Handing out Bibles at a high school: Why do we keep doing this in Georgia?

Too many public schools continue to blur the church-state divide in Georgia

Too many public schools continue to blur the church-state divide in Georgia

The zest with which Georgia schools test the church-state divide never fails to stun me.

I wonder if other states grapple with this issue or is this unique to the Bible Belt?

With the threat of litigation, public schools ought to think very carefully about allowing any religious group access to students and the possible charge of proselytizing on school grounds.

Yet, a north Georgia parent sent me a note that Bibles were handed out at her high school last week. She is a Christian and reveres the Bible, but doesn’t think the high school was the right place to hand it out.

Her concern mirrors my own: Our schools are attended by students of all faiths and traditions. All those faiths and belief deserve respect. We risk making many students feel like outsiders when we elevate one religion above all others.

Consider the 1656 warning by devout Baptist Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, on the consequences of mixing religion and government: “God requireth not an uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity, sooner or later, is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.”

More than a century later, Thomas Jefferson allayed the fears of the Baptist Association that the newly birthed United States of America was planning to designate a national religion. Responding to the worried Baptists, Jefferson wrote, “The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Many of you will argue that America was created as a Christian nation. But the 1797 treaty between the United States and Tripoli, written under President George Washington and signed by his successor, John Adams, says that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

But what about the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on our currency? Both grew out of the anti-Communist fervor of the McCarthy era.

In 1954, politicians tacked “under God” onto the pledge; three years later, they engraved “In God We Trust” onto paper money. Concerns were raised even then about blurring the line between church and state, but no lawmakers wanted to risk casting a vote against God.

James Madison believed that the only way to preserve both religion and government is to maintain a safe distance between them. “The tendency to a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatever, ” wrote Madison, “beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against the trespasses on its legal rights by others.”

Madison got it right. Too many of our schools are getting it wrong.

Why?

183 comments Add your comment

jopar

November 24th, 2009
6:33 am

Whatever it is, it isn’t motivated by any rationale or emotion that Jesus would condone.There’s an underlying meanness to it that is scary.For some of the extremists, it’s literally “agree with me or I’ll kill you.”
I’m certainly not the first to note the similarity in these folks and Islamic extremists.

Larry

November 27th, 2009
5:57 am

This is purely a constitutional issue and making anyone feel good or bad is immaterial.

It wouldn’t surprise me if most of the landmark cases actually originated in the North. The 1963 case over school sponsored prayer (everyone remembers Madalyn Murray O’Hair, but the case was actually Abington v. Schempp), school holiday naming standards and selling Creation as Intelligent Design were Pennsylvania cases.

The South seems to have more local issues, such as the one mentioned above, which require adherence more than standard setting, but one big difference is the media attention attracted by politicians to a given case. Around here, you don’t have to look hard to find politicians willing to declare themselves the sole guardians of Christianity, but this is much less common in the North because of the different voting base.

When half your constituents send their kids to Catholic school, you talk about funding their transportation costs and skip the part about how public schools they don’t attend are threatening the existence of their religion.

George

November 27th, 2009
6:57 am

You all may understand after the rapture occurs. Jesus will be returning to earth to gather His people.

netgnat

November 27th, 2009
7:06 am

Jopar, which Christian said “agree with me or I’ll kill you”? I’d like to see where you get this quote from. Thanks.

Randy Cooper

November 27th, 2009
7:11 am

Maybe if we handed out more Bibles, we’d hand out less condoms…. If you don’t like the way we do it here, Delta is ready when you are.

Jebus

November 27th, 2009
7:14 am

netgnat, how about this:
Exodus 22:20 “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”

Suzy

November 27th, 2009
7:14 am

I realize you are writing an opinion piece, but my guess is you have no idea what the real situation was at this school. I seriously doubt it was the school that was handing the Bibles out. It was most likely a group of students wanting to share their faith with whomever wanted to listen with no requirement that anyone listen or take the Bibles at all. If a group of another religious faith wanted to do something similar would you have even written this piece? It seems to me that people who argue “church and state” issues would increasingly rather that christianity be completely stamped out of our society and let government guide our every thought, move and choice. Part of our society’s issue right now is there isn’t enough “church” involved in the state. It’s all about power. I say kudos to those who are not afraid to let their schoolmates know they are proud to be Christians and are willing to share something positive rather than bow to those who would rather give every situation a negative spin to suit their own political leanings.

