Alex Marshall-Brown is an actress and stuntwoman who recently was working on her laptop at a shady spot of grass in front of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of North Hollywood. She was quickly accosted by a Karen and a couple of - Kens? - let's just say white males representing the church. Karen actually claimed, while filming the scene from her cell phone, that Ms. Marshall-Brown was threatening her life for arguing with her. One the white males went about nailing a "No Trespassing" sign to the shade tree and threatened to call the police. As he actually uttered the phrase "all lives matter", the second white male behind him smirked grotesquely. Here is the video she took herself: https://www.facebook.com/alexmarshallbrown/videos/pcb.10105446046106991/10105447053583001/?type=3&theater What is apparent is the she can more than speak for herself, so I'm not about to describe the events for you. Watch the video. I will, however, take up what this fool from the publicly supported church says. He says people aren't being nice to the church, so they have to be unkind to her, because they have to treat "everybody equally". The "all lives matter" hatespeach follows. This is what St. Paul's Lutheran Church thinks of Christ's teachings. This is supposed to be the example of Christ as a beacon on the hill, a light in the darkness. Why does it so often fall to me, an atheist, to point out the unbridgeable chasm between what Christ taught and what his self-professed followers actually do and say? Let's be clear: the phrase "all lives matter" is hatespeach. It is propaganda designed to counter the Black Lives Matter movement by suggesting that protesting the institutional murder of blacks, in which nearly 3 times as many blacks are killed by police than whites - while blacks represent less than 14% of the population in the US. The "all lives matter" propaganda is objectively defending the status quo, and hence the wholesale murder of Americans because they're black. It isn't just anti-progressive, or even racist, it advocates murder. The church's formerly public homepage ( https://stpaulsfirst.org/ ) has been placed behind a login wall. The church's Principal and school administer Rendy Koeppel had this to say in a 2015 self-assessment:
I was also intrigued by Dewey's views on the primary goals of schools. He believed the most important goals of all schools are 1) developing the individual and 2) developing the citizen ( Henson, 2003 ). This is contrary to our society's emphasis on facts, skills, test scores, and and common core standards. A blessing of our Lutheran schools is the goal of educating the whole child, spiritually, socially, academically and more as children of god.Now one cannot say that the behavior of his students is reflected in the behavior of the paid staff at St. Paul. One can say, however, that the aggressively racist behavior of that staff is reflective of what they learn in church, and moreover that what the church teaches adults, it inculcates in children by extension. For its part, the church did make a statement on its FB page:
St. Paul First Lutheran Church and School, North Hollywood, Calif. Yesterday an exchange was recorded at St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church between Alex Marshall-Brown and a couple volunteer and non volunteer workers from the church. Marshall-Brown, who was sitting under a tree on church property, was asked to leave, as she was sitting on private property. After initial interaction with church personnel, Marshall-Brown started recording when the two men posted no trespassing signs near where she was sitting. It is the position of St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church and School that Marshall-Brown posed no risk or threat to the property and that this incident was not handled in a way representative of the church or the school. The volunteers from the church who were involved in the exchange have voluntarily requested to step down from their positions. Mr. Santiago Botero, acting principal at St. Paul’s school, issued the following statement: “The disrespect demonstrated by the individuals does not represent the attitude of St. Paul’s First. I was out of town at the time of the incident, but I believe it could’ve and should’ve been handled more respectfully. “Because our preschool, which is currently operating to provide childcare for families of essential workers and been during this COVID pandemic, we as a staff do have a policy against loitering within a certain radius of school for the safety of the children (this also includes media safety). We had to implement this in response to several incidents of vandalism the church and school experienced. While Alex was not complying with that policy, she was clearly not harming any person or property and it should’ve been more clearly and more respectively communicated to her." “I am personally offended by what I saw in the video and would like to apologize on behalf of St. Paul’s First. I will try to contact Alex and she would ever like to speak to me personally about what she experienced at St. Paul’s First, I would invite the opportunity to meet with her. “As Christians, it is our duty to demonstrate to others the love and mercy that Christ shows to us. Unfortunately, this did not happen yesterday. I immigrated to the United States and have experienced both love from people as well as racist assumptions about me as a Latino man, and even though I can’t put myself in the shoes of the black community, this is why I want to represent St. Paul’s First as a loving church. I was trained as a teacher and am training to be a counselor, and that is what I do. I am here to help, here to help educate people about Christ’s love.”You'll note the phrase "we as a staff do have a policy against loitering within a certain radius of school for the safety of the children", but as an FB commenter pointed out, the school is across the street. Moreover, where Ms. Marshall-Brown sat appears to be at least 10' from any access point to the church itself. This is the "policy" that was violated. You may remember from the video that church staff never mentioned Covid protocols, they only mentioned "vandalism". Mr. Botero's connection of the policy to Covid does appear superfluous even in his own language: there is no explicit tie of the policy to Covid, but only to "vandalism". Why the mention of Covid at all? I wonder if it could at all be a consequence of the fact that suggesting Ms. Marshall-Brown might be a "vandal" is racist on its face. I wonder if these incidences of vandalism actually amount to anything. [ On a personal note, my little Nazarene church I attended as a child and teenager was vandalized once, and vandalism certainly happens. Consider the church which early on defied the Covid rules, generated an outbreak among its members, and was subsequently burned to the ground. ] I wonder Mr. Botero felt it necessary to tie his response to the extraneous issue of protecting children. Surely no disrespect in this regard was intended toward "Alex" as he insists on calling her. Perhaps he simply wanted to tie his apology to issues his readers might have more sympathy with than a bunch of white Christians from his church making overtly racist comments toward her while threatening her with the policy, all the while reminding her of how dangerous the police are for black folks. Nevertheless this apology seems more sincere to me than others I've seen churches issue, and Mr. Botero deserves credit for making it. By the way, St. Paul's First is a member of the Western association of the same school system that Trinity Lutheran is. Principal Koeppel has something quite interesting to say on the "funding opportunity" specifically tax exemptions, but now also tax expenditures, offer them:
In the meantime, what should Lutheran schools decide when faced with this funding opportunity? WELS leaders need not be fearful about participation in such programs. Following the careful and thoughtful process of many WELS schools and their leaders who have instituted these programs, educational leaders should seize the opportunity that is before them to reach out with the gospel to more people in their community.Thank you Principal Koeppel for being so open and transparent about the fact that my tax dollars are helping your organizations to prosyelitize in their communities. Thank you for explicitly tying the cancerous culture of the Capitalist Christ to overt racism and implicit fascism. You make the work of anti-theists such much easier when you're honest.