A wrestling coach at a high school in Dearborn, MI — which has a relatively high Arab population — has lost his job due to his assistant who tried to convert kids to Christianity:

A veteran wrestling coach at Fordson High School lost his job amid concerns that his one-time assistant, who is a local minister and parent of a wrestler, attempts to convert local Muslim youths to Christianity.

The decision not to renew the contract of Jerry Marszalek, a coach for 35 years at Fordson, sparked a firestorm of controversy, with 200-300 parents packing a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to support the decision of the school’s principal, Imad Fadlallah. The board directed administrators to consider reviewing the source of complaints against Fadlallah.

The developments occurred as officials and parents grapple with conflicts over faith, education and the future of a predominantly Muslim school, amid one of the largest Arab populations in the country. …

According to Marszalek, parents and community leaders, Fadlallah and other parents have long been concerned about contacts between the wrestling team and a local clergyman, the Rev. Trey Hancock of the Dearborn Assembly of God.

Hancock, who helped Marszalek with the team for 10 years, and whose son, Paul, is now a member, confirmed that he attempts to convert Muslim youths to Christianity and that he baptized a 15-year-old Muslim student in Port Huron a few years ago.

The resulting outrage among the Religious Right™ (of the Christian variety, of course) has been palpable. Principal Fadlallah has been accused of hitting a student, apparently as part of an effort to get him fired.

I’m always amazed at the lengths Christians go to in order to express themselves religiously; in this case:

  1. By breaking the law (kids are not supposed to be proselytized to in public schools)
  2. Engaging in behavior that got someone else fired (Hancock’s missionizing made Marszalek lose his job)
  3. Trumping up accusations against someone in retaliation

This is supposed to be an example of righteous, exemplary behavior on the part of Christians? Really?

Christians, see if you can get this: Leave other people alone, especially kids in public schools whom you are not allowed to proselytize to. Is there some part of this which is not clear to you?

Oh, and spare me the sanctimonious responses about having “religious freedom.” First of all, your freedom ends where other peoples’ begins; Muslims who want to remain Muslim are just as entitled to do so, as you are to remain Christian. Second, this is not part of an effort to stamp out Christianity. No such movement exists and in fact it could never happen since c. 80% of the country is Christian. That you think it’s happening is solely a figment of your hyperreligious imagination and is the natural product of your own religion. You cannot help but feel this way — nevertheless you have no right to force your own theological delusions on the rest of the world.

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