. Because the place that "educates" cannot be exposed to the possibility of a Creator --which just may be the most ultimate truth of all.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible



Hi Barb,

Saw your comment on Yankee Commmentary. Thought you might get
a chuckle from Hollywood 3-Ring Circus. reb



Snake Hunters said,


Don said...


Yes, either a person is a Christian, or they have no morality at all. I'm SURE John lets his kids watch porn in their bedrooms. Good grief!!

What if a group like Power Team came to school, inviting your kids to attend Catholic church? What if the after-school rally presented doctrinal ideas different from those of your particular sect? Would that be OK with you? Would it be OK to use your tax dollars to help Catholics sell Catholicism to your kids?

What about an Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu version of Power Team? What if I reframed your reasoning like this:

If Islam is true, this is a wonderful thing to do --to try to inspire the kids with positive role models who have faith in God.

Islam gives purpose and direction to life --and that's what some kids coming from miserable situations need. Islam has helped millions to live better and happier lives than they otherwise would have.

Why can't people who are not of Islamic faith just stay home from the later religious rallys? or let their kids go and discuss it after.

How about that? After all, 1/6 of the world's population are Muslims. Can they all be wrong?

Don said...

Hey, BTW,

Did you catch the irony of John's last name?



Barb said...

If Catholics stick to the Bible basics, I'm open to their ministry --if they are trying to convert people to believe in Christ and commit their lives to Him --that's fine. If they however want to say that Catholicism is the only true Christian faith, then they are doing something that Power Team would not do. Power Team would not attack Catholics and favor particular protestant groups. they would not discuss the differences between Catholic and protestant faith --but stick to the Bible about Christ.

As for whether or not John would let his kids see porn. He probably would because Liberals of the ACLU sort DON'T care what their kids watch--they have a much more libertarian view of what constitutes good entertainment for the young --where have YOU been? They are the ones who sponsor the Boston Sex ed conf. for youth and teachers --to recommend all sorts of sexual activities "safe" for kids. They want kindergartners to read about Jesse's skirt (worn by a boy) and "my two Dads" --promoting homosexual couples. You are too sheltered,Don, if you think liberals care as much about obscene entertainment as they do about christian entertainment and ministry. do you see the ACLU fighting porn prevalence? Of course not. They are too busy fighting the prevalence of Christian heritage reminders and mottos in our cities and public buildings, on the money, in the pledges, etc.

I was on the school board when teachers showed R-rated movies to our under-age kids --like the Breakfast Club glorifying school detention and drugs in one extended scene -- The Early Frost --promoting homosexual love as normal and attractive -- (though diseased and promiscuous) --and a book,The Invisible Man --the one starting with incest as almost humorous --on 9th grade honors reading list.

Liberals are the ones that insisted we expose our kids to Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye --and Soul on Ice and Black like me by Cleaver --with all the profane and obscene language and activities --so as to prepare our sheltered midwestern kids for college lit. and "real life." what we got was a lot more bad language in public entertainment and kids talking like Rappers.

Liberals went to bat for the library ass'n which said that kids should have access to the Madonna Sex Book (Monroe, MI case) if they wanted --that the library couldn't make porn off-limits to kids --and computers, likewise. Kooz of Kooz News commented on all the old geezers using the library computers. To look for jobs? NO. to talk dirty in chat rooms --probably looking for underage kids. And we have whole sections of Toledo's library devoted to gay materials. All this is a proper use of public money? I don't think so.

at the rate Christianity is being suppressed, Don, there will be a Muslim majority eventually -and a conversion effort in the schools --something like making girls wear the cover --and observe prayer times. And no equal time for Christians, because "we're in charge now." They have not historically had the same commitment to religious diversity and tolerance that America is known for --even with our school assemblies held by Christians.

Who would make the better majority for a nation --christians or Muslims?? Who has the more humane religious leader? Is it Jesus or Mohammad who married a 9 year old? Which religion says woman is inferior because she was made from a crooked rib of Adam's? Islam uses that as an excuse.

As it is, a California elementary school had the kids wear burkas or scarves --and go through the motions of the prayer times --and observe rammadan (sp?) --as a cross-cultural/religious experience. And some have our kids doing Hindu yoga with salutations to the sun. I draw the line at coffee enemas.

I realize that when the population balance gives us a Muslim majority, we will be in for lots of problems. First, they'll start fighting with each other.

I know this is not politically correct, but i merely challenge them to prove otherwise now by speaking out for ideals of respect for life and freedom. I realize why they don't. They fear the ruthlessness of their fundamentalist brothers in the faith but if they don't start reaching their youth themselves with their appreciation for american freedom and ideals of rights, they will lose them to Osama.

