God's in the Hot Seat
There exists an all out war on God in the United States.
Recently in the news, two plaques were ordered covered up at elementary schools in Midlothian, Texas. The plaques imbedded in the exterior wall of the school stated, “Dedicated in The Year Of Our Lord 1997 To The Education of God’s Children And To Their Faithful Teachers In The Name Of The Holy Christian Church – Soli Deo Gloria.”
The Freedom From Religion group cited the plaques were unconstitutional (more on this later). This group spends its time picking frivolous fights in the hope their complaints will stick and they will be able to coerce local schools and municipalities to eradicate religion altogether. Yet amazingly, they don't go after the Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, or any other religious group other than Christians, though I'll let you ponder that revealing little ditty on your own time.
This war has been taken so seriously, that it has even corrupted the mindset of our community members. Many years ago in Plano ISD, blood boiled when it became known that three different children at three different schools got into trouble for passing out religious symbols such as candy canes and Jesus pencils during various holidays. A then 1st grader, Michaela Wade, was banned from passing out pencils with a religious message to her classmates during their annual holiday party. I found this to be a compelling story through the years, mostly because her mother, Christine Wade who willingly stepped into the limelight for this cause, was my neighbor and friend when we first moved to Plano back in the early 90s.
The Wades have always been good Christian folk. Christine put a blue 'It's a Boy' sign on our window with my firstborn and made us a home cooked meal. I even recall when her daughter Michaela was born, in fact, they were there for my eldest son's Christening come to think of it. To be honest, I'm sorry I lost touch with them through the years because they were living an amazing testament to God's word, and because this candy cane battle was an amazing story.
When the candy cane brouhaha started, I recall reading about Christine in my Plano Star Courier and thinking, "You go girl!" Still, the outcome hasn't been exactly as it should have been. I mean, there was nothing quite like impeding a child's First Amendment rights as Michaela was not only told by the principal she could not pass out her Jesus pencils, but also told that she was not even allowed to write the words, "Merry Christmas!" on her cards. Bizarre interpretation of the law.
The ultimate outcome of years of legal battles is that the principals were protected from being sued for their misinterpretation of constitutional law, and the Supreme Court refused to hear a case overturning that.
So how did other districts handle this situation once it came to the limelight? Rather than deal with it, many outright banned the holiday parties altogether, because that's what we do, isn't it? We practice avoidance in order to not have to deal with those pesky minority whiners. Evidently the school lesson was that being politically correct is always so much more preferable to enforcing our constitutionality.
So let's dwell on this for a bit. Should those same principals tell a Muslim that they cannot wear their hijab? Should they be allowed to tell a Jewish boy he must remove his yarmulke? What's next? Will students wearing a cross or crucifix be told they are not allowed to wear that to school? So why pick on youngsters who bring candy cane treats and red and green napkins?
To put it bluntly, this whole concept is just plaint stupid. Shouldn't we be a living testament to acceptance of all, rather than hiding all? The only lesson learned is that we should cover up our own Christian beliefs so we don't 'bug' anyone else, yet if you are Muslim and your head wrap bugs a Christian student, they are expected to pretty much suck it up.
Some lesson. Even adults have learned nothing. The United States Air Force has waged a war on God by removing God's name from several of it's oaths in the 2012 cadet handbook. The words, "So help me God." were removed from the oath of allegiance, the officer's oath and the enlisted oath likely as a show of solidarity the Military Religious Freedom Foundation who find that word utterly offensive. Though an Air Force Academy spokesperson claimed it was a, "simple mistake."
This war is not new. We've seen multiple battles over the years where tantrum-throwing atheists demand that crèche's be removed from public property. Several years ago a large controversy unfolded in Athens, Texas. Groups like Freedom From Religion find nativity scenes and other religious symbols so highly offensive, they vehemently attack, pulling every twisted argument they can from their arsenal.
I wonder, since the land churches are built upon do not require payment of any property taxes, wouldn't that technically make them public property as well? Shouldn't they just ban all churches since the crosses, bells, and stained glass windows are just so eye-numbingly offensive to them? When does common sense come into play?
The idea of separation of church and state is actually a relatively new idea taken from a letter written in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists assuring them there would be no master 'national denomination' created. When this country was formed, the founding fathers insisted all denominations would be allowed to practice, that there would be no dominating force such that in England.
Fact is, there is nothing in the First Amendment about any separation of church and state, nor in any founding documents of the US Constitution. That one letter has been taken out of context and become bastardized through the years to mean something completely different than its original intent.
Warfare on God is not a new thing; it has existed for a very a long time, yet the US Constitution had always prevailed. In 1853 a group petitioned Congress to separate Christian principles from government. Congress had strong words in response, "Had the people [the Founding Fathers], during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect [denomination]…. In this age, there is no substitute for Christianity…. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."
It is quite clear that they had no intension of wiping religion, any religion, from the face of the country at the behest of anyone. But time marched on and so did the attacks on God.
In 1947, Jefferson's letter came to the forefront yet again, this time in Everson v. Board of Education where the separation of church and state words were taken out of context. Further degradation continued throughout the years as those words were washed, rinsed, and repeated and in June 25th, 1962, in the case Engle v. Vitale, it was written.
This was a new, modern made principle designed through purposeful paraphrasing of a letter, though it was never granted as part of the US Constitution. Yet, if you repeat something enough times, the masses will buy into it, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker. We hear many politicians cite the separation of church and state as part of Constitutional law. Just ask any high school or college student if the US Constitution grants separation of church and state. Their pop culture answer is not surprising.
Meanwhile, the separation of church and state is the modern battle cry. Poor God is in the hot seat and he never even did anything wrong.
Published September 21, 2014