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School's Mock Shooting Criticized for Use of Two 'Christian' Gunmen

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By Doug Huntington, Christian Post Reporter
April 3, 2007|4:35 pm

Christians have been voicing their disapproval over a recent mock school shooting which is allegedly anti-Christian.

On Mar. 22, 2007, Burlington Township High School, located in New Jersey about 25 miles northeast of Philadelphia, ran a Columbine-style hostage drill which featured two extremist Christians as the gunmen. As the news spread since the mock exercise, Christians have begun to accuse the school district of Christian bigotry.

"This denigrating drill is a test of the reactions and responses of New Jersey's Christians, along with all other fair-minded citizens of any faith, to such a blatant example of anti-Christian animosity," responded Bob Pawson, National Coordinator of the Scriptures in Schools Project, in a statement. "A public apology is in order. The citizens of Burlington County could rightly demand the resignation or termination of school officials who dreamed up and approved this reprehensible scenario."

The drill included two police detectives who played members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don’t believe in the separation of church and state. They entered the school, pretended to shoot a few students with their handguns, and then proceeded to take ten volunteer “hostages” to the school’s media center.

The school then simulated a complete lock-down, and then evacuated the school’s youth.

The motivation for the extremist gunmen was that their daughter was expelled for praying before class.

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“You perform as you practice,” explained Superintendent Chris Manno before the exercise, in the Burlington County Times. “We need to practice under conditions as real as possible in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they're as effective as possible.”

Christians were upset that the drill was considered a probable situation.

“If the police had portrayed the real life scenario of gay terrorists or abortion rights activists upset for any contrived reason you would read about it in every major paper across the United States; and rightfully so because it would be ridiculously stupid,” commented Terry Trippany, editor at Webloggin, on a personal blog.

Other Christians are pointing out the fact that the scenario could in no circumstance happen, because prayer in school is supported by the First Amendment.

"So what allegedly real condition was imagineered?" added Pawson, also a Trenton, N.J., public school teacher. "A grotesque scenario saturated with Christian-bashing prejudice and bigotry; a scenario which could never possibly occur."

“Why could it never happen? Because, as all Burlington school officials know full well: It is perfectly legal for any student or staff member to pray in a public school.”

Pawson urged all churches in Burlington to encourage their youth to continually pray at school and to bring their Bible to class.

The mock hostage situation was meant to test the reactions of police, students, and faculty in an emergency.

 

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