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Quote# 86711

A church youth group meeting comes to a horrifying halt when men bust in blind and bound the children and throw them into a van. But it was all staged by church leaders.

While at least one child was injured and traumatized, those leaders say they stand behind their "lesson."

Church leaders say this was a learning exercise designed to teach about religious freedom. But one girl was so shaken up that her parents have now gone to police.

A seventh grader is still traumatized, emotionally and physically, by a church youth group meeting Wednesday night at Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Lower Swatara Township.

She had no idea what she was in for as she quickly went from enjoying herself to fearing for her life. Masked men stormed into their meeting and demanded the group of about a dozen kids get on the ground.

Then, while still bound and blinded, the kids were forced outside and into a van. It drove for a bit and then the kids ended up in the basement of a home on church property.

She says the pastor came out bloody, but Pastor John Lanes wasn't a victim, in fact he was a leader in what turned out to be a staged abduction to teach children about religious persecution.

Youth group leader Andrew Jordan says the exercise was never meant to horrify.

Pastor Lanza says moving forward they will notify parents first. but he won't stop doing it. He says the lesson is too important.

But for this seventh grader, that lesson left her bruised and with a different view of the church, saying she doesn’t trust them.

Police will only say they are aware of the incident and are investigating. We should point out the church says other children knew this was staged and say they did find the exercise beneficial.

Glad Tidings Assembly of God, WHPtv 72 Comments [3/30/2012 3:25:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 114
WTF?! || meh
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Mayhem

I would say that if it was my kid, I would have done a little "home invasion" on the pastor, but I would never have sent any child of mine to a church youth brainwashing club.

3/30/2012 7:36:23 AM

Noneofyourbusiness

When has anything like this happened to Christians in church, ever?!

3/30/2012 7:44:06 AM

Pup

How would this have played out, I wonder, if the kids had retaliated and injured, possibly fatally, one of the 'kidnappers'?

3/30/2012 7:45:33 AM

Noneofyourbusiness

@Pup

Indeed. Such as by exercising those much-vaunted second amendment rights.

3/30/2012 7:52:06 AM

Beltaine

Now, on one hand, teaching church youth about what it is like to be persecuted for your religion (or lack of it) is important. Hopefully, they will learn what it is like on the receiving end and will avoid engaging in persecution of others.

On the other hand, there are ways of teaching that lesson that are more....legal. Perhaps bringing in someone who has been persecuted for their religion to talk with these youth...preferably an atheist who has been persecuted by Christians....but then, I'm biased on the matter.

But there was at least one positive outcome (though the price was high).
..."that lesson left her bruised and with a different view of the church, saying she doesn’t trust them. "


3/30/2012 7:58:45 AM

Nyarai

(Really not trying to defend the church. Just some insight I picked up into their madness, but it doesn't excuse their actions in the slightest.)

This exercise was (supposedly) to show them the dangers of missionary work in nations that *are* hostile to Christianity. Why they picked middle schoolers rather than prospective adult missionaries, I will never understand.

3/30/2012 7:59:57 AM

rubber chicken

Kidnapping children is an excellent way to get yourself persecuted. Self-fulfilling prophecy ?

3/30/2012 8:02:00 AM

Hertzyscowicz

Let's just hope that, when these kids grow up, they'll remember what real persecution is supposed to feel like.

3/30/2012 8:06:32 AM

Thinking Allowed

But for this seventh grader, that lesson left her bruised and with a different view of the church, saying she doesn’t trust them.

Congratulations Pastor John Lanes, you just turned a 13 year old girl away from your god.

3/30/2012 8:13:15 AM

Stonespiral

Seriously, all you have to do to teach people about religious persecution and the value of religious freedom is talk about how the Church came into any place it wanted, converted who they could and killed the rest. And I mean really go into detail. Once I learned exactly what a lot of Christians did in the name of their god, I quit and washed my hands of the whole organization.

Oh, I guess that's not what they were looking for.. kidnapping and terrorizing the children must have somehow seemed like a better idea to them in that case.

3/30/2012 8:14:23 AM

TheLastCenturion

how the fuck does this teach about religious persecution in any way? kidnapping a bunch of kids for no reason and locking them in a basement teaches them more about how to act in a hostage situation than religious persecution.

granted, kidnapping could be PART OF religious persecution, but if people are getting abducted randomly because they are christians, there are far bigger fish to fry than teaching kids to look out for armed men that barge in and take you captive by force.

3/30/2012 8:32:01 AM



"Pastor John Lanes ... was a leader in what turned out to be a staged abduction to teach children about religious persecution."

and then

"Youth group leader Andrew Jordan says the exercise was never meant to horrify."

