http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/08/17/Florida.school.prayer/index.html

If we needed an indication that we are over-legislated, this incident is definitely an indication of that.

People who do not understand the Christian faith have a hard time grasping the fact that Christians cannot just turn their “religion” on and off like a light, depending on the circumstances in which they find themselves.  Christianity isn’t a religion, by definition, it’s a faith, and a lifestyle.  A Christian believes he is a vessel in which the Holy Spirit dwells, a creation of the God of the universe, who is, through faith in Christ, united with his creator.  (I’m using the male pronoun because I am speaking from a personal perspective, but the same holds true for Christians who are female.)  It’s hard to stop being that simply because you happen to have a career in the public square.

So, a school official asked another one, presumably both Christians, to offer up a prayer.  Perhaps, considering the civil authority of our day, that was not politically correct or appropriate, though I think someone would really have to have a gigantic chip on their shoulder to be offended by that, or be very gullible to think that they were being coerced.  But it is absolutely ridiculous to even put it in the same category as criminal behavior.  Yet that is apparently how it is being treated. 

Are we surprised that the ACLU is involved? 

The ACLU spokesperson says that it was not their intention for anyone to go to jail, and they wanted to make it clear that no one was going to jail because they prayed, but because they violated a court order. 

The ACLU’s spokesman said, “The moral of this story is, for us, this is about the students’ right to be free from teachers and school administrators thrusting upon the students their religious beliefs.  They keep talking about the religious rights of the administrators, but the administrators and the principals don’t have any right to trumpet their religious beliefs in a school setting.”

Really? 

The First Amendment to the Constitution says that Congress “shall make no law” respecting the establishment of religion.  But it is also not to infringe on the free exercise of religion, or infringe on the freedom of speech, and a court order forbidding a Christian to pray, under any circumstance, is most definitely infringing on the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech of a Christian, regardless of their employment status, or their geographic location.  The prayer was not directed at anyone, no one was “required” to listen to it or acknowledge it, and simply uttering a prayer is not, any way you look at it, “thrusting” religious beliefs upon the students.  Even more ludicrous is the idea that a judge, someone you might think is a person of reasonable intelligence, does not have the discernment to distinguish the level of criminal activity involved in “violating a court order.” 

Would the ACLU have even bothered to get involved if a Muslim had offered the prayer, or if an atheist had made some kind of statement or speech? 

 

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

2 responses

  1. JoAnn says:

    Ever since 911 we have to be politically correct and treat Muslims as if they need to be carried around like a prince/princess. Bush Jr took his effort to keep down tension(s) between US and Iraq way too far! Ok—so everyone feels like we have to cater to them. Sorry, but I don’t feel that way. They bombed my country and killed people! I don’t mean treat them with disrespect. However, they get no extra perks in my book simply because they are Muslim. So….if that had been a Muslim offering a prayer with a student during the school day, it would have been fine. But a Christian praying off campus with a kid on his own time is not good. I smell double standards here BIG TIME!

    When will we stand up? Hopefully soon before this nation is called,”…..one nation under Allah!”

  2. Jack Matthews says:

    I don’t know about the ACLU’s involvement. Pressure has forced them to become involved in a few cases where the rights of evangelical Christians have been violated. Like most other organizations of their kind, on the right or the left, their actions are often dictated by perception which has an effect on their money stream.

    However, as an attorney, I think the law was severely twisted and abused in this case, and it was the school administrator’s rights which were violated. Legally, they probably were in violation of a court order, though it was an order which was itself in violation of the constitution. It is a total and complete lack of understanding of Christian faith t0 expect that public school employees, or public employees of any kind for that matter, are required to lay down the practice of their faith, and surrender their civil rights at the doorway of their place of employment. In theory, other “religious constituencies” are treated the same way, but in practice, that is simply not the case, especially for people whose religious beliefs and practices incorporate atheist or agnostic principles.