Home Christian News Florida Pastor Cancels School’s Autism Events, Calls Them ‘Idolatry and Demonic’

Florida Pastor Cancels School’s Autism Events, Calls Them ‘Idolatry and Demonic’

matt baker
Screenshot from YouTube / @TrinityChurchInternational

A Florida pastor is facing backlash from some parents after he canceled Autism Awareness Week events at a Christian school. Matt Baker emailed families at Trinity Christian Academy in Lake Worth Beach on March 30, just days before the observation was scheduled to begin.

The advertised dress-up days wouldn’t be happening, the pastor said, “because anything that exalts itself above the name of Christ should be brought down.”

RELATED: Meet ‘The Autism Pastor’ Lamar Hardwick: Preacher, Author, Cancer Warrior

According to the Palm Beach Post, the school-wide email labeled the autism observance activities as “idolatry and demonic.” In his email, Baker asked, “If Jesus Christ led Trinity, would HE have an Autism Awareness Week? Of course not!” He added:

The world, in its rejection and hatred of Christ, often devises programs such as “Autism Awareness” (and cultural figures like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, etc.) to get the benefits of His teachings (compassion, kindness, feeling love, and self-worth) without acknowledging Jesus as the ultimate authority and the source of all life.

Pastor Matt Baker: Autism Week Is ‘Diametrically Opposed’ to Christ’s Teachings

In a written statement to the Palm Beach Post, Pastor Matt Baker said he was “surprised and concerned” to learn about the scheduled observance, which occurred at Trinity last year. “The teachings of Christ are more than sufficient for ministering to all our precious children,” said the pastor, who added that “moral aspects of this initiative…were diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ.”

Baker, who became Trinity’s interim leader last year, said the private school has been reviewing its calendar and “canceling and reframing activities and events to align with our Christian Worldview.” For example, this year’s school Easter egg hunt was canceled too, resulting in “mixed emotions in the community,” Baker said.

School parent Vanessa Francisco told the Palm Beach Post that some disgruntled parents are now considering removing their students from Trinity. Baker’s email was “disgraceful, disrespectful, and ignorant” and should be condemned, Francisco told the school’s board of directors.

“That email felt like an unprovoked attack on my family,” wrote Francisco, who has an adult son with autism. “A slap to the face I never saw coming and from our pastor, of all people.”

“How can we continue to allow someone so grossly ignorant to preach to our children, to educate our children in any capacity?” she asked school leaders. “His hatred for the autistic and disabled community is so enormously obvious, that I cannot stand by and just accept what [he] tells me.”

In an email to ChurchLeaders, Pastor Baker wrote, “I shared that the teachings of Christ are sufficient to minister (share the love of Christ with kindness and compassion) without the need of worldly influences that have rejected Christ as the supreme authority of our lives.”

RELATED: Alleged Murderer Turns Himself in After Talking to Pastor, Spending the Night at Church

“I shared that ANY initiative or program or event that teaches our children that their identity is found in anything other than Christ is idolatry and demonic,” he said, adding, “I’m sad that this is now controversial” and “this has all been a huge misunderstanding.”

At Parent Meeting, School Didn’t Address the Issue

On Friday (April 5), Trinity’s head of school led a morning meeting for parents about upcoming events. After he adjourned it without addressing the autism week, some parents loudly asked, “That’s it?” A reporter described a post-meeting gathering of disgruntled parents and school staff who said the issue is being “swept under the rug.”