Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana is hitting the news big time. For a couple of reasons. First off, the prayer debate. To pray or not to pray in the schools. Nola.com has he story on how some Tangiphoa teachers and administrators are flouting the prayer ban. 4th grade teacher has prayer in class, and has also Bible study classes in the cafeteria, admonishing students who don’t show.
The ACLU has been fighting this battle in Tangipahoa for a decade. They were favored by the Court with a 2004 prayer ban in the schools (2004? I thought this was taken care of decades ag) and a February decision banning prayer before school board meetings, a decision the school board is appealing with the help now of the Christian-oriented Alliance Defense Fund.
The 4th grade teacher, Pam Sullivan, reportedly told a student teacher who had protested the prayer, “I have been teaching for 12 years, and I can do what I want in my own classroom or at school.”
Sullivan also imparted to the student teacher that she was against mixed-race marriage.
The Tangipahoa school board (I guess hmmm the same one appealing the decision banning prayer before school board meetings) says that anyone acting in violation of the ban is doing so without the Board’s authority or consent, and promises that teachers and administrators will receive training so “violations due to ‘misunderstandings'” can be avoided.
I suppose that as there are probably no violations due to “misunderstandings” this won’t have much effect.
At the same time (this news I came upon over at Big Brass Blog) Tangipahoa is in the news because of three arrests over the past couple of days of members of a splinter group of the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula who had formed a “cult” and were having sex with children and animals, sometimes in the church classrooms though not in the sanctuary or during worship. Those arrested included the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deupty and the self-annointed minister of the church.
More arrests are possible. Five victims are given as interviewed and there are believed to be more. Sheriff Daniel Edwards said that some “cult” members were parents of the victims and that the parents either knew about the alleged abuse or had harmed their own children.
There was a confession. Louis Lamonica, 45, the former minister of the Hosanna church surrendered to Livingston Parish sheriff’s deupties on Monday and confessed to having sex with children and animals. On Tuesday, Christopher Blair Labat, 26, the Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputy, was arrested by Tangipahoa authorities.
He was fired from his job the same day as his arrest.
Two of the men in custody and the victims have told investigators some sexual acts were recorded, Edwards said.
This all came to light when a woman contacted Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s authorities from Ohio, saying she had fled Louisiana several months prior in order to protect her child after she had learned what was happening.
Livingston Sheriff’s Detective Stan Carpenter says church minister Louis Lamonica turned himself in on Monday and admitted to having oral and anal sex with kids for years…
Source: WAFB Louisiana news
The abused animals are given as having been dogs and cats.
The years concerned are between 1999 and 2003 at Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula.
An undated fish camping story concerning supervisory adults and boys from the church at Bass Pro Shops gives Louis Lamonica as pastor at “Hosanna Assembly of God” in Hammond at the time of the article.
Rev. Louis LaMonica, pastor of the church, joined us later that evening. He said something about being late because of a church function. I suspect he just waited as long as he could, thinking the boys would finally be asleep. He didn’t wait long enough. Bringing his own supper of fast food, he obviously had heard of my famed “Deep Woods Char-raw” and didn’t take any chances, despite his belief in divine healing…
Pastor LaMonica also left early the next day, saying something about having a lot of praying to do for us. He was probably correct about that.
The address of Hosanna Assembly of God in Hammond was also the address for “First Assembly Christian Academy” of Ponchatoula, LA at a Child Day Care Services Business Listing Page.
A reason I post the story is because of the long battle that the ACLU has had in Tangipahoa over the presence of prayer in schools. I don’t know personally this area of the country but my husband’s mother’s family, though not from Hammond or Ponchatoula, was from Washington Parish and neighboring Tangiapahoa Parish, and were/are Assembly of God. Assembly of God has produced a number of the megachurches and is responsible for Jimmy Swaggart, Jan and Paul Crouch and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (I wrote recently a little on them in here).
I think we can ignore the fact this abuse occurred in connection with an Assembly of God church, because sexual abuse of children by pedophiles in esteemed positions happens in probably all churches, I know I’ve family and friends that were sexually abused in extremely conservative churches as well as in very liberal churches, though news has focused on abuses in the Roman Catholic church and people have gone so far as to conjecture that it’s the sexual ascetism of the priesthood that makes them vulnerable to pedophelia.