How is that not meant to horrify? Being kidnapped by masked gunmen, no matter what the reason, is terrifying, especially for children. If this guy's surprised by the traumatization of that girl, then he's a fucking moron.

"[T]he church says other children knew this was staged and say they did find the exercise beneficial."

Yes, the church says. Because, you know, the church has never lied and/or made shit up to protect themselves. [/sarcasm]

3/30/2012 8:32:42 AM

farpadokly

I don't get it. What's it meant to prove? The coming post-rapture persecution, or something?

3/30/2012 9:17:46 AM

Berny

Charge those assholes with abduction and assault.
Religion isn't an excuse for abuse, as the Catholics are painfully learning.

3/30/2012 9:19:22 AM

dfmfundies

There's nothing "staged" about this; it is a kidnapping. And that should get the preacher accommodations for 10 to 20 years at one of Pennsylvania's many fine correctional facilities.

Oh, and he should DIAF.

3/30/2012 9:27:38 AM

cdcdrr

These idiots are lucky they didn't try this shit during a regular church service. If it were me in such a scenario, I'd have pulled a gun and shot the first guy who tried to lay hands on my child before he could even get in a "don't shoot, it's all fake". And I can't imagine any of these parents would have done differently. And a court of law would have cleared them from murder charges on count of self-defence. Morons.

3/30/2012 10:05:33 AM

breakerslion

Glad Tidings Assembly of God.

Well, there's your problem.

"Youth group leader Andrew Jordan says the exercise was never meant to horrify."

Bullshit.

3/30/2012 10:14:04 AM



It was never meant to be horrifying?

Either he's delusional or (more likely) a lying asshole.

3/30/2012 10:33:21 AM

Gloria

Doing this to a child who doesn't understand what's going on, and who hasn't consented to be there, is abusive. That they would even think of doing this without parental knowledge and permission is apalling. That being said...

The girl is in grade seven. That means probably 12 or 13. The idea of taking a young teenager and with their prior knowledge and agreement putting them through an exercise designed to teach them about things that happen, including to children that age and younger, in other areas of the world is not a bad thing. No one is in a good position to learn while traumatised and upset, and it is absolutely unacceptable that this girl was put in that position by people she should have been able to trust, but I can easily believe that there were kids who had heard about it, and that they got something worthwhile out of the experience. It reminds me of campaigns getting people to sleep outside for a night in support of homelessness, or use a wheelchair for a day to raise awareness of disability issues; getting a glimpse into the risks other people are exposed to for want of the freedoms we take for granted is not in itself problematic.

12-13 may be a bit young - I could probably have handled it at that age, but I'm sure there are people who would be better off waiting a few years. That would be where consent should have come in. But if the program were run with full information and consent, and modified a bit to reduce the risk of harm, physical or mental, to the kids involved, I don't think it's totally off the deep end.

3/30/2012 10:42:18 AM

Rationalist

for a moment there, I thought this was some pedo priest getting kinky ...

3/30/2012 11:26:48 AM

Canuovea

First off, this was apparently about missionary work.

Second off, isn't Lanza awfully similar to "Landa" the villain from Inglorious Basterds?... Oops, Godwin?

Third off, I vote we resurrect Andrew Jackson, give him a cane, tell him these fellows were hurting America, and point him in the right direction.

3/30/2012 11:32:36 AM

Godlesspanther

What would the reaction be from theses same Ass of Goders if an atheist organization did the same thing to a group of children? I think that they would be outraged -- rabid!

But we can justify it. There are certainly countries in which you would get your head chopped off for being an atheist. If one were to even attempt to start and atheist group in Iraq the group would be kidnapped an executed. In the US they go batshit over ads that merely state that atheists exist.

What I find so repulsive is that the pastor just assumes that he did nothing wrong and he is abaove the law because he believes in idiotic bullshit.

I say nail his balls to the wall.

3/30/2012 11:39:53 AM

WWWWolf

> men bust in blind and bound the children and throw them into a van. [...] Church leaders say this was a learning exercise designed to teach about religious freedom.

Wouldn't it be nice if you lived in a society where people wouldn't burst in and toss children in a van on religious grounds?

...what do you mean you already do?

Then why the exercise?

3/30/2012 11:53:06 AM

Blue the Thief



I wake up, thinking I'll have a nice, peaceful day, then I see this. It's a bad omen, I tell ya'.

Also, what the hell were the 'other children' smoking? I'd like some, might help me be less cynical, or at least sleep better...

3/30/2012 12:13:50 PM

Jubba the Mad

Oh my god, those poor children.

3/30/2012 12:32:07 PM
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