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Is mega-church having mega-influence over SoCal school board?

LA School Report | April 30, 2015



Reveal

By Amy Julia Harris | Reveal

Bible verses, calls to accept Jesus and the promise of eternal life can be heard in two disparate places in a southeastern suburb of Los Angeles: the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills megachurch and the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education.

Three of the five school board members worship at the evangelical church on Sundays; two of them continue praying and preaching during the board meetings on Thursdays.

“Our lives begin in the hospital and end in the church,” then-board President James Na said during a meeting in January 2014, according to a video of the meeting. He urged onlookers to surrender themselves to God and, to “everyone who does not know Jesus Christ, go find him.”

Some parents in the district say such proselytizing belongs at church, not at the school board. Parents first raised concerns about the prayers in September 2013 – a few months before Na encouraged people to find Jesus – contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin nonprofit atheist group that opposes entanglements of church and state. The group sent board members a letter notifying them that they were violating federal laws.

That didn’t stop the public praying.

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