But I’m not going to ignore Hosanna Assembly of God being in the same parish as one which has been a great headache for the ACLU, a parish where teachers and school authorities have refused to understand the inappropriateness of prayer in the public school which grants especial privilege to those of the Xtian faith, who are unable to separate education from religious agenda, who confuse free speech with coersion as a fundamental American right. Because this contempt for boundaries and willingness to coerce and humiliate, is nothing but abusive. And it’s distressing that many individuals don’t recognize how this is so, that it isn’t love of deity motivating but the imperative of exercising personal will over individuals deemed subservient. The faith they profess has nothing to do with it.
Right now Republican David Vetter of Louisiana is speaking on C-Span. He’s saying that Luisianans have asked him to get government moving and not involved in obstructionism, political games, saying they tell him they want political fairness. He’s saying of the judicial nominees that…
their lives have been disrupted…attacked…many charges have been leveled against them that are patently untrue…and they don’t even get an up or down vote on the senate…we don’t get to vote…that’s not fair…not fair in the minds of any ordinary Americans…we can have differences of opinion, but then at the end of the day we need to have resolution, we need to have an up or down vote…we have an historic opportunity in the Senate right now…I ask that we all come together…it’s the right thing to do for the American people, the citizens of each of our respective states…I make a plea to…Senator Landreau to do just that…
But to continue. The Daley Times Post, “Your Answer to Liberal Media Correctness and Political Bias” posts the following story by Sher Zieve on the ACLU and Tangipahoa. Sher Zieve is a broadly posted rightwing commentator, published at mensnewsdaily.com and conservativevoice.com to name just a couple. The arguments he offers for prayer in the school and against the ACLU are fairly standard, I’ve heard them many times over the years. His views may be characterized as wingnut but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous than if they had a veneer of reasoned rhetoric. Many people have never thought out their faith and religious beliefs, which they were probably fed from an early age, and grew up believing them to be universally right because that is what they had been told. The kind of arguments Zeive employees are dangerous because they talk straight to the child in the adult who is unable to deeply consider his or her beliefs if any questioning would mean unsettling the entire foundation of their being.
The ACLU is still hot on the trail of those who would dare offer any prayer, whatsoever, in public schools. But, as has become its norm, the ACLU’s campaign against God is relegated only to ‘Christian prayer’ and Christianity. This “great protector of our civil rights” (all sarcasm intended) has yet to challenge any Muslim prayers that have now been mandated by many California public schools. For the ACLU, Islam is allowed but, Christianity is forbidden.
Zeive may be referring to the lawsuit concerning Excelsior School near Oakland, California, where, post 9-11, as part of world history instruction, which includes teaching on all major religions, a course on Islam was being taught as one of eleven units of a social studies class called World History and Geography: Medieval and Early Modern. The class is included in the state curriculum, and parents are given the opportunity to choose to keep their children out of the class in which children learn about the Five Pillars of Islam. The parents who did keep their children out of the class were not those involved in the suit. Zeive lies when he says Muslim prayers have been mandated in the California public schools, but the lie doesn’t matter to Zeive, he wants his Christian conservative readers to believe that anything not Christian conservative is the arm of Al-Qaeda.
In its recent lawsuit against Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish School, the ACLU is calling for the fining and imprisonment of the school’s Board “for their calculated un-American and immoral conduct to embarrass, hinder or obstruct the court in the administration of justice.” To the ACLU, God is now “un-American” and “immoral”. The first reason for this latest ACLU contempt charge is due to Shane Tycer (not a school employee) broadcasting a prayer (Christian of course…not Muslim) over the school’s public address system, before a basketball game. This flew in the face of a prior ACLU obtained court order (it’s easy for the ACLU to get these ‘court orders’ when judges are in its pockets), which disallows Christian prayer anywhere and anytime at the schools.
God is un-American and immoral? Zeive knows he’s twisting the truth of the situation, that “immoral” and “un-American” clearly refers to such as the conduct of teachers who pressure children to participate in bible study at school. But he sacrifices the truth and chops out the middle, knowing that many Christian readers have probably already chopped out the middle, martyring the school board at the dastardly hands of the liberal ACLU (which used to be Commie but is now instead insinuated to be pro Al-Queda, whatever is the anti-American flavor of the time). This is followed with the complaint of liberal judges in the pockets of the all-powerful ACLU, leading one to assume that anyone against prayer in the schools must be anti-Xtian, and ignores that Xprayer is not disallowed anywhere or anytime at the schools, that it is legal as part of a club meeting on school grounds at the initiation of students, not during class periods.
The initial ACLU lawsuit against the Louisiana school, which was precipitated by one parent complaint (no doubt an ACLU “plant”), included a suit against an elementary school student for reciting the Lord’s Prayer before a school board meeting. Guess it’s time for our children to spend a stint in jail, for their disallowed Christian religious beliefs! Note: I wonder how the ACLU will react when Muslims begin to heavily populate the Louisiana public school system, as they have successfully accomplished in other states.
