Except for one thing....the Jews
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
Seekers, a Christian group, has a presence at
about 30 high schools in the city. At Stuyvesant
High School, some Seekers hold a prayer during
A Christian Group Finds Its Place in the Public Schools
By MICHAEL LUO
On a recent sunny afternoon at Stuyvesant High School, the track team warmed up in the lobby. On the sixth floor, the school newspaper staff assembled to listen to a speaker. Outside, a cluster of students gathered to pray.
The students were members of Seekers, the elite school's Christian club. Like Joshua marching around Jericho before the walls came tumbling down, they were walking around their building and praying in preparation for an event called Jesus Day.
But evangelism in a public high school, especially in New York City, can be complicated. In a school like Stuyvesant, full of people with different beliefs and some with none at all, belonging to an evangelical group like Seekers can make members the objects of scorn from classmates and even teachers.
"There are a lot of people who respect that you're religious and you're involved in Seekers," Miss Chan said. "And there are also a lot of those who just kind of see you as someone who's a religious fanatic, that we don't care about science, that we're ignorant."
School administrators must also wrestle with difficult questions about where the right to religious expression ends and the separation of church and state begins. Some school officials have discouraged their Seekers clubs over the years from having Jesus Day, while others have imposed strict limitations on advertising for the event, including prohibiting groups from using the name "Jesus" in any literature.
At Stuyvesant, Stanley Teitel, the school's principal, has given the group wider latitude, saying he trusts other students at the school to be able to make up their own minds about Jesus Day. The school also has Jewish and Muslim clubs. The members of Seekers were free to post fliers for Jesus Day around the school and hold their event in the cafeteria after school.
As a result, about a hundred students gathered last Tuesday in the Stuyvesant cafeteria for Jesus Day 2006. A colorful poster explaining "How do U get saved" covered one window. A poster in the middle of the cafeteria was decorated with pink hearts containing prayer requests. "Get into Yale. Get love," one read. "Stepmom, stepdad get saved," another read.
A book table offered Bibles and tracts. "The Atheist Test," was the title of one; another explained evolution, "The Evidence: For and Against."
Stuyvesant's is one of the largest and most active Seekers clubs in the city. During the school year, about 30 students meet every Thursday after school in a classroom, where they worship and study the Bible together, or just talk. At its essence, the group provides students, Christian or not, a spiritual and social refuge in the midst of what can be a difficult time, high school, members say.
Wing Wong, 17, a senior, who described himself as still searching spiritually, joined Seekers about two months ago after enlisting in the Marine Corps. He did it, he said, because he was looking for people who would genuinely care for him. "I wanted to look for a new group of friends who would always be there," he said.
The program last week got off to a shaky start. The group had scheduled several performances and "testimonies" by Mr. Seok and Miss Chan on what Jesus Christ had done in their lives. But the acoustics in the cafeteria made it difficult to hear. Many of the students appeared to be there just for the free food, goofing off, while others tried to hush them. Many started trickling out after the event began.
The event drew to a close with a final musical number. But by then there were mostly only Seekers members remaining. Gone were the unbelieving friends many had invited. Gone were those on the fringes of the group who had come. The people left were family. They danced and sang together.
Note that in a school noted for its academic excellence, students are allowed to use faith-based groups to preach against evolution. Hint: We have the fossils, asshole, we win. I think ALL religious groups that activley prostletyze should be banned from the school system, period. You want to pray, flog yourself, whatever, do it in private.
Too bad Jen grew up in Rockland County, because if she had grown up in the city, she'd know how weird this is.
Well, to start, a few months ago, New York magazine ran a large piece on bisexuals at Stuy. Then of course, the article forgot to mention that Stuy has a large Jewish population in it's student's body. Being the city's second best high school, it is a highly desirable place to send your kids.
I think both of Chuck Schumer's daughters, as well as Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell and the Beastie Boys are among the schools more famous alums.
The idea of having religious services there is amusing. The idea of it not pissing off people is more amusing.
The "non-believers" were more than likely.....Jews.
So what the article skips over was that these folks were trying to convert people. Given who goes to Stuy, Asian Christians and Jews being a sizeable proportion of the student body. They aren't holding Jesus Day for themselves. The reporter missed the question he should have asked, which is "are you converting people".
Oh, and that kid who joined the Marines has issues. Real issues. No school in New York could be less welcoming to the military as a career than Stuy. The school is geared for one thing, sending your ass to college. They will find a school you can afford and get into. Marines private is an option they discourage.
posted by Steve @ 4:51:00 PM