When Dunkerton High School in Iowa invited a Christian rock band called Junkyard Prophet to perform during a school assembly this past Thursday, they never expected to get a hate filled sermon as part of the deal. But that’s exactly what happened.
According to the Lacrosse Tribune, the message was supposed “to be about bullying and making good choices,” such as being non-violent and against drugs and alcohol. “Instead, junior and senior high students at Dunkerton High School and faculty members said they were assaulted by the group’s extreme opinions on homosexuality and images of aborted fetuses,” along with messages against strong independent women.
After the band performed their music, they separated the boys, girls, and faculty in the building, which should have been an immediate red flag. According to witnesses, the band talked to the boys about the band’s Ten Commandments and talked about musicians that have died of drug overdose. The discussion with the girls was much different. The band told them “to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in the household. The leader in that effort also forced the young ladies to chant a manta of sorts about remaining pure” and would not allow any of them to leave the room.
One parent, Jennifer Littlefield, told the Tribune about a phone call she received from her daughter after the assembly. “They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins. I couldn’t even understand her, she was crying so hard. They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42. It just blows me away that no one stopped this.”
According to LGBTQ Nation,”the band is part of the “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International” Christian youth ministry founded by Bradlee Dean. Dean has advocated for imprisonment of gays and lesbians, and has said that gay men molest an average of 117 children “before they get caught,” and that Muslim nations that execute gays are more moral than American Christians.”
At the end of the day, Superintendent Jim Stanton told the students that the band doesn’t represent the beliefs of the administration and that the school is tolerant of those who are different and that diversity is celebrated in the school. But that doesn’t excuse the inaction of the school staff. They never should have allowed the students to be separated into groups and away from faculty members in the first place. It shows a complete lack of responsibility. And the very fact that they allowed a Christian band with dubious ties to a hate group to perform in front of students is disturbing. The problem is that the damage has already been done. Undoubtedly there are students that completely agree with what the band had to say, and now feel inspired to begin bullying others who don’t believe as they do. What this band did, is indoctrinate students with a message of hate. Clearly, this band holds the same beliefs as many in the Republican Party.
This is precisely why religion should remain outside of school. Though school officials expected a general message of ’don’t do drugs and don’t be violent,’ the current wave of hatred spreading throughout the Christian organizations should have prompted school administrators to research the band’s associations. The school paid $1,500 for the band to perform. That’s tax payer dollars, folks. Tax dollars paid to a religiously affiliated group. That sounds very much like a violation of the religious freedom of students to me. The school didn’t have to invite this band. They could have hired a non-religious band to perform and stress the positive anti-drugs, anti-violence message the school had intended in the first place. Heck, they could have just delivered the message themselves. But they didn’t. They chose a religiously affiliated band with ties to a Christian hate group. This is why parents should bring lawsuits to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. This kind of hate speech should not be tolerated in our schools.