Do you want the schools to teach the Bible? Do you want prayer returned to the schools? Would you like stores and movies to shut down on Sundays? Taverns too?
If so, you would have loved life in the South in the 1940s.
Jerry Clower–the wonderful Mississippi comedian and Baptist deacon whom I was honored to call friend–used to say, “My mama wants prayer in the schools. But what she means is she wants a Southern Baptist prayer. She does not want anyone and everyone leading the children in prayer.”
When the city council or state legislature decides to open each session with prayer and they start inviting outsiders to lead those prayers, they are duty-bound to respect all denominations and all religions in their area. It’s the fair thing to do.
They will get every conceivable prayer and pray-er. It’s a given, and there is not a cotton-picking thing anyone can do about it. It’s the price they pay for wanting to begin with prayer.
Let the speaker of the house decide to limit the prayers to his denomination–or a small group of acceptable denominations–and nothing good will come from it.
It’s a fact of life in the year 2019.
Once we return prayer to the public schools–which is not going to happen for obvious reasons– the same situation holds true: every religion in the area must be represented at some time. This means that sooner or later, you’ll have the home-made religions and cults insisting in a spot on the program.
Better to stay out of the prayer business, school board.
They have learned that lesson the hard way.
No one is stopping a kid from praying in school. And, we hope, school boards exercise good sense and are able to have prayers of some kind at graduations and other important events. But if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world.
A few years back, people were clamoring to have a public display of the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and school. There were many public fights over the issue. Then, something happened…
Some of us noticed that our Christian schools did not have the Ten Commandments on display. If anyone should have, you would think it would have been us!
We were being hypocritical. In time, I suspect, cool-headed leaders decided that to display or not display the Ten Commandments is not a make-or-break issue.
It’s not the end of the world.
It’s not the end of anything. It’s what you get when you have a nation made up of peoples from the ends of the earth.
We have here in America a nation unlike any that has existed before. We have been called a “melting pot,” as citizens of every nation on the planet come here and work to blend in and become Americans.
It’s been called The Noble Experiment.
Ancient Rome gave privileges to their own citizens across the empire not accorded to others. That’s why when the Apostle Paul asserted his Roman citizenship (Acts 16:37-38) the Ephesian magistrates almost had a stroke. But this country–the United States of America–accepts people as citizens from all over the world and once they are “in,” accords them the identical privileges as the ones who can trace their lineage back to the Mayflower.
Doing this, cobbling together a nation from representatives of every country on the globe, necessarily means you have to make adjustments.
The only question is how much adjustments. How much should we water down the founding principles in order to accommodate newcomers with differing convictions? How you answer that single question will almost totally define your politics in the year 2019.
I do not want public schools teaching the Bible to the children. On the surface, it sounds like a return to the glory days. But it isn’t. All it takes is one unbelieving teacher–and you would have plenty once you started this business–to forever poison the children against the Bible.
Leave the schools out of the religion business. Let the churches find ways to teach the children. If parents want their children to know God’s word, they should a) teach them themselves and b) work with others of similar convictions to have classes/schools where the Holy Bible is taught in a faithful way.
Let’s get Christian people–men and women of high character and noble principles–to teach in the public schools and universities. Let them do their job well and be salt and light, and a thousand good things will result.