Separation of Christianity and State

Over the last 30-40 years, there has been a decided change in the government’s attitude toward Christianity. This first became a public issue when, in 1963, after a 300 year tradition, the Supreme Court decided that corporate reading of the Bible and prayer at the opening of school could no longer be done. As time went on, someone discovered a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Asbury Baptist Church wherein the phrase “separation of Church and State” occurs. Suddenly that phrase, which was not any part of constitutional law, was inserted into law by caveat. Since then, government institutions as well as public schools have been trying to figure out exactly what that means. In a purported effort to “avoid violating the Constitution” (as previously pointed out, neither this phrase nor the idea behind it exists in the Constitution) public school officials have attempted to keep Christianity outside the property line of the school. This issue surfaced again last week when FOX News as well as other news sources, carried the story Lawsuit Claims School Prevented Boy From Wearing Jesus Costume .

The essence of the story is:

The boy and his mother are Christians who object to the pagan elements of Halloween, but the mother did not want the boy isolated for refusing to wear a costume, according to the lawsuit.

The mother and son chose to have him participate in the costume event, dressed as Jesus:

The principal, Patricia Whitmire, told the boy’s mother that the costume violated a policy prohibiting the promotion of religion, according to the lawsuit.

There is a major inconsistency in Principal Patricia Whitmire’s handling of this situation. The problem is that although she wouldn’t allow Christianity to be represented in the choice of costumes, she allowed a number of other religions to be represented. At least some of the students dressed as witches. Wicca is an officially recognized religion and is one of the faster growing religions in the United States. Other students dressed as Satan. This too is a federally recognized religion which enjoys the religious tax exempt status for groups who apply for it such as “Balanone’s Temple of Set” .

Why did Ms. Whitmire allow other religious views to be represented but singled out Christianity to be banned from the festivities? Perhaps she is merely ignorant of the fact that Wicca and Satanism are recognized religions, and so did not realize that a number of other allowed costumes are associated with expressions of religion. Perhaps it could be argued that the students dressed as Witches and Devils were not advocating belief in Wicca and Satanism, but rather mocking or belittling those beliefs – but how would that be any better in a religiously “neutral” environment?

The problem grows even thornier as time goes by. Perhaps, some might argue, we should abandon any event which could potentially expose a child to any religious belief. That, I am afraid, would be impossible. Why? Even if the school system eliminated all celebrations which would perhaps have a connection to a religion, they still teach Darwinian Evolution. Besides having to accept the initial premise of evolution by faith, evolution is a central tenant of Secular Humanism, which has been a recognized religion since 1961. Humanist Manifesto II states:

1. Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

2. Humanism believes that man is part of the universe and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process” (i.e. evolution).

Every time a child goes to a science class that teaches anything on evolution, the State is mandating the religious view of Secular Humanists!

In order to eliminate the possibility of teaching any religious views, the State would have to take the position that schools and other public institutions cannot know anything about god. However, if they resort to that measure, they would be affirming the teachings of Hinduism which, as a basic tenant, asserts that we cannot know anything about god:

Him [Brahman] the eye does not see, nor the tongue express, nor the mind grasp. Him we neither know nor are able to teach. Different is he from the known, and…from the unknown.

He truly knows Brahman who knows him as beyond knowledge; he who thinks he knows, knows not. The ignorant think that Brahman is known, but the wise know him to be beyond knowledge.”

What will the courts do as they try this case? I have no idea. It is a pickle which the courts have gotten themselves into. In their zeal to be “religiously neutral,” and at the same time be “multicultural” and embrace “diversity,” they have discouraged freedom of speech and the exchange of ideas, while at the same time creating a State mandated religious belief (Secular Humanism) which cannot be questioned. In spite if the militant claim of keeping religion outside the school they are allowing other religious beliefs into the classroom with the exception of Christianity. Is that because Christianity would expose the others as false?


Separation of Christianity and State — 3 Comments

  1. The biggest problem in all this is that the mother and the boy neither one were willing to stand out and be different.

    From the Fox News article:
    “The boy and his mother are Christians who object to the pagan elements of Halloween, but the mother did not want the boy isolated for refusing to wear a costume, according to the lawsuit.”

    The best way to have voiced their objections, albeit without national news attention, would have been to simply choose to not be involved with “…the pagan elements of Halloween…”

    Jesus Himself told us we would be hated because He was hated. Hatred is far worse than simple isolation.

    Matthew chapter 5

    “13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
    14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

    I do not argue your points about what is happening to Christianity in this country, however I believe it is better, by far, to quietly live our lives acting on what we know to be true, and not worried about what the world thinks about us.

  2. I call this kind of stuff the politics of offense. In order to keep peace, the school bans all overt religious promotion caring not a whit for two things:

    1) our dear sweet children are going to be confronted with ideas they don’t like as soon as they step in the public square. All this shielding does is make for people who haven’t learned to handle themselves when they are offended. It makes for bad character in the public square.

    2) This is only speculation but I suspect that if they had just left the kid alone the “confrontation” would have been something like this:

    Hey, bobby, what’s up!

    I’m cool. you? Hey Kevin, what are you dressed as?

    I’m a ghoul, you?

    I’m dressed as Jesus.

    [slight pause while Kevin thinks . . . remembers his manners and says . . . ]

    okay. Cool. You want half my sandwich at lunch?

    Only if its baloney, not that chicken salad.

    Hey I heard Tim likes . . .

    And that would have been the end of it. Again just speculation. My theory is that the school was more worried about the parents than the students.

  3. j. miles:
    My theory is that the school was more worried about the parents than the students.>>>

    Hmmm. I’m not sure what you’re driving at, j. I do think that schools should be concerned about the children’s parents. I think that the school made a mistake, one that it will have to correct. Too bad. The school administrators were obviously in the wrong, no matter who they were afraid of.

    Thank you for the good, timely comments, Don.

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