I never intended to write a part 2 to the God in Schools post, however a comment on the original post required a lengthy response. As I was writing it, I realized that more people might benefit from these words than the one person to whom I was writing. So here it is, edited slightly.
Our founders imposed some very specific restrictions on government. Specifically on the topic of religion. They expressly forbade Congress from taking any sides in the form of laws. Since the same founders created laws to publish and distribute Bibles as textbooks throughout the nation, it does seem that they differentiated the Bible text from the establishment of a specific religion in the nation. This protection of religion (not prevention) trickles down to every form of government in the nation.
We do not live in a Democracy. Today’s popular opinion on whether or not the Bible belongs in schools is truly irrelevant. Almost all religions require, as a foundation principle, the call to spread the faith. Creating an environment in schools where that cannot occur clearly stifles the free exercise of religion. Demanding that prayer be silent and prohibiting faculty from practicing their faith is also a violation of the same principle. Restricting religious materials on campus from community groups is also a restriction of their free exercise. The Constitution, as the law of the land, trumps the schoolboard’s desire to prohibit the free and legal exercise of religion.
Visit Plymouth Massachusetts. Walking distance from Plymouth Rock, there is the National Monument to the Forefathers. This almost unknown monument is the largest, free standing, granite monument in the world. It is a tribute to early settlers. It describes, in detail, the principles of America at its founding. The four sided statue pays homage to Freedom, Law, Education Morality and more. Each of these four concepts is depicted by a large seated figure around the base. Those were all equal partners in the formula of America. Overshadowing them all is a 36′ tall, standing figure, of Faith. Her right hand lifts to heaven and her left clutches a Bible. She is at least 3-4 times larger than any figure on the base. She can be seen from any angle and any side. The back of the monument specifically names William Bradford and members of the first Pilgrim colony from the Mayflower. (Historical note: Jamestown Virginia was actually the first successful English colony) On the front of this magnificent sculpture there is the following engraving “Erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors, sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty”
America’s founding, more than anything else, was a religious endeavor. In the American Revolution Pastors led their churches to fight. Historian David Barton claims ” the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence were nothing more than a listing of sermon topics that had been preached from the pulpit in the two decades leading up to the American Revolution.”
Throughout our history faith, specifically Biblical faith, has been a driving force. Remove the Bible, does history change? Do the colonists win? Do they even fight? Take faith out of the equation. Does George Washington quit? Would the famous early American spy, Nathan Hale, give up his countrymen to save himself if he did not come from a strict Puritan family? Almost 100% of the people and organizations who opposed slavery prior to the Civil war were Christians. Do the people and organizations which drove the abolitionist movement see the moral dilemma of slavery without the moral compass of the Bible?
Alexis Tocqueville is quoted that he concluded America’s greatness was not found in her laws or industries. It was in her churches. Coming full circle to the Democracy comment, the French revolution created a mob rule democracy which failed. Here is Tocqueville on why America flourished and France failed: “I went at your bidding, and passed along their thoroughfares of trade. I ascended their mountains and went down their valleys. I visited their manufactories, their commercial markets, and emporiums of trade. I entered their judicial courts and legislative halls. But I sought everywhere in vain for the secret of their success, until I entered the church. It was there, as I listened to the soul-equalizing and soul-elevating principles of the Gospel of Christ, as they fell from Sabbath to Sabbath upon the masses of the people, that I learned why America was great and free, and why France was a slave.”
Today we teach history as if the God of the Bible was never an influencing factor. It is shameful and dishonest. Still, at the same time even if we did discuss Biblical influence, schools are not permitted to teach from the primary source document (the Bible) to satisfy all doubt. No, to ensure the Bible does not influence future generations, we can’t even allow them on an unmanned table within the school grounds. We hide God away in a box as if religion were a cute hobby but not appropriate to discuss in the open.
Benjamin Franklin, a brilliant man of legendary indiscretion, wrote to Thomas Paine after he reviewed Age of Reason, Paine’s excoriation of organized religion. After comically telling Paine to burn the work before anyone read it he said “If men are so wicked with religion,what would they be if without it?”(Constitution.org)
Today the school system is voluntarily and purposefully building a society without religion. As a Tea Party, small government, conservative organization, we recognize the problem. Immorality increases violations of natural law. Government then compensates by increasing size and power to keep society temperate and functional. A small government cannot exist in an immoral society. Without God we are being sped on our way to tyranny.
Finally, the words of John Adams on the topic: “we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Restricting the free exercise of religion in schools is testing the truth of these wise men