KIM

November 27th, 2009
7:24 am

Netgnat: well, the guy that killed Dr George Tiller basically said that. Randy Cooper: no, YOU LEAVE. I think Iran has the theocracy you are looking for. George: the rapture? What in the world are you talking about? Weirdo

downsouth

November 27th, 2009
7:25 am

mr. cooper, your analogy just doesn’t work. some of the most hot to trot chicks i knew in high school and college were southern baptists. they didn’t drink, but boy did they like to get in positions where condoms were needed ; ) one guy i knew prided himself on sleeping with all the hotties in the uga baptist student union. unite they did!

fieldofdreams

November 27th, 2009
7:29 am

Shine: make ‘em wonder what you got. Make ‘em wish they were not, on the outside looking bored. Shine: let it shine before all men, let ‘em see good works, and let ‘em glorify the Lord.

Earl V. Ford Jr.

November 27th, 2009
7:29 am

Is there a problem with having those who would like to accept the Bibles do so and, those don’t want one, simply say “no thank you?”

fieldofdreams

November 27th, 2009
7:41 am

And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:40

Joy in Teaching

November 27th, 2009
7:46 am

Getting back on subject here….were the students forced to accept the Bibles? If not, what is the problem, exactly? Students (and teachers) are offered things at schools all the time. That doesn’t mean that they have to accept those items. It’s called “personal choice.”

John

November 27th, 2009
7:59 am

Just a point of clarification about “In God We Trust” on US currency.

The phrase was added to our coins during the Civil War – first appearing on the two-cent coin in 1864. Further details can be found here: http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

David

November 27th, 2009
8:17 am

The article’s quote of Roger Williams was taken way out of context. For nearly 200 years in this country the Bible was respected and accepted. Please point out to me any case in which that led to Christianity ever being forced upon our society. It has NEVER happened in this nation. But in the last 50 years, with the Bible and Christianity being under attack in this nation have we seen the moral decline and proliferation of the problems of drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, etc… in our schools. Surely a “concerned parent” can find other issues to be “concerned about” rather than a Bible being offered, not forced upon students in the schools.

Dr. K

November 27th, 2009
8:28 am

Maureen Downey:
I want you to look up all of your teachers and contact them…so they can kick you for making them look like they did not do their jobs. Go back to Jefferson’s and Roger Williams quotes and understand their positions on the matter. Understand the spirit and context in which these statements were made…NOT the word for word quote that you copied and pasted off of wikipedia. I am embarrassed for you.

Who cares?

November 27th, 2009
8:28 am

You made your own argument for it Maureen. Freedom of religion and assembly doesn’t just apply to non Christians, but to Christians too. I doubt that the group forced kids to take the Bibles… simply handed them out to anyone who wanted one. How is that any different than handing out pamphlets on abstinence?

No wonder you have few people read your columns. I’m sure the ACLU will give you a job.

waterstim

November 27th, 2009
8:31 am

Giving out those Bibles has really gotten us close to civil war, hasn’t it? Look at the price this country has paid and is paying for turning its back on the Bible and accepting the Adam Lamberts of the world. It just keeps on getting worse; at some point, there will be a price to pay.
By the way, the 1797 Treaty was re-written, with those words left out, four years later, a fact that this blogger conveniently leaves out. Whether you accept it or not, most of our forefathers were practicing Christians. The Hollywood crowd and the Democratic party are Marxist, Godless perverts.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” How exactly do you get “separation of church and state” from this? OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. How does this restrict handing out Bibles in schools? You liberals have made a mockery out of the constitution.

Ackshun

November 27th, 2009
8:39 am

I have never understood why the Bible makes even “Christians” so nervous. Would the parent mentioned above have been so concerned if the school handed out copies of “The Secret” or “The Da Vinci Code” probably not. The Bible is a unique work of literature with a very positive message. Considering the garbage that spews from the press to school library bookshelves and is made readily accessible frre of charge to any student wishing to have a go, why would anybody be concerned about a kid getting their hands on the ultimate self-help book? Ghandi read it (he never converted to Christianity by the way), so has just about every President that ever kept watch in the oval office. If a kid can read the words of a madman “Mein Kampf” in school, why not make the Bible available to them. What “never fails to stun me” is that so called liberal and open minded people seem to promote tolerance for everything but God and the Bible. You can be gay, lesbian, sex or drug addicted, anything but a Christian. Amazing in a world of tolerance that only God is rendered intolerable. And if I were him, I would be really disappointed in my kids for that. What are you afraid of?

