When Dunkerton, Iowa, school officials invited a band known as “Junkyard Prophet” to play at a special student assembly, they got much more than they bargained for – or so they say.
Junkyard Prophet is a Minnesota-based musical group affiliated with “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International,” a fundamentalist Christian youth ministry whose founder, Bradlee Dean, has made homophobic and misogynistic statements. Dean also serves as the band’s drummer.
According to the LaCrosse Tribune, Dunkerton Community Schools Superintendent Jim Stanton expected the band to deliver an anti-bullying, anti-drug and anti-alcohol message. What he got was offensive, extreme and totally inappropriate for a public school setting.
During its musical performance for the entire school last week, Junkyard Prophet didn’t offer much in the way of religion or hatred and several sources said students enjoyed the performance. But when the band asked to divide the boys and girls into separate groups for breakout sessions, things really got bad.
The mother of a female student told the Tribune that Junkyard Prophet advised the assembled girls “that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren't virgins” and “that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42.” The girls were also told to be submissive in the household and were shown photographs of aborted fetuses, according to the Tribune.
Stanton said he initially had a good impression of Junkyard Prophet because it had performed at the school years earlier and received positive feedback. After this program, however, he changed his tune and accused the group of misrepresenting itself to the school.
Stanton also tried to do damage control, emphasizing the “positive portions” of Junkyard Prophet’s message and stating that the group expressed “an opinion about intolerance that's not in line with the beliefs of the Dunkerton Community Schools.”
The school has reportedly asked that its $1,500 payment to the band be returned.
It seems that Stanton and his staff failed to do their homework. A visit to Junkyard Prophet’s website doesn’t reveal much about how extreme the group is, but the band does describe itself as “controversial” and a news story on its press page is headlined “What Would Jesus Rap?”
The group is more forthcoming on its Twitter feed, in which it describes itself as “The most non-politically correct Christian nu-metal band on the planet. It's not about being nice - it's about your soul!!”
You don’t have to be really tech savvy to figure out what Junkyard Prophet is about and that it has absolutely no business performing in a public school. Its Twitter bio alone is enough to raise multiple red flags. (School officials can also check our list of “stealth” ministries to watch out for.)
There is no excuse for Dunkerton High School’s failure to perform a background check and for using taxpayer dollars to fund hateful rhetoric and religious proselytizing in a public school.
Even if the school manages to get a refund, it still gets an F in conduct.