"_________ is happening because they took prayer [or God] out of schools."
For example, evangelical politician Mike Huckabee linked the Sandy Hook shooting to the removal of God from the schools.
I call "Baloney!" on a number of levels.
First, who is this they that did this horrendous and authoritative thing? In the democratic republic that we live in, should that not be a we?
Second, how would you (or, they) remove a spiritual thing like prayer (or a Supreme Being) out of a physical location? That would be an interesting metaphysical debate.
Third, was prayer (as God intended) ever really in schools in the first place? Is forcing children to recite The Lord's Prayer or God is great, God is good truly honoring to God?
Fourth, if a culture of prayer was really there, could it have been gone long before any court case?
Fifth, I'd love for someone to explain how social ills are directly caused by the failure to have children pray in schools.
Sixth, anyone who has studied the history of Christianity should recognize that Christianity has always been "strongest as a counter-cultural movement, rather than as a form of civil religion" (as Micah Fries writes in The Shadow of Secularization and the New Dawn of the Church). Maybe evangelicals should be working to get prayer out of the schools!
How We Got HereUp until the 1970s (at the latest), our country had a high level of support for prayer in the schools, compared to the next few decades. However, as the Baby Boomers (typically skeptical of organized religion) grew in status and influence, this support decreased.
This leads to my perspective . . .
The lack of prayer in schools isn't the problem. It's a symptom. The problem is the lack of spiritual growth in us as individuals, and in churches as a whole.
I don't think we have problems in schools because "prayer was taken out of schools," as many wish to claim. I don't think we have problems in our culture because we are no longer a Christian America.
I think we have problems in schools because parents and other adults failed to have a living and dynamic faith in Jesus Christ.
A Southern Baptist Perspective?A few months ago, a college classmate (who is now Senior Pastor at East Pickens Baptist Church) made a great statement on Facebook:
"Okay, so they can't pray at school board meetings anymore . . . or formally at school . . . but they can't stop you from praying at home with your family and spiritually leading them.
We live under a higher authority. You cannot rely on institutions to spiritually raise your children: not schools, not the church, not the media. . . .
Go home and lead your children. Pray with them. Read Scripture with them. Show them they don't need the government to tell them how to live.
The answer to the spiritual problems of this community are not found in the public square. The answer is found in the private living rooms of this community."
So, the solution for self-proclaiming evangelicals is not to whine, or to push for legislation about whether you can pray at school events. The solution is for evangelicals to do what their name implies -- to build relationships with the goal of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in a personal and meaningful way.
Evangelism and discipleship starts (but doesn't end) at home. Teach your kids, and live out what you believe about Jesus by how you love others. That is how you Pass on Your Faith.
What do you think? Am I a complete liberal by not fighting for more "prayer in schools"?
- The Cost of Non-Discipleship
- Good-Bye, Christian America
- My Thoughts on the Upcoming Elections (June 2014)
- Better Than Prayer in Schools (Mission: Allendale)
**image courtesy of lusi via rgbstock.com