Texas school board invites messianic ‘rabbi’ charged with rape to lead prayers

School board that banned version of Anne Frank’s diary was aware that Messianic leader is currently awaiting trial on rape charges, local parent says.

By World Israel News Staff

A Texas school board that previously sparked controversy by banning a book about the Holocaust from its district invited a Messianic “rabbi” to lead prayers opening their meeting on Monday, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

The board of Keller Independent School District invited a man, whom they referred to as “Rabbi Mark,” to kick off their meeting. Wearing a kippah, he first gave the priestly blessing, according to the report. He then uttered a prayer that has no connection to mainstream Judaism and is reticent of modern Christian prayers, albeit sprinkled with random Hebrew words.

“Grant us, Adonai, your mind tonight so we can be a blessing to our community, to our children,” he chanted. “Bring ‘Shalom,’ nothing missing, nothing broken, to this meeting tonight.”

JTA reported that the “rabbi” is Mark Aaron Griffin, a Messianic Christian who leads a congregation focused on “Yeshua (Jesus)-focused Judaism.”

Messianics appropriate Jewish symbols and some theology in order to blur the lines between Christianity in Judaism, sometimes in an attempt to trick Jews into joining their congregations. Some Messianics are cagey about their belief in Jesus, impersonating actual observant Jews and infiltrating their communities as part of missionary outreach.

Griffin is currently awaiting trial on charges that he raped one of his congregants, who said she was assaulted in his office.

Laney Hawes, a local mother who has been critical of the school board in the past, said that she asked officials if they were aware of the allegations against Griffin before inviting him to speak.

She told JTA that the unnamed board members brushed off her concerns because he has not yet been convicted.

Earlier in 2022, the Keller Independent School District’s school board came under fire for banning Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, an illustrated version of the classic Holocaust narrative.

After an intense backlash, the board returned the book to the school library a week later.