'Kidnapping' High Schoolers to Prove a Point Is Still Kidnapping

churchTell me if this sounds like a good idea to you. You enter a room of kids having a church youth group meeting. Brandishing guns, you put pillowcases over the heads of half the kids, force them to get into a van, then take off. It sounds like a good way to get your hiney sent to jail to me, but a church pastor thought it would be a great way to teach a bunch of teenagers a "lesson."

And Pastor John Lanza says he'd do it again in a heartbeat! Although he would "ask their parents" first next time. Hmm. Looks like we can add Lanza to the list of people who seem to think the rules of human decency don't apply to kids.


The bizarre fake raid and kidnapping -- which also included the teens being dumped at Lanza's where it look like he'd been assaulted -- was supposed to be a lesson on religious persecution for the youth of the Glad Tidings Assembly of God church. But parents have since complained that their kids were traumatized, and they've called in police.

Gee. Traumatized? By a harrowing ordeal that included guns and the kind of van your parents tell you to avoid like the plague the minute you're old enough to understand the words "stranger danger"? I can't imagine why these kids were upset. Snort.

Yes, that was sarcasm folks. I think Lanza and his pals should pay big time here. And those kids deserve an apology for the harrowing -- albeit fake -- kidnapping they endured.

When we send our kids to meetings like this youth group set-up, we expect our kids are in good hands, responsible hands. We don't expect someone to play with their emotional health because they want to "teach them a lesson." What these folks did under Lanza's direction is irresponsible at best, perhaps even criminal. And his plans to do it again leave me wondering what kind of parent would actually trust him around their child ever again.

As a mother, I want my kid to be respected the way an adult would be. I can't imagine anyone would "fake kidnap" an adult, and I wouldn't expect it be done to my child.

Kids aren't toys. It's time people stop treating their emotions like they are no big deal and face up to the fact that kids deserve the same respect as grown people.

What would you have done if this was your child?


Image via Balaji.B/Flickr

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