Zeive presents the complaint as coming from an ACLU plant, leading the reader to believe that the school serves only Xtian individuals. In fact, Louisiana may be the last bastion of Xtianity and Democracy in America, Islam (and thus Al-Queda) presented as having completely taken over other states.
If the ACLU follows its “hands-off” attitude (as it has in California and Florida) toward Muslims, we will see Islamic prayer allowed. But, Christian prayer will remain taboo. Does anyone still really think that the ACLU is non-partisan in its ‘no-religion-in-public-schools-or-public-places’ stance? If you do, read what the ACLU had to say about its suit against Tangipahoa Parish School when one of its representatives stated that the school was engaging in a “pattern and practice of disobeying the law in order to promote Christianity over other religions in public schools.”
Well, then, Zeive, is Islam worship permitted in Tangipahoa parish schools? Pagan practices? Hindu? Buddhist? Are all these religions and more represented in daily worship in the schools?
The ACLU never has liked truth and uses all the weapons and ammunition in its arsenal to destroy it. In its 5 April press release, the ACLU writes: “The lawsuits include a challenge to the promotion of the biblical faith-based story of creation as opposed to the scientific theory of evolution.” Scientific theory of evolution? Not even close. Human evolution is one of the secular community’s “faith-based” tenets. It cannot be proved. Thus far, each and every attempt (over many years) by the scientific community to present a human “missing link” has been a failure. All of the potential missing-links have been apes. Not even close and, certainly, no cigar.
Sigh. Conservative Xtians for years have tried to turn Secular Humanism into a religion. Forget Tangipahoa Parish, Zeive is just using it to launch into the ACLU=Used to be Commie=Anti-American knee-jerk response that wherever the ACLU inserts itself then fundamental rights of Americans must be at risk. Which they are. Just not in the way Zeive would have his readers believe.
So, in its continuing and unrelenting efforts to destroy the United States, the ACLU will continue its jihad against Christianity. The Judeo-Christian message and ethic were what founded this country and have sustained it through multiple challenges to its sovereignty and its very right to exist. But, if the ACLU finally wins its war against the United States of America, neither our existence nor our independence will any longer be an issue. The USA will be gone. This is the predominant reason that Congress’ appointment of truly strict constructionist judges is imperative. Our survival as a nation and a people depend on it.
We have a Conservative Xtian Republican president. The House and Senate are Conservative Republican. But Zeive wants it all. He wants Conservative Xtian Republican justices. Any minority voice is too much, and always has been for Conservative Xtian Republicans.
It’s heart-rending listening to the speeches on the Senate floor today. Progressives and Dems question how it’s “good politics” with the Republicans’ hammering away with the same lies over and over, but with every blow Conservative Republican listeners can ignore the truth, can suspend disbelief, placing faith and authority in the actor over the reality. There’s a certain hypnotic quality to the repeated lying. I don’t believe, am repulsed, yet comprehend it as hypnotic and imagine the response of those who have every desire to believe, and do, who sigh relief and submit.
The teachers who refuse boundaries and insist on exercising personal will over their students, demanding communal prayer, if they are a certain brand of Christian, all have in common their own submission to what they would believe is the will of god, extinguishing, they believe, their own will in favor of it, thus reborn in their Christ. The mystic concept of rebirth is an ancient one and sad that Xtianity treats it in a shallow manner that essentially asserts the will of the pastor over the individual. But if a teacher is not one “reborn”, and is simply blindly exercising what he or she was taught when young, then there’s not much difference. The person believes they are acting as an agent for a greater power, regardless, one bigger than themselves. They don’t have to accept responsibility for what they do, are not responsible, because they are only agents for the greater. And there is a certain hypnotic quality to that as well, ceasing to pay attention to the physical reality, to what is external the inerrant bible as interpreted by a higher authority acting as medium, accepting the story as the reality. The child can relax in the lap of the father or mother and rest secure in their seeming omniscient knowledge, trusting all that is future and incomprehensible is understood by them, even managed by them, is as neatly ordered by them as the habits that keep the days and nights from chaos.
Suspension of disbelief is what’s floating the government. A fragile consensual truth script that must have absolute control over all parties lest the theater door open and the world crash the party. Which is why anyone not seated in the same theater, absorbed by the same movie, is the enemy.
Go back to sleep, say the Republicans. Wake up, wake up, the Democrats are finally yelling.
Something like that.