A judge decreed that any student uttering the word “Jesus,” in prayer would be arrested and placed in jail for six months. A law enforcement official was to be at a high school graduation and to arrest any student who prayed specifically to “Jesus,” or any other deity. The judge also said that anyone who violated his order would wish he or she had died as a child. In a similar incident a man faced arrest and prosecution for the corruption of a minor, if law enforcement authorities could prove he had handed out religious tracts.
You may wonder where these incidents occurred. Could they have happened in the old Soviet Union? Could they have happened in Cuba? Could they have happened in the People’s Republic of China?
No, both incidents happened in the United States of America and both were reported in the best selling book, Persecution, How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity by David Limbaugh. In May, 1995, U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent, a judge for the Southern District of Texas decreed that any student uttering the word “Jesus” would be arrested and incarcerated for six months. He vowed his earnestness in his official order.
His ruling stated, among other things,” And make no mistake, the court is going to have a United States Marshall at the graduation. If any student offends this court, that student will be summarily arrested, and will face up to six months incarceration in the Galveston County Jail for contempt of court. Anyone who thinks I am kidding about this order better think again. Anyone who violates these orders is going to wish that he or she had died as a child.” Students were prohibited, even of their own initiative, from uttering the name of “Jesus,” or any god.
In the other incident, the man mentioned handed out the tracts near a school in Connecticut.
Some reading about these incidents may think how awful that such things could happen in America, with its supposed freedom of speech and religion. Others may see nothing wrong with them because of a supposedly mandated constitutional principal they believe in, of separation of church and state. Make no mistake, however, such things are a part of a war on Christians in public schools, and they are not what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.
First, let us look at what the First Amendment actually says, and I will list only the portion which concerns freedom of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of.” That’s it, nothing more, nothing less. Congress, not state governments, not local, can’t establish a religion and can’t prohibit the free exercise of.
Now, let us consider what the founding fathers said and did. It will become quite apparent that they would consider what is happening in America to be a war on Christians in American public schools. It will be quite clear they never meant to prohibit the free speech religions rights of students, to pray, to read their Bible, or share their faith, although they were against the state establishing or choosing any particular Christian denomination over any other, or anyone being forced to have a faith at all. In my arguments, I am not saying whether or not the Bible should be taught in public schools, although it once was, but I am saying a true reading of the First Amendment and consideration of the founding fathers shows that students should have a right to read the Bible on their own, pray, and share their faith. I will say the founding fathers would turn over in their graves if they knew about the war on Christians in American public schools.
Benjamin Franklin, as reported in www.wallbuilders.com, believed that schools teach the necessity of public religion….and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others.” He also chose a New Testament verse as the motto for the Philadelphia Hospital, advocated a paid chaplain for Congress and in 1787, when he helped found the college that bore his name; it was dedicated as a “nursery of religion and learning.” It was built on Christ, “the Corner-stone.”
“The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed,” said Patrick Henry, as quoted in www.leaderu.com.
“I have always said, and will always say, that studious perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens,” said Thomas Jefferson, who as President of the United States was also elected first president of the Washington D.C public school board. It would seem Jefferson did not have a problem with students praying or reading a Bible in school, because the school system did use the Bible as a reading text.
These are only some examples. There are countless others that show the intent of the First Amendment is being twisted to wage a war on Christians in American public schools, to keep students from praying voluntarily on their own initiative (the Supreme Court only outlawed state sponsored prayer, not student initiated prayer.) , sharing their faith, or even reading their Bible in school. In fact, in early America, the Bible was read in schools, and there was prayer. Even though there are often judicial decisions like those of Judge Kent, there have been countless others reaffirming the religious freedom of speech in public schools.
Catherine Cleaver, of the Family Research Council, before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 1995, said that discrimination against citizens with religious groups has become the only “constitutionally safe” resolution to a false conflict between establishing a state religion and freedom of speech.
Nor are the incidents in Texas and Connecticut isolated incidents of discrimination and persecution against those of faith in the war on Christians in public schools in America. In other examples from Limbaugh’s book: a Vermont kindergarten student was forbidden to tell his students that God is not dead, because that kind of talk is not allowed at school; in Kentucky a public school student was not allowed to pray or even mention God at school; a teacher at an elementary school in Florida overheard two students talking about their faith in Jesus and rebuked them, not for talking in class, but for talking about their faith; a substitute teacher in Edison, New Jersey, was rebuked for leaving Christian literature in the faculty lounge, yet other teachers had been allowed to leave literature trashing the “religious right;” a teacher in Los Angeles posted objections to the school’s celebration of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month on a school bulletin board, and his posting was removed, even though other teachers routinely posted opinions on the bulletin board; and there are countless other examples. In just one other example, school administrators forced a teacher in Denver to remove a Bible from the library and another from his desk, although he only read his Bible on his own time and did not read it to students.
I know in the New Testament the Bible says not to marvel if the world hates us as Christians, and Jesus taught the world will hate Christians. As a result, I will not marvel that many are waging a war on Christians in American public schools, to deny people their right to pray, to share their faith, or to read their Bibles. I will marvel, however, that many in our court system, those who are supposed to guard our rights, have lost all sight of the original intent of the First Amendment.