A few days ago, a high school wrestling coach in Dearborn, Michigan was let go due to concerns that he had been allowing an assistant coach, a local clergyman, to try to convert Muslim students to Christianity:
A veteran wrestling coach at Fordson High School lost his job amid concerns that his one-time assistant, who is a local minister and parent of a wrestler, attempts to convert local Muslim youths to Christianity.
The decision not to renew the contract of Jerry Marszalek, a coach for 35 years at Fordson, sparked a firestorm of controversy, with 200-300 parents packing a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to support the decision of the school’s principal, Imad Fadlallah.
According to Marszalek, parents and community leaders, Fadlallah and other parents have long been concerned about contacts between the wrestling team and a local clergyman, the Rev. Trey Hancock of the Dearborn Assembly of God.
Hancock, who helped Marszalek with the team for 10 years, and whose son, Paul, is now a member, confirmed that he attempts to convert Muslim youths to Christianity and that he baptized a 15-year-old Muslim student in Port Huron a few years ago.
Hancock insisted that he never attempted a conversion as part of his work with the wrestling team, or on school grounds. But when asked if he understood the concerns of Muslim parents, he said, “I consider it my work to pastor to anyone who is within my reach. So I can imagine they would be concerned. But is the Dearborn Public Schools going to be dictating what every pastor can or cannot do within his congregation?”
Obviously, the problem was not what Hancock was doing “within his congregation” but rather what Marszalek was allowing him to do in his capacity as a coach. Imagine, for a moment, if the roles here had been reversed and a Muslim coach had been trying to convert Christian students – the Right would have gone absolutely ballistic. But instead of acknowledging that these coaches clearly overstepped their bounds, the Right has done was it always does in such situations: play the victim
The controversial incident at Fordson reflects a growing hostility towards Christianity throughout the country, and not just among members of the growing Muslim population. In recent years, Christian persecution has taken on a variety of forms in the United States—from a rising intolerance for proselytizing to the eradication of nearly all historical Christian references in public school textbooks. Although the magnitude of persecution in the U.S. is hardly comparable with that typically experienced in countries such as China, Burma, and Sudan—where persecution is so severe that thousands of believers are often martyred for their faith—the anti-Christian perception in American schools, media, and mainstream society is proving to be a cause for concern for Christians in the United States.