Kevin P

November 27th, 2009
8:46 am

Does anyone yet realize that by not allowing the free expression of religion, anywhere, is in fact elevating the “religion of state” above all others? Atheism is itself a religion. Humanism is a religion. Believing NOTHING becomes a defacto religion. I recently read a novel which paints a scary, yet quite likely scenario of where we are heading. It’s fictional, but could easily happen. Read Jerry Jenkins’ trilogy Soon, Silenced, and Shadowed.

Get It Right

November 27th, 2009
8:48 am

Wow, Maureen, you leave out just enough critical detail to really screw up the discussion. You memntion “separation of Church and State, cite some various quotes from certain founders, but don’t give the actual Constitutional phrase. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”. First Amendment – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc. You also say that Bibles were handed out at a north GA high school. Who bought the bibles, the school or a private group? Did the school personnel hand them out or did students? Were they given to all students in class or handed to those who accepted them as they walked by?

This is a very good example of why we cannot have a civilized discussion on religion, race, abortion, or any other sensitive subject in this country. A lot of people use what they hear from the press as the major factor when forming their opinions. When the press fails to provide adequate information, then it is no better that the propaganda machines in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia.

Note to jopar and KIM regarding the, “agree with me or I’ll kill you”, viewpoint. Yes, there are some terrorists hiding behind Christianity, but they are shunned by the Christian community as a whole. When caught, they are punished for their criminal transgressions against society. Islamic Facism is based on text in the Koran and is endorsed and supported by the Islamic states and religious hierarchy. Big difference.

We all should care.

November 27th, 2009
8:50 am

I sent my children to a private christian school for all of the reasons mentioned in your blog. It was the best money I ever spent, and in the overall scheme of things, the costs were about the same is what many people pay for their car or truck. A good private christian school will provide a loving, caring environment with high academic standards, but will not allow the nonsense or bad behavior found in public schools. For those that would like a private school education for their children but don’t think they can afford it, there are scholarships available. You only get once chance to raise your children.

JohnD

November 27th, 2009
8:55 am

All you need to know about this state can be summed up in the lyrics to Randy Newman’s “I’m a Redneck.” Google those lyrics and Randy will explain it to you in stark detail.

That’s all that need be said on this topic.

Soo

November 27th, 2009
9:03 am

Maybe we should have copies of the Quaran handed out and see how well that goes over. If you allow one religion’s holy book to be passed out, then any other religion should have the same opportunity.

scott

November 27th, 2009
9:11 am

I know we are on vacation but this is shoddy reporting at it’s best. First were the Bibles handed out BY THE HIGH SCHOOL? I grew up in Virginia and the Gideons use to pass out the small New Testament Bibles every year across from the school. As you were walking home they would OFFER you a Bible.
It amazes me how Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and any other religion is openly discussed and debated in publich schools all the time. However, Christianity is frowned upon as a topic to even be “touched”. Yes, I am a Christian, however if some of the basic day to day principles of Christianity were discussed (maybe compared and contrasted) as much as the other major faiths maybe we will see more positive stories other than the weekly “I can’t believe this is happening” stories we see out of Clayton County. Yes other districts have issues to, I am just using Clayton as an example due to the number of events involving teachers, students, and community members over the past few weeks.

Just because you do not agree with something does not mean it can not be a helpful guide. You may not agree with the Constitution but it still provides a legal framework for people to live by.

Ms Dorothy

November 27th, 2009
9:18 am

I think that is a blessing to hand out bibles you can acknowledge all other religions and you can teach about evolution but when The Truth is Being orchestrated then it’s a Problem it’s a choice, not all have to take that bible but it may be one person that may need that bible so We as a Christians Shouldn’t dispute this This is what got prayer taking out of School because Christians were Silence So I appauld the Schools that are doing this Praise God for that we need this all other things are taught in School but we are so Bold to take Christ out of it and You wonder why School shootings, Gangs, Teachers sleeping with Students, Children having sex in bathrooms and Drugs We need to check ourselves and see if we really want to mess with The all knowing Mighty Powerful God. Although God doesn’t come to destroy US Sin does but we embrace Sin when we PUsh GOd out; We invite Satan to come in and Have a Field day So May God of ALL True and Living God Have Mercy on Us as a Country and Nation…. Be Bless May we Repent and Get It right….

