N.J. Drill Casts Christians as Terrorists

by Jennifer Mesko, associate editor

School district regrets ‘perceived insensitivities.’

Two angry Christians storm a school and gun down several students. That was the scene in Burlington, N.J., one day last month.

But don’t worry — it was just a drill.

Two police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don’t believe in separation of church and state, according to the Burlington County Times. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.

Chris Manno, superintendent of the Burlington Township School District, told 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.”

But is the scenario realistic?

“This is an egregious violation and discrimination against Christians,” said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. “Christians are not the ones that are terrorizing the world. For a school to even portray Christians in that mode, it’s just an egregious example of the bias of the administrators in these schools.”

Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the high school’s mock drill was also a mockery of Christians.

“At the very least it was poor judgment, and at the worst, it was flagrant discrimination against socially conservative, Judeo-Christian citizens,” she said. “It’s ironic — and frightening — that even as high schools across the nation are holding ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ programs that exalt homosexuality, they overlook such blatant discrimination against Christian students.”

Messages left with the school district were not returned.

A statement on the district’s Web site said: “Any perceived insensitivities to our religious community as a result of the emergency exercise are regrettable. It was certainly not the intent to portray any group in a negative manner.”

Terry Trippany, editor of and a political writer, had this to say on his blog: “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. …”

Tell Superintendent Chris Manno and the Burlington school board that portraying Christians as terrorists is unacceptable. E-mail or write to Burlington Township School District, P.O. Box 428, Burlington, NJ 08016.