Different local media outlets are covering the controversies surrounding the revival in public schools. Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation rush to any scene of Christian activity that they feel is unconstitutional. They will threaten, bully, and sue Christians in the name of justice, while leaving people of other religions alone to practice freely. What kind of signal does this send to young students of faith? Who really are the folks experiencing discrimination? How many young children have felt like criminals because of this opposition to their expression of faith? With different interpretations of the First Amendment, it is important to know the intentions of our founding fathers.
The First Amendment of the Constitution records, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Did our founding fathers desire to remove prayer and all religious practice from schools and public places? If so, why did they promote it and Bible readings in schools? Our government did not stop these practices for hundreds of years but rather encouraged it. In 1781, the Congress approved the purchase of Bibles to be used in public schools. In 1830, Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, published a letter in support of using the Bible as a school textbook. In 1900, virtually all school text books published contained Biblical references or teachings. Kids were even taught the ABC’s using Bible verses. It would appear that the context of our history would prove that groups like FFRF have grossly misinterpreted the constitution.
It was not until the 1900’s that Supreme Court Judges had these inconsistent rulings of prayer being unconstitutional. The truth is that many Supreme Court Judges that preceded them would disagree with their interpretation. In 1844, the Supreme Court ruled that American schools are to teach Christianity using the Bible. In 1890, the Supreme Court ruled that America was a religious people and it was fitting that its people would teach their children the Christian faith. Notice there is no mention of Separation of Church and State in the constitution at all. Nor will you find that religion must be removed from public places and only practiced in Church. Thomas Jefferson, the only founding father to mention Separation of Church and State, required Washington D.C. schools to use the Bible in the classroom. Maybe it is not our children who are wrong that want to pray, it could just be our current judges and leadership that need to be educated.
In light of these historical facts, we should be proud of our great Christian heritage. While we do not want to force anyone to pray, we should help preserve these valuable traditions as referenced in Matthew 5:13: “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Salt is a preserving agent that will stop the decaying or deterioration a product. Ruling that prayer was unconstitutional was the most devastating blow to our youth than any event in history. Not only have morals decayed, educational success has declined, and students deal with unimaginable issues as never before. The government wants to stop the teaching of Christian values in school. At the same time, they want to pass out condoms, encourage females to have abortions without parents’ permission, and wants men in girls’ restrooms. These new “values” are not working very well and our students are more confused than ever. We must support our kids and pray for the school system. The Church must never give up the fight for the values that made America so great.
(Ralph & Elizabeth Pyszkowski, Your Brother & Sister in Christ. All comments are welcomed at [email protected])