Pete

November 27th, 2009
9:20 am

If I was handed a Bible at my school, I’d rip the pages out of it and throw it away right in front of the givers.

Krebs

November 27th, 2009
9:21 am

Never thought I would say this but it is probably time to take a serious look at vouchers. Parents who think schools are corrupting their children would now be free to place their children in christian schools. They would have access to the bible for the full school day. Contract the public schools, hire the best teachers, solve the problems without all of the distractions of folks who are going to be constantly talking about how education has been going downhill ever since prayer was taken out of the schools. Give those folks schools where they can pray every minute of the school day. To keep forcing these individuals into public schools is a mistake. Let them go. Let the public schools move forward. They may find in several years down the road that the public schools have moved on and progressed while some of the these private schools are still stuck in the past and left behind.

Sluggo

November 27th, 2009
9:25 am

Jebus…Are you really making a case that Christians in the United States, as a matter of doctrine, would kill those who don’t believe in Jesus? No rational thinking a person in the universe could buy off on that case. The fact of your suggestion reveals both deep hatred and basic ignorance.

Donnie

November 27th, 2009
9:26 am

I will be visiting as many public school websites over the next few days posting this website:
http://www.freequran.com/html/front.htm

I think that the students might like to learn about the Quran, and this website is giving them away for free. Each of you should get a copy too.

Atl Resident

November 27th, 2009
9:26 am

More and more issues like these arise on news and everywhere to keep reminding us we are in the last days. When are we going to pay attention? And by the way whoever mention that the Quaran should be handed out, that basically is the Holy Bible just with a different name and rewording of the original stories in the Holy Bible.

Mateo

November 27th, 2009
9:27 am

Wow, Pete. You’re a tough guy. You show ‘em! Do you show the same respect for those “Sweet Valley High” books you’re still struggling to finish?

Bubba

November 27th, 2009
9:28 am

The problem, as I see it, are the circumstances under which the Bible is handed out to students. Students are required to attend school. If Bibles are distributed during school hours, a minor student could easily be “persuaded” to understand that his school is requiring him to accept the Bible as part of the curriculum. There are no parents or guardians of the student present when the Bibles are distributed to tell the student that he/she is not required to accept the gift. It is the distributor of the Bible who use these circumstances to unduly persuade the student that, because they’re handed out during school hours, he/she is required to accept it.

The student can read “Mein Kampf” in school, yes. But “Mein Kampf” isn’t distributed during school hours to each student during school hours. I encouraged my child to read “Mein Kampf,” but only so that I could do my job as a parent to discuss the book with my child, explain the context of the book with him and help him discern his own feelings.

Knowledge and ideas are dangerous only when they are either forced upon the student, or are offered as persuasion in an environment the context of which suggests that the have no choice but to accept the teachings of the “lesson” lest they be ostracized or ridiculed for “bucking the norm,” be those lessons from “Mein Kampf” or the Bible. It is my job as a parent to teach my child a system of values, attitudes and beliefs, in order that my child, when he becomes an adult, has the unfettered environment in which he may ultimately choose for himself. That, in my opinion, is what America is all about: the freedom to choose for himself.

What am I afraid of? That Christians are so worried that the message of their teachings are so weak that they use all circumstances available to them to force their beliefs, either through intimidation or coercion, into the empty vessel of a child’s mind. Respectfully, that’s not your job. That’s my job as a parent. If you want to make “Mein Kampf,” the Bible, or any other piece of literature available to anyone by placing it in a library for a student to check out, I’m all for that. But until math books are made available to any student attending church during services, I oppose. I object not so much to passing out the Bible during school hours, but rather the usurpation of my rights as a parent to control the environment in which my child gains knowledge. “Free will” also means the freedom to say “no.” Passing out Bibles during school hours creates an environment in which the freedom to say “no” is removed, either by enforcement of rule or by using “peer pressure” to remove the perception of freedom.