Muslims would do well to have the power team concept. No one proselytizes more effectively than the Christians --because they have the best message of all and the only risen, miracle-working Saviour--and the testimonies of changed lives.

All the muslims power teams in the world, however, can't get Mohammad to do one miracle or rise from the dead. Never happened. Never will. Not until the dead ALL rise for the Judgment Day of Christ.

Love you --keep sparring --but I think I won this round. ;D

Kooz said...

Don said, "1/6 of the worlds population is muslim. Can they all be wrong?

The answer is simply...yes they can.

Don, there can only be ONE truth. You seem to get angry that Christians claim to know the truth...suggesting all muslims are wrong. But, you don't seem to have a problem insinuating that all Christians are wrong. We both can't be right.

Remember, Christianity is the ONLY faith that teaches salvation is based on grace and not of works. Any religion that teaches our own "good" works can earn us salvation falls short of the truth.

I do believe however...that God is gracious enough that he may one day lead you to His truth.

John Foust said...

I'm the fellow who inspired the cancellation of the Power Team appearances in five Wisconsin school districts. I also alerted the administrators in the Houston area, too, which led to one cancellation. My attentions also led to increased scrutiny in Elgin, IL a week ago, too. The Power Team asked to hand out literature to promote the evening events, and the district said "no". Even in Ames, IA the newspaper spoke out against the improper religious promotion during recent assemblies. And don't forget to read the comments, where a local Baptist blames me for an increase in teen drinking, drug use and "magnifying other problems". My web site explains the full story.

In Wisconsin, the five superintendents met to discuss the planned assemblies and consider cancellation. Their meeting notes say "Would it be a fair compromise to all concerned that we welcome the Faith Community Church to hold the evening programs as booked and scheduled, but that upon reflection not hold the assemblies thus eliminating any notion that the schools were connected with the promotion of a crusade." They didn't cancel because of the religious content per se. They cancelled because they didn't want to be tricked into being used to promote a private religious event. They examined the Power Team's message and found it weak, leading one super to ask "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"

I hear the "But what if they were Muslims" idea all the time. Usually someone suggests that "the ACLU/Liburals/Boogymen would think it would be OK if the Power Team was Muslim." Someone else made a blog entry that summarizes it quite well. His obvious intent was to show that it would be the Christians who wouldn't want the Arabian Knights in the schools.

It's all about the promotion. The Power Team likes to go to schools for the advertising value. They've been hired by a local church to hold a series of evening revival meetings they call "crusades." It's all about raising cash. They do whatever they can - that is, whatever they haven't been told not to do - to lure the kids to the evening meetings. They may avoid outright religious promotion during a school event, but they'll use plenty of code words and phrases, accompanied by booming Christian rock. They'll tell the kids "And if you want more of this, come to the evening meetings." Their primary mission is promoting the local church. Read their web site, that's what it says.

The Power Team engages in routine distortions and outright lies, too. Their claim to 25,000 performances is an example of a factoid that reporters happily reprint without question, without examination. Visit my web site to see how I show that it's a gross exaggeration, as well as many other quotes I disprove.

I'm saddened to see many of you so quickly defend your beliefs by ridiculing others. No, my three children use the Internet in the living room where I can monitor it. I can think of one moment in ten years where I caught one of them looking for "play" (with the space, which didn't get him very far) and we had a talk about it. Never happened again. Yes, I care about what they watch. "PG" at most for my 12-year-old. Why must you assume I'm not careful with my kids?

Yes, "Foust" is derived from the German "Faust", meaning "fist." No, I haven't made any deals with the Devil.

Don said...


I'm not "angry" about anything, but thanks for your concern. If you want to believe that all religions are wrong but yours, so be it. To paraphrase Jefferson, your belief neither breaks my bones nor picks my pocket.

So, you believe your religion is the One True Religion? That is entirely unremarkable...every religious person thinks the same thing.

This is the point I attempted to make to Barb above. She essentially argues that it's OK for Power Team to promote Christianity in a public school setting, because Christianity is Good and Helps People. Well, people of other faiths also believe that their religions are Good and Help People. But I presume that neither you or Barb would be pleased to discover a public school, with taxpayer dollars, hosting a similar group promoting Islam, Hinduism, or whatever else. I'm simply pointing out that Barb is OK with Power Team promoting religion in public schools because they are advancing religious views she AGREES with.

