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Ohio church issues apology after pastor tells kids to cut and spit on him for Easter lesson
A church in Ohio apologized this week for what it called an "inappropriate" Easter lesson about the crucifixion of Jesus after an associate pastor told students to spit on him and cut him.
In footage obtained by NBC News, Jaddeus Dempsey, an associate pastor at at Impact City Church in Pataskala, could be seen urging students to cut him with a steak knife and slap him as part of their youth group session on Monday.
"He was like, I don't want you to go crazy with it," Ai'Janae Parker, 12, recalled hearing Dempsey tell her and other students during the lesson, "but I do want you to slice it down my back and make me bleed."
Parker said the whole demonstration made her feel "weird" and told NBC News that "Jesus did that for us so we wouldn't have to go through it. And that's the part I don't understand."
At one point in the video, one of the students could be seen dragging a knife down Dempsey's back, but it didn't appear to draw blood.
One of the students' parents, Amanda Quick, said she didn't understand the lesson.
"They are supposed to be role models. They are supposed to be people our children can look up to," she told WBNS. "I understand where they came from, but I don't understand it."
Justin Ross, the lead pastor at the church, said in a video shared on the church's Facebook page a day after the incident that he found the lesson "inappropriate."
However, he also said Dempsey's aim behind the demonstration, which was intended to teach the students about Jesus's trial and crucifixion, was important.
"After Jaddeus allowed them to spit on him, and slap him and cut him, he sat them down and he explained to them about this guy named Jesus," Ross said.
Dempsey said he was "sorry for misrepresenting the community, the church, the parents, the students" in the video.
"My intention was just to show them how much Jesus loved them," he continued.
The church said it plans to conduct a follow-up investigation into the incident, according to NBC News.