\"Pretend Kidnapping\" by Evangelicals

One of the problems journalists face in reporting on religion is that they lack the experience of the group being examined. Consequently, certain turns of phrase or practices that are very important to a given religion are opaque to the rest of us and we misunderstand their significance.

So, this article at the New Republic by Amy Sullivan is especially helpful in explaining who the practice among some evangelical youth groups of "pretend kidnapping" the youngsters to see if they will deny Christ leads to the birth of other, persistent myths, like the one surrounding one of the victims of the Columbine shooting, the myth that one of the shooters asked if she was a Christian, she said "yes," and he shot her. That probably did not happen, but it fit an existing narrative amogn evangelical youth that Sullivan knows from her own experience.

Of course, Catholics should not snicker too easily at this "pretend kidnapping." Anyone familiar with the case of Edgardo Mortara knows that the Catholic Church has not always been a paragon of virtue when it comes to kidnapping children.


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