N.J. drill casts Christians as terrorists

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BURLINGTON, N.J.— Two angry Christians stormed a Burlington school and gunned down several students.

But don't worry—it was just a drill.

Two police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the "New Crusaders" who don't believe in separation of church and state, according to the Burlington County Times. According to the report, the mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.

Chris Manno, superintendent of the Burlington Township School District, told the local newspaper the drill's organizers were trying to create a real-life situation. 

"We need to practice under conditions as real as possible in order to evaluate our procedures and plans so that they're as effective as possible," he said.

Evangelical leaders said the drill further exposes anti-Christian bias.

"This is an egregious violation and discrimination against Christians," said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. "Christians are not the ones that are terrorizing the world. For a school to even portray Christians in that mode, it's just an egregious example of the bias of the administrators in these schools."

Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the high school's mock drill was also a mockery of Christians.

"At the very least it was poor judgment and, at the worst, it was flagrant discrimination against socially conservative, Judeo-Christian citizens," she said. "It's ironic—and frightening—that even as high schools across the nation are holding 'diversity' and 'tolerance' programs that exalt homosexuality, they overlook such blatant discrimination against Christian students."

Messages left with the school district were not returned, although a statement was posted on the district's Web site.

"Any perceived insensitivities to our religious community as a result of the emergency exercise are regrettable," the statement read. "It was certainly not the intent to portray any group in a negative manner." — Jennifer Mesko