Now, Religion in the News. A report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item are some excerpts from WorldNetDaily.com, November 4, 2003, with the headline: “Exploding the Myth of Church-State Separation—In Texas, a US district judge decreed that any student uttering the word ‘Jesus’ at his school’s graduation would be arrested and locked up. ‘And make no mistake,’ announced Judge Samuel B. Kent. ‘The court is going to have a United States Marshall in attendance 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.’
“In Missouri, when fourth grader Raymond Raines bowed his head in prayer before his lunch in the cafeteria of Waring Elementary School in St. Louis, his teacher allegedly ordered him out of his seat in full view of other students present and sent him to the principal’s office. After his third such prayer offense, little Raymond was segregated from his classmates, ridiculed for his religious beliefs, and given one week’s detention.
“And in New York, kindergartner Kayla Broadus recited the familiar and beloved prayer, ‘God is great, God is good; Thank you, God, for my food,’ while holding hands with two students seated next to her at her snack table at her Saratoga Springs school early last year. But she was silenced and scolded by her teacher, who reported the infraction to the school’s lawyer, Gregg T. Johnson, who concluded that Kayla’s behavior was indeed a violation of the separation of church and state.”
Tom: Dave, these are from WorldNetDaily.com—it’s a pretty good website, and they’re…the issue that they’re addressing is church-state separation. Is this a reality for us? I mean, it’s a reality in one sense. Many of these decisions that Gary went over are based on that. But is it true? And…
Dave: What do you mean, “Is it true?” Is it true that…are these incidents true? I presume they are.
Tom: No, they’re true. What I’m getting at is in this country, church-state separation, which is the basis for the rulings that we have here, is that, in effect, a fact of our constitution—of our Declaration of Independence?
Dave: Well, it certainly was not in the minds of the founders of this country. They talked about God. They opened their sessions with prayer, and so forth. They never had that idea. But without even getting into that, Tom, this is absurd. It angers me. This judge! I wish some students…there should have…there must have been a number of Christian students there. Of course, you can’t just stand up and shout the name “Jesus.” But the valedictorian, if the person was a Christian, you know—or whoever—it’s…anybody mentions the name “Jesus” at the school’s graduation—arrested and locked up? Come on! What law is he relying upon? He already says they get six months? It simply isn’t true. And then, for a student just to bow his head in prayer—thank God for his lunch, or whatever? Tom! This is like the Soviet Union when they wanted to get rid of God, create an atheistic society. And that’s where we’re going. Can’t we learn something from them?
In Russia today, former Soviet Union, they recognize that they destroyed themselves by this. And they welcome Bible teachers to come into the school, teach morality from the Scriptures. They realize there’s no real morality without God himself.
So, what are we doing? We’ve got some judges, we’ve got some teachers, they have a vendetta against God. Maybe they had bad experiences as children. I’ve run into some people like this, who have literally screamed at me their hatred because I believe in the Lord. And they are—it’s happening in our country. We are chasing God out of our schools, and that reminds me, Tom…
Tom: But, Dave, is it really God, or is it Christianity—biblical Christianity? Because we know there are some schools, particularly with…amazingly, incredibly…the growing influence of Islam in this country, you have schools that have dedicated areas in which the children can go and have their prayer time.
Dave: Yeah, Muslims get to do their thing. But Christians can’t do theirs.
Tom: Well, Buddhists’ meditation…
Dave: Yeah. But they chase God out, because Allah is not the true God, and it reminds me, remember the letter that was published. I forget—was it Time, or Newsweek?—anyway, I think it was in our local paper: The little girl that wrote, “Dear God: Where were you when Columbine happened?” And God replies, “I wasn’t in the school. You already chased me out.”
That’s what we’re doing. And we’re trying to throw God out of our whole country, and His judgment is going to come upon us for it. And that’s a tragedy, Tom. A tragedy! And of course, it’s being done through evolution. You can’t challenge evolution. There’s no freedom. That’s what this is. This is a denial of freedom of conscience, freedom of speech. And our country is going down, down, down morally—we’re not getting better, for sure.
Tom: Dave, but is there…can we put an asterisk on this? For example, we’ve talked about Europe, and about church states. These are state churches. And what a big problem that created in Europe as we’ve looked at their Christianity today. It’s—talk about cardboard and lacking life and truth! But what about for us today?
Dave: Of course there was resentment in Europe. I’ve talked to many university students over there. What happens? They get baptized, and then they get catechized, and then they get married, and they get buried—and that’s all they want. Christianity is just not even worth talking about in Europe, and part of the resentment is because of a state church. Your taxes go to pay the salaries of the pastors or the priests. And even though you don’t want this to happen…so it becomes something that is imposed by the state. We don’t want that. But that’s not what this is. This is simple freedom for a person to just pray to the Lord!