NEW DELHI, INDIA
Staff of a missionary school in India’s eastern state of Andhra Pradesh faced another day of anxiety Thursday, July 8, after Hindu militants attacked and threatened to kill them for allegedly converting Hindus to Christianity, Christians said.
Witnesses said at least three Hindu militants raided the Good Shepherd School in the village of Ippallapally on May 29, hitting several teachers and warning them to stop working in the village. They apparently also called them several derogatory names and threatened to kill them.
Raj Kumar, the school’s principal, suggested in published remarks he was shocked about the attack. “We have been doing social work in this village for the last three years, and have been involved in educational and community development programs,” he said in a statement distributed by advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC).
However, “While we were advertising for new students in the village, three Hindutva activists approached us and abused us.” Hindutva is a term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism in India.
The Good Shepherd School is a missionary school with seven staff members, and teaches 134 students from ages three to six, ICC said. It apparently includes in its curriculum a Biblical approach to science and ethics.
The school filed a complaint with the police, who reportedly promised to investigate. However Christians said they were still awaiting concrete actions against suspects Thursday, July 8.
The latest incident came amid reports of several attacks against India’s Christian minority. “This incident illustrates that radical Hindu persecution of Christians in India is a common occurrence,” said ICC Advocacy Director Jeremy Sewall.
“Hindu persecution of Christians in India is a common occurrence. Christian teachers ministering to India’s children risk their lives to bring the Gospel.”
‘This is an overt indoctrination of children who are too young’
Photo courtesy Liz Hafalia, San Francisco Chronicle
A public school in San Francisco bused 18 first-graders to City Hall yesterday, so the youngsters could scatter rose petals in celebration of their lesbian teacher’s wedding.
The students, from Creative Arts Charter School, waited on the steps for their teacher with bags of pink rose petals, bottles of bubbles and, at least for some, with political buttons asking Californians to vote down Proposition 8, a ballot measure that seeks to define marriage in the state as a union between one man and one woman.
“She’s a really nice teacher. She’s the best,” 6-year-old Chava Novogrodsky-Godt told the San Francisco Chronicle, wearing a “No on 8″ button on her shirt. “I want her to have a good wedding.”
As WND reported, supporters of California’s Proposition 8 have claimed that combining legalized same-sex marriage with the state’s mandate that schools “teach respect for marriage and committed relationships” would result in kindergartners being taught the virtues of homosexual marriage. Opponents have called such arguments fabrications and scare tactics.
Yesterday’s field trip wasn’t quite kindergartners, but it was close.
“It shows that not only can it happen, but it has already happened,” said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign.
“It’s just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding,” White told the Chronicle. “This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose.”
The school’s interim director Liz Jaroflow, however, defended the field trip to a homosexual wedding as academically justifiable.
“It really is what we call a teachable moment,” she told the Chronicle. “I think I’m well within the parameters.”
Jaroflow also told the Chronicle that despite the potential objections of some the decision was not controversial for her, and that “it’s certainly an issue I would be willing to put my job on the line for.”
According to the Chronicle, the field trip was a surprise to the teacher, Erin Carder, and originally proposed by a parent.
“How many days in school are they going to remember?” asked parent Mark Lipsett. “This is a day they’ll definitely remember.”
Carder married Kerri McCoy on the office balcony of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the ceremony.
As the couple held hands on the balcony overlooking the City Hall’s rotunda, Carder proclaimed, “With this ring I thee wed!” shouting the last word for emphasis.
The couple told the Chronicle that they have participated in campaigning against Proposition 8 and planned to travel around the city after the ceremony in a motorized trolley car with banners reading “Just Married” and “Vote No on 8.”
Two families of children in the class chose not to give permission for the trip, their children remaining at the school with another first-grade class.