Michele Bachmann Lobbies for Christian Punk Ministry Bent on Forcing Christ in Public Schools
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Rep. Michele Bachmann will be headlining a fundraiser in November for controversial ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide (YCRBYCH).
Based in Annandale, Minn., the group has made a name for itself as an anti-drug Christian punk rock band that organizes motivational student assemblies to bring Christ to public schools. But over the last several years, parents and school administrators have complained that the ministry misrepresents itself, claiming that the group is not transparent about its Christian mission. And since schools pay using public funds, some are concerned that the group is violating the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.
Bachmann will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the group on Nov. 12 at a Bloomington hotel. Bachmann’s office did not return a request seeking comment about the event.
It won’t be Bachmann’s first time at a YCRBYCH fundraiser. At a Minneapolis hotel in October 2006, she offered a powerful prayer for the ministry and praised the group’s work of sharing the gospel in public schools.
“Lord, I thank you for what you have done at this ministry… how you are going to advance them from 260 schools a year, Lord, to 2,600 schools a year,” she said. “Lord, we ask thy faith that you would expand this ministry beyond anything the originators of this ministry could begin to think or imagine. Lord, the day is at hand! We are in the last days! The day is at hand, Lord, when your return will become nigh. Pour a double blessing, Lord, a triple blessing on this ministry.”
In an April 2009 broadcast on Christian radio station KKMS, the group acknowledged that it is going into public schools to evangelize.
“We are doing assemblies here, folks, just so you understand, we do public high school assemblies,” said one of the group’s members. “We are speaking to kids in our schools about the constitution, suicide prevention and our own testimony of how Christ turned our lives around in public schools so we can get the light into kids hands in public schools.”
Complaints around the Midwest
In school districts around the Midwest, school administrators have taken heat for inviting the ministry into schools.
In 2003, the group came to a Benton, Wis., high school. “They had a captive audience for their message, and that wasn’t right,” Benton Principal Gary Neis told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. He was reportedly so upset that the ministry strayed from its anti-drug message that he held another assembly to apologize to the students.
“They talked about influencing and brainwashing people. Be wise to the fact that is what they were doing. They were using the same tactics,” Neis told the students at the assembly. Neis said he contacted other schools in the area and found that they had no idea that YCRBYCH was a Christian ministry.
In 2005, at a Eureka Springs, Ark., high school, students walked out of the assembly; afterward, the principal took heat from parents. According to the local paper, The Lovely Citizen, Eureka Springs superintendent Reck Wallis, said, “I take responsibility. We had no idea about their religious, right-wing message. They misrepresented their program. We want [Eureka Springs schools] to be open and all inclusive. … They won’t be back.”
At Pequot Lakes High School in central Minnesota in 2007, the group stirred controversy when students reportedly ran out of the assembly crying after the group showed graphic images of abortion and told the students that God wanted women to be subservient to men. John McDonald, Pequot Lakes High School Principal, told WCCO, “We were expecting something a bit different,” he said. “The thing we apologized to students for is the program wasn’t to the expectation that we thought it would be.”