Friday, April 13, 2007

Metro Council Members Intend to Send Almost $14,000 to Their Own Church's Bible Camp

A Metro Council resolution that seems to be completely off everyone's radar is one sponsored by Carl Burch, Jr. and Carolyn Baldwin Tucker (both of whom belong to Churches of Christ) to send $13,750 of collected property tax dollars to their denomination's Inner City Ministry (ICM). If approved next Tuesday, that money would be earmarked for a "Leadership Development Summer Camp" for 360 "selected youth," even though that camp appears to be focused on propogating a particular splinter of biblical religion.

In RS2007-1888, Mr. Burch and Ms. Tucker site the ICM's Life Skills classes, which have already been funded by the Metro Council in the form of a $5,000 earmark sponsored by Ronnie Greer. While the ICM sent a letter to the Council office denying that the Life Skills classes were biblically-based in response to expressed concerns about funding proselytizing ministries, their mission statement clearly says that they teach skills based on biblical principles.

The Inner City Ministry's call for volunteers says that full-time evangelists and life-skill counselors follow up with the families of children who attend the classes. If evangelists are involved, then public dollars are being spent on proselytizing families into Churches of Christ. The summer camp "allows middle schoolers and teenagers that have participated in [the] Bible class ministry throughout the year to spend a week at camp with their Bible class teachers."

I could not find any other information on the web or in the mainstream media giving any details about the camp here in Nashville. (That fact alone is a cause for concern). But a former evangelist who participated in the Nashville ICM and who currently works in the Mobile, AL ICM (both ICMs are linked on the Nashville ICM site) maintains a website that displays pictures and descriptions of children at the Alabama camp being lead in Bible study with captions like:
The alternate environment that camp provides helps to create a quality experience for the teaching of God's word through more than one avenue.

The relationship between mentor and camper started before camp, and as we can see from the photo below makes cabin devotionals an uplifting experience as these boys study the Bible with a Godly man.

Mobile camp mentors include evangelists and "missionaries," and if they have missionaries, there is proselytizing happening.

If there is any chance that $14,000 of taxpayer money would be going to camp bible devotionals like the ones pictured below (displayed on the Mobile ICM camp site), then approval by the Metro Council would be moving dangerously toward preferring and thus establishing a particular religion.

I am not opposed to bible devotionals nor to leading children in reading the bible, but I am definitely opposed to supporting those activities with neutral public dollars. When government establishes one religion, then all others are threatened. Oppose this funding bill!

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget that Buck Dozier is a Church of Christ member too. Will these three ever stop trying to use our taxes for their narrow interests?