The “big picture” of religious use of schools for worship finds very widespread use across the state, far more than I expected.
The details are even more unsettling, showing how tightly the churches and school administrators were cooperating in sidestepping full compliance with applicable rules, and how churches were allowed to make themselves at home in these nominally public facilities.
A link was provided here yesterday to the detailed report on use of Farrington High School by New Hope Oahu, and I’m reading through reports on Kaimuki and Kaiser.
What’s also very clear in prior public statements by New Hope leaders is that their business plan has been to utilize the schools because it is less expensive than obtaining their own private places of worship. In other words, the schools have been an amazing bargain, freeing up church resources for evangelical and economic expansion into new territories.
My regular column over at Civil Beat this week takes another run at this issue (“Hawaii Monitor: ‘Jihad Against God’ Or A Case of Public Malfeasance?“).
And here’s another problem that has so far gone unstated: How has organized religion taken over our public schools so thoroughly without reporters getting interested and digging into the business side of things? Why did it fall to Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber to spend their time and money turning up evidence that millions of dollars in fees have gone unpaid over the years?
As a friend, also an excellent reporter, commented to me yesterday afternoon, “We were asleep.”
Remember that list I was trying to compile of “sacred cows” that deserve a closer look? In retrospect, New Hope and its evangelical partners certainly should have been on the list.
What other issues are also “hiding in plain sight?”
By the way, you might find this 2011 article on New Hope’s Wayne Cordeiro from the Eugene Register-Guard of interest (“Finding his faith: The founder of more than 120 churches around the globe overcame a personal crisis to continue to serve here and afar“).