Kevin P

November 27th, 2009
9:34 am

Pete, I’d defend your right to do that. It’s their choice to offer it. It’s your choice to accept it. And it’s your choice to do with it what you want. I’m praying you’ll get curious as to what you’re throwing away, though. For 24 years I felt the same way as you and wouldn’t open a Bible. Now, it’s so much more than simply a book to me. I know it is God’s Word. Hope you’ll take a look someday soon too.

soulfinger

November 27th, 2009
9:40 am

I say “why not?” Even though I myself am not a Christian..nor do I consider myself of any one particular religion. But what harm could it possibly do? Maybe people will start treating each other better!

JTex

November 27th, 2009
9:41 am

“What “never fails to stun me” is that so called liberal and open minded people seem to promote tolerance for everything but God and the Bible. You can be gay, lesbian, sex or drug addicted, anything but a Christian. Amazing in a world of tolerance that only God is rendered intolerable.”

I see that this particular bit of illogic persists…For one, given the predominance of Christianity in this country it is ludicrous to suggest that Christians are persecuted or forced to hide. For another, this “liberals are intolerant of Christians” thing is utterly ridiculous. What “liberals” are intolerant of is proselytizing by ANY religious group in schools or other government-funded organizations. We are intolerant of ANY religious group attempting to use religious prejudice or taboo as the justification for laws that limit individual freedoms – Blue Laws, for example. We are not “intolerant” of Christians, in fact you’ll find that most of us ARE Christians. And seriously – the constant equating of gays and lesbians to drug addicts, child molesters or what-have-you by so-called loving Christians is offensive and ignorant.

Similarly the “atheism is religion” argument is pure sophistry. By definition, “religion” involves a systematized collection of beliefs shared by its members that refers to a higher power. The fundamentalist factions of Christianity have attempted to make this logically fallacious claim for years now, in order to make it seem as if the absence of religion is a religion in and of itself, but it is absolutely false.

“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:40″

Yes…Islamic fundamentalists claim that they have a mandate from God that requires them to convert others, too. You’re in such…good company. If you were a decent human being, you would respect the rights of others instead of attempting to force your own on them.

Fundamentalists of whatever religion are the lowest form of human being. The world would be so much better off without the rigidity of thought and the inherent hatred against those who are different that fundamentalists live for.

Bill

November 27th, 2009
9:46 am

If we aren’t a Christian nation, then why do we observe the federal holiday of Christmas? Thanksgiving is also a holiday for thanking God, as declared by President Lincoln. So much for a wall between church and state.

Crazy World

November 27th, 2009
9:54 am

Sooo:
I hate to say it but the Quaran IS already being handed out at schools along with groups that wants to destroy all Christians for their beliefs. Please look at the overall picture. If you think that Christians are the only one’s passing out Bible’s or other coorespondence, you need to look again.

I do feel sorry for the non-believers and pray for them. Hey, this IS apart of God’s plan. Read Revelations! It’s only going to get worse. Why do you think this country is going down quickly? Just keep taking God out of everything and see how low this country will go. Look at the great nations of past history. They became great on putting God 1st! They fell when they ignored God and brought in other FALSE religions & FALSE prophets.

Jesus is the truth, they only true living God that beat death. Mohamed????? never understood that one. They say that he defeated death………. Oh, by the way, they found his bones. False prophet. Of course they never found Jesus bones and never will. He conquered the grave!

Echo

November 27th, 2009
9:56 am

Ms. Dorothy, that was the longest sentence I have ever read. I’m not sure why you capitalized a bunch of those words either.

On topic, schools shoudn’t allow ANY religion access to students on the school property. They are a “captive audience” and shouldn’t have religion thrust upon them. They are free to read the bible, bring it to school, go to the church of their church and even PRAY in school. I love when people say we “took prayer out of school”…we didn’t! Students are allowed to pray on their own, we simply do not force them to like we used to (we now have a “moment of silence and self reflection” in Georgia schools, lol). I see many students close their eyes and murmur a little prayer every time I hand out a test. I believe if they had actually studied and prepared it would be more beneficial but whatever.

Devildog

November 27th, 2009
9:57 am

Jebus: Exodus was written long before Christ. It’s in the Old Testament. Duh! If you’re going to be clever, at least know what you’re writing about.

Rightwing Troll

November 27th, 2009
9:57 am

Why do you always take more than one southern baptist fishing with you?

Answer: Because if you only take one, he’ll drink all your beer!

