Was it ‘Oppressive’ for These ‘White’ Christian Missionaries to Distribute VBS Invites Outside a NYC Public School?
The men allegedly stood at the public school’s front gate on Tuesday to hand out the invites during morning drop-off, a busy time during which children and parents flow into and out of the building. While church members claim that no children were forced to take the fliers, DNAInfo.com reports that a number of parents were uncomfortable with their children, ranging from grades first through fifth, being urged to do so.
What resulted was furor on the part of some who believe that it’s irresponsible and improper for missionaries to be taking such actions outside of a public school. But the criticisms went well beyond the traditional church versus state argument, as some parents even charged that the missionaries are “discriminatory.”
“I know this church. Every summer they truck these kids up to proselytize,” said Ernestine Heldring, a mother with children at the school who also attends a Dutch Reformed church in New York. “It‘s a brand of Christianity that’s homophobic and homogeneous, and I find it oppressive to have three white guys standing there making it impossible for kids to pass without taking a flier.”
While this may seem like an odd statement, apparently Heldring was uncomfortable with the racial differences between the three white missionaries and the diverse student body (67 percent of students at the school are African American). She was also upset over the church’s rejection of gay marriage.
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