MSNBC Segment on School Bible Ministry Felt ‘Like an SNL Skit’

A recent MSNBC segment about a Bible ministry was described as a “Saturday Night Live skit,” Joel Penton, founder of LifeWise Academy said.

“The MSNBC piece frankly, to me, was hilarious,” Penton told CBN News. “It genuinely felt like an SNL skit.”

During MSNBC’s nine-minute segment titled, “Christian group uses public school-adjacent Bible study program to breach church-state wall,” host Alex Wagner said LifeWise Academy is “raising serious questions about the separation of church and state” even though Bible studies are taking place during free periods and off campus.

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“Penton’s LifeWise Academy is currently influencing the minds of public school kids in progressive cities like Columbus,” Wagner said, adding that Penton’s work was “distressing.”

The host shared his desire to reach every public school in the United States and warned of the impact on progressive ideologies, Faithwire reports.

“Blue Islands… those blue islands in red states and swing states… they could be swayed by LifeWise,” Wagner continued.

Additional warnings stated that some LifeWise chapters “promised ice cream or popcorn parties if kids got their friends to sign up” and that the ministry somehow “found a legal way to offer Bible lessons.”

“I just wonder if this is not running afoul of certain First Amendment stuff,” Wagner added.

Overall, Penton found the segment strange, especially since he and his team willingly discussed it with NBC.

“That they would turn it into something that they find distressing… it was funny,” he said.

At the present time, LifeWise has surpassed its goal of reaching 25 schools by 2025 and is already in over 300 schools in multiple states.

“In the same way that a child will maybe have art class once a week, and music class once a week, and gym class a couple times a week, through our program, a public school student can have Bible class once per week,” he explained. “It has to be off school property, privately-funded, parent-permitted, but the Supreme Court has ruled on this, there’s state laws about it.”

Penton launched LifeWise in 2019 after hearing about a separate effort in his hometown of Van Wert, Ohio to educate children on Christian values in public school.

Image credit: ©Getty/Jantanee Rungpranomkorn

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

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