Frankly, Kooz, your religious views do not interest me in the slightest. The truth or untruth of your sectarian views is wholly irrelevant to the constitutional issues raised here. The real question is whether Power Team's activities have the primary effect of advancing religion in a public school setting.

The answer, given the information I've seen so far, is "I don't know". I see no problem with Power Team doing a demonstration at a public school, during school hours, and even paid for by the long as the program is free of religious content. If the show has some character-building message like "don't do drugs", then fine.

If Power Team wants to have a separate evangelical revival, that should also be OK. They could even use public school auditoriums for this activity, so long as the event was after normal school hours. Also, the revival should clearly not bear the imprimatur of the school, and Power Team should probably do separate advertising for that event.

I'd like an opportunity to more carefully study the particular facts of this case before deciding whether or not I believe there is an Establishment Clause violation here.

Don said...

"I'm saddened to see many of you so quickly defend your beliefs by ridiculing others."

Hi John,

Above, I wrote this:

"Yes, either a person is a Christian, or they have no morality at all. I'm SURE John lets his kids watch porn in their bedrooms. Good grief!!"

Hopefully, it was clear that I was mocking Barb's suggestion that you let your kids watch porn.

John Foust said...

Don makes a number of good points. Yes, minus the religious connection, which parents would suggest that you need goofy theatrics to promote character education? In my small city, the district has a deliberate char ed program that focuses on teaching positive moral values each day in small ways. Why do we need booming music and flames? If it were any non-religious group, the effort would be ridiculed. Given past opposition to phonics, whole-language learning or the "new math," I would've thought there would be hordes of people opposed to the notion that you had to use rap music and flaming brick-breaking to teach moral lessons. I think the Power Team gets a free pass because they're ministers.

Once you get past the religious angle, I think it would be wonderful to debate whether the Power Team's message and qualifications are appropriate and sufficient for schools. They're not educators, they're ministers and weightlifters and ex-sports stars. With my web site and letters to the school boards, I think I also successfully showed, by presenting examples of what the Power Team had done and said at their past public school events, that the admins had not adequately examined the message and methods of the Power Team. For example, school districts work very hard at how to carry out the sensitive task of sex education for each grade level - not to mention drugs and suicide. I asked if they had assessed whether the Power Team's message squared with district policies. I quoted none other than the Saturday Evening Post's coverage, which described how the Power Team relayed stories of three girls coming home to witness their father's suicide, how a girl was killed for her shoes, how a girl was impregnated by her brother. At what grade level are these appropriate "scared straight" tales, and are they even true?

In Wisconsin, one superintendent said “[We] were looking for something to make us feel confident that the assembly wouldn’t go into religious topics or situations. After reviewing the (team’s) Web site - which is pretty heavily religion-based - we didn’t have that assurance.” After the cancellation, the local pastor who hired the Power Team felt the loss of the promotional power of the school assemblies, too. Quoted in his wife’s blog afterwards, he said “The good thing is that the success of the crusade does not depend solely on the assemblies. We will just need to double our efforts to promote the evening events.”

Yes, Don, I understand that you were laughing at Barb's suggestion that my kids look at porn in their bedrooms. But if you look at Barb's comments on the Religion Clause, you'll see her original juxtaposition of insults and the Golden Rule.

Barb said...

I'm glad to hear that your standards, John, are higher than the Boston sex educators', the NEA's, the library ass'n, the Democratic party which wants no restriction on porn and no XXX requirement on porn addresses such that we could screen it all out --in libraries and schools and homes --(which political party also said that Clinton's sins were just sexual in nature, not impeachable since it was "only sex" --even though his secrets made him blackmailable as our president --which could have been VERY serious.)

I'm not sure how that XXX rating was supposed to work better than regular blocking which doesn't work too well, I hear, for the determined porn purveyors and seekers. Maybe it was to make blocking simple for all by simply blocking XXX addresses so we wouldn't have to buy a screened service like the America Family Ass'n's Be Safe.

I guess if anyone posted porn --and didn't have the XXX in their address, they could be prosecuted and fined. That IS a great idea, but the dems shot it --no surprise to me.

Liberals in general ARE much more tolerant of explicit sex and promotion of gay sex and bad language in media and in the schoolhouse --than they are tolerant of religion. And I gave good examples already.

I'm glad to see you protect your kids from internet porn --but I wonder if you also protect them from Christ?

So what if the Power train says in their lit that their goal is to promote local churches? they're straightforward about a good goal. That's so they aren't seen by Christians as just promoting themselves for the money. they are wanting to encourage kids to visit the church rallys in hopes that some will meet Christ and go to local churches. It won't hurt those kids --and you could've kept yours home from the church rallys or exempted them from the assemblies --and taught your kids the value of being different --instead of asking the school to conform to YOUR ideas so your kids wouldn't have to feel "different" from the majority.

