K-12 Bible Lessons Program Akin to Proselytizing for ‘Church of Trump,’ MSNBC Host Claims

K-12 Bible Lessons Program Akin to Proselytizing for ‘Church of Trump,’ MSNBC Host Claims

A host on liberal MSNBC claimed that teaching students the Bible off-campus during school hours would make them a part of what she called the “Church of Trump” and help “determine what happens at the ballot box.” 

Alex Wagner’s remarks came in the most recent in a series of three reports over the past two weeks on MSNBC and/or parent company NBC on the nonprofit LifeWise Academy, whose buses pick up some 30,000 students across the country during the school week and take them to an affiliated church or other off-campus religious institution, presents them with Bible lessons, then returns them to their schools. 

The three news and/or commentary pieces were critical, to varying degrees, of the nonprofit for supposedly “blurring” the lines of church and state, with one claiming that LifeWise has become a tool of the Right to turn liberal, Democrat-run cities more conservative. 

In the most recent piece, Wagner even sought to link LifeWise to former President Donald Trump.  

The left-leaning host said that Trump has “managed to turn his Christian followers into politically pious voters, members of the Church of Trump.”  

The connection of Trump to the Bible-teaching nonprofit, Wagner claimed, lies in that LifeWise influences “the minds of public school kids in progressive cities like Columbus [in Ohio].” She went so far as to say the Bible program would “determine what happens at the ballot box.” 

Neither MSNBC nor NBC responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. 

LifeWise’s practices might surprise some, but they’re entirely legal in the United States, says Joel Penton, the nonprofit’s founder and CEO.  

The Supreme Court, in a 1952 case, Zorach v. Clauson, permitted New York City students to leave their classrooms for religious instruction. Since that case is largely unknown, Penton says, many parents are often surprised when offered the option of midday Bible lessons for their children. Parents often assume that the government has full control over their child’s school day. 

“I know what people are feeling,” Penton said. “They’re feeling that the school owns that time—the state owns the time of 8 a.m. [to] 3 p.m., or whatever the school day is, and that’s just not true.”  

Currently, LifeWise serves 323 schools in 12 states, totaling about 30,000+ K-12 students, Penton said in a recent phone interview. 

The nonprofit founder says that LifeWise serves students in 12 states, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Some 250 of the programs serve elementary schools, a majority of the total.  

There’s no charge for participation in LifeWise, Penton said, for either school systems or the student participants.  

“We want to make the Bible available to all of them [students]. And that’s what we’ve been trying to build, a plug-and-play program any community can implement,” he said. Forthcoming programs are set for schools in Washington state and even California, in a Los Angeles County school.  

He said he hopes to have LifeWise operating in at least 20 states and 500 schools by this fall.  

Original source

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.