Rev. Kenny Cousar of Northview Baptist Church in Ohio, which distributed thousands of pamphlets to young children over the week, has apologized for the controversial content of the literature.
The Hillsboro Times-Gazette reported that the pamphlets featured a “Mean Momma” story about the death of three children, one committing suicide by hanging himself. One parent, C.J. Rooks, shared that she was ‘shocked” when she read one of the comic-book style pamphlets her young children brought home last Thursday.
The Ohio pastor has quickly moved to express his regret over the incident, saying that he realizes the material was “careless,” “inappropriate,” and explained that his church is not in the business of preaching scare tactics to small children. More than 2,200 of the pamphlets have been handed out according to the church’s Facebook page.
He went on to share that Northview Baptist regularly distributes Halloween tracts with a religious message, but that they had not received backlash over the material before.
Participating in Halloween activities has been the cause of much debate for churches from various denominations around the country, with some embracing the day as an innocent celebration of costumes and candy, while others warn about the dangers and influences it can have on young minds.
Some churches, like Northview Baptist, have chosen not to close their doors to trick and treaters, but find ways to keep the message of God amongst the day’s celebratory activities.
Religious tracts have been one way to remind readers of the religious association with the event, but crossing the line and disturbing parents and their children with inappropriate material is one thing that churches want to avoid.
It is not known how many other parents reported complaints about the subject matter of the pamphlets, but it is likely that the church will tone down the message next year should it decide to participate in the Halloween event again.