The school isn't establishing religion if they host a Christian or Catholic College choir for an assembly, are they? Or the African Children's Choir? or even a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu group --talking about their religions and cultures. I don't think I'd mind that. that would probably just be boring. But no belly dancing.

Are they establishing religion if the message at the school is entertaining, anti drug and anti-suicide? and so what if they tell that they will be at churches that evening if anyone wants to come. That's hardly coercion.

I'm thinking you haven't seen any rock concerts if you think loud music and flames aren't a common part of entertainment for youth.

You imply Power Train gets rich off their tickets? Of course we don't think anything of OTHER entertainers making money --and famous speakers and celebrities --but not folks in "ministry." However, we might accept that Christian recording artists are wealthy on record sales --so why can't these people sell their entertainment with a message?

Actually, do they sell tickets? or take a collection or what? My husband was given free tickets to give out by some Christian patient.

Your crusade to shut them down was just more ACLU-type Christian bashing -- the result is just more infringement on liberty --and the students are the losers --not hearing a positive motivational message from role models that excite youth. So TomKat and Paris Hilton and Brittany et al are their role models -people who sleep around, divorce, make babies out of wedlock --and have to go into rehab --and push the church of scientology. Can't we give them any better role models with a better message?

For some people, hearing that God loves them and that Jesus Christ made it possible for them to go to Heaven --makes all the difference in the world. and they couldn't even tell them that at school --which is why they had the out of school sessions --so they could proclaim the Good News that God has visited the Planet and given us a way to know HIm and escape mortality.

John Foust said...

I'm not here to defend Clinton, the NEA, ICANN, gay sex, dominionists, Jews, Hindus, rock concerts, evangelists or TomKat.
Are you trying to distract me with shiny objects?

Talk to a public school administrator. They are constantly approached by businesses, faux entertainers, and hucksters of all varieties who want to take advantage of the enticing advertising opportunity of a school full of captive kids. They'll all got a schtick, a cover story. "We give fun puppet shows, for free!" They've all got a motive, sometimes cleverly hidden, sometimes not. And thankfully, many of them are turned away at the door and it never becomes a controversy. Sometimes it becomes a controversy because of the product, be it soda or tobacco or candy.

Ask the admin about the concept of a "limited public forum". Let's imagine an example slightly less controversial than religion - how about politics? If a candidate took an opportunity to give a stump speech at your kids' next assembly, and the candidate told the kids to have their parents bring them to his big fundraiser later that night, would that be fair or proper? No, it wouldn't, and people would complain. If the local grocery or hardware store was handing out coupons on school grounds, would the other businesses complain? They don't want to open the doors to just anyone, because legally, there are precedents that say when you've opened the door a certain amount, you need to open it to everyone - and they don't want to go there, because it distracts from the mission of education.

There are a host of topics and products and advertising opportunities that are monitored and debated at public schools. Not just Christian ministers-slash-bodybuilders who are in town on the primary mission of doing marketing for a fundamentalist church. Trust me, they're not being singled out. Many get the attention of administrators.

As I researched the Power Team, I was intrigued by the number of thoughtful Christians who were opposed to this sort of "anything goes, as long as it saves souls" type of circus act. I have links on my web page to those perspectives as well. In one, a pastor's wife shares her pride of the way her husband wrestled the evening's collection plate away from the Power Team!

Barb said...

See my new post on this topic

Barb said...

If the collection was taken for the Power Team --if I were them, I'd be afraid to let the minister wrestle the offering plate out of my hands' too--say,if a minimum was guaranteed by the church to the power team for their expenses --and the church and/or team solicited all the money for the team's ministry --and wanted to keep over and above the minimum promised to the team, that would not be right. the power team should help count the money.

Lonnie said...

Hey Barb, I'm one of those Christain Stronmen Faust is saying is corrupting kids by getting them to stop committing suicide. Sorry I'm in the game a bit late, I just saw your blob.

I have been one 4 different strength teams and the best story ever is the 16 year old girl who planned to kill herself until....she heard us speak. God works through strange vessels.


John Foust said...

You call them "blobs", Lonnie, we call them blogs. You call them "Christain," "Stronmen" and "Faust", we call them Christians, strongmen and Foust. As for predictive value, my kid said he wasn't going to do his homework, but I convinced him otherwise. I must be a strongman, too!