JohnD

November 27th, 2009
9:57 am

Everything you need to know about the State of Georgia can be summed up in the lyrics to Randy Newman’s “I’m a Redneck.”

Google that and you will understand.

By the way, I’m a native Georgian and call ‘em like I see ‘em.

Devildog

November 27th, 2009
10:02 am

Too bad we can’t get Jefferson and Roger Williams on Oprah or The View so that they could straighten out Maureen’s out of context quotes.

Social Studies Teacher

November 27th, 2009
10:02 am

Want to see something interesting…

Go to Georgia Standards .org

Look up World History Standards 9-12

Look at how many standards cover Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism…

Then go look at how many cover Christianity.

Christianity is only mentioned with the Fall of Rome and the comparison between Judaism and Islam. There is not even 1 full standard devoted to Christianity when Islam gets at least 5 and Buddhism/Hinduism get at least two.

Great parity there…

mom to four

November 27th, 2009
10:06 am

Why do you all continue to follow Maureen? She is just trying desperately to goad people into responding to her blog. She can’t or won’t follow real news about education issues, so she posts sensationalized stories that she knows will get a response. If parents or students offered the Bibles, then what is the problem? The Bibles were not forced on anyone.

The Wall Street Journal (a real newspaper) has had two news articles within the past few days about President Obama’s education initiative Race to the Top. Has Maureen even mentioned this?

Notallagree

November 27th, 2009
10:10 am

People hear this type of info and just accept it as history. It is just as easy to argue the other side. Here are a couple of resources to start with:
http://www.christianheritagemins.org/articles/The%20Myth%20of%20Article%2011.pdf
or read a book:
America’s Providential History (Including Biblical Principles of Education, Government, Politics, Economics, and Family Life) (Paperback)
~ Mark A. Beliles (Author), Stephen K. McDowell (Author)

Ole Guy

November 27th, 2009
10:17 am

People like this Cooper fella just piss me off no end! If one dares disagree with a belief, one way or another, well, “Delta’s ready…”. Who in the hell do you think you are, Cooper…some sort of smaller-than-life demi-god? You can take your “Delta’s ready…” nonesense and, together with your pea brain, GO TO HELL!

As for the insistence of the education elite in allowing an excess of tax-supported public ed energies to be directed toward non-academic end…perhaps this is why we have such a woeful state of education. Weather or not one chooses to pursue ecclesiastical studies should be a personal choice, not one mandated, and most-certainly not publically-funded, by “big brother”.

And by the way, Cooper…what’s wrong with condoms? You’re not only a moron, but a stupid moron.

Devildog

November 27th, 2009
10:20 am

Thanks for mentioning and agreeing with James Madison. He also wrote the Second Amendment, which allows us rednecks to carry firearms and hamper thugs from doing their business.

JANE

November 27th, 2009
10:24 am

Ms. Downey’s essay didn’t include the proximity to school, the quantity of bibles distributed, or whether the distribution was solicited. I revere the Bible as Yahweh’s inerrant Word, as I am a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Christian. As such, I actually read and study it. Jesus says at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” I believe the primary concept in this commission is the “witness”. Christians witness with their lives (i.e. words, actions-Elohim knows and judges our thoughts); in fact, the Greek word for “witness” is martyr. Since Christians are simultaneously saints and sinners, the seduction of extremes is a real danger, requiring constant vigilance, repentance and restitution.

Luke 3:7-16, Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 give some insight into what kind of Christian witness we should give. Christians should be the best scientists, thinkers, workers and citizens. Oftentimes we’re not, and although God forgives we must still acknowledge and correct ourselves with our neighbors.

Friday

November 27th, 2009
10:27 am

A few thoughts…
The wall of separation was intended to protect the church from the state. The historical context shouldn’t be ignored. Our country was founded by people who were forced into one form of Christianity or another by their European nations/kings. The American formula was to inhibit the state from imposing itself upon the Christian church. At that point, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, ect… were all prevalent and accepted in America. The intent of separating church and state was merely to allow these groups to co-exist rather than repeating the bloody history after the Reformation in Europe.
Today, we have a completely different society. Rather than protecting different forms of Christianity, our government tries to protect every religion equally. As noted above by others, this is really an impossibility. Atheism is the new state religion of the US. Good thing our hope is in Christ alone!