Teenagers at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Middletown, Pa., were surprised when they attended a youth group meeting at the church on March 21 and were ambushed by what seemed to be real kidnappers.
Adults, including an off-duty cop, brandished weapons and put bags over the heads of the children, ages 13 through 18, and forced them into a church van. The group was driven to the home of an assistant pastor, who was presented before the group with a seemingly bloodied and bruised face, according to Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo.
One of the adults used a real AK-47, though the gun was unloaded, Chardo said.
The church leaders who organized the fake hostage situation later told law enforcement that the event was meant to be a lesson to the children on how Christians are persecuted in places around the world, but the “educational” event may actually constitute a crime, Chardo said.
How in the world do you plan this sort of thing without considering that it may legitimately terrify and emotionally abuse these children? Is teaching about religious persecution really more important than protecting your children from harm? I guess I shouldn’t expect anything more from people who emotionally abuse children with threats of hell and damnation.