PRAYERS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THE ACLU

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

This one statement, composed by our founding fathers and introduced as the First Amendment to our country's Constitution, has engendered more controversy than any other phase of our nation's charter. It has, in fact, caused a wide diversity of interpretations by those who legislate our laws, the College Professor, housewife, banker, construction worker, the skilled and the unskilled most, if not all, of these people understand this statement differently, or do not understand it at all.

So just what did our forefathers have in mind when they formulated this document? Was it their intention to dismantle the Christian movement? Did they hope to remove God from all federal, state, and civic premises? Were they anti-deity? Did they initiate a political doctrine which would deny school children, during school hours, the right to address the God of heaven voluntarily?

Before we can comprehend the message our forefathers hoped to establish and expected to convey, it is essential that we understand religious and political conditions in those countries form where our forefathers fled.

It is a matter of history that a great number of our forefathers left their homelands and fled to what is now America because of religious restraints and persecution. They were not free to serve and worship the God of heaven according to the dictates of conscience and knowledge. Consequently, they sought freedom from rigidly established State religions of their homelands. On numerous occasions, persecution was the result of failure to adhere to State laws respecting religion. To express the issue in simpler terms, the governments of these countries controlled and legislated religion but only because those governments were dominated and controlled by established sects. In some cases, organized religion was the slave of the State. But in other cases the State was the slave of the organized religion. This, and only this, is what many of our forefathers fled. And because of this political/ religious arrangement, our forefathers felt constrained to add the religious clause to the Constitution.

Allow me to quote the First Amendment again: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In other words, our Constitution forbids Government from legislating and establishing religious laws, and it further forbids a particular religion from legislating and establishing religious laws and enforcing them upon Government and its people. The Government may not become religion's master. The Government may not impose peculiar religious beliefs upon its citizens. The Government may not sponsor a particular religion, whether it be in the classroom at school or in any of the other Government agencies. In America, religion may not master or aggressively influence Government.

This is precisely what the Supreme Court meant in 1962 when they authored a decision on prayers in public schools. Schools do not have the prerogative to establish religious procedures, organize religious prayer groups, or otherwise sponsor, support, or formally condone a religious creed.

Now, where does all of this bring us? Simply that any religious act or practice which is strictly voluntary, whether inside public school classrooms or inside the chambers and hallways of Congress, does to in any way violate our Constitution. It is when religion is enforced upon others by any Government agency that the Constitution is profaned. Or when any religion imposes its beliefs upon any Government agency, the Constitution is violated.

None of the elements are involved in the prayers in public schools issue. Atheists and The American Civil Liberties Union would like to convince us, and indeed have convinced a large segment of our country's population, that our Constitution is infringed upon when public school children are given permission to pray voluntarily or read their Bibles. But we must understand the motive and rationale behind The American Civil Liberties Union's crusade. It would seem that prayers in public schools are only the surface of their overall goal.

If you have been following the lewd performances of The American Civil Liberties Union through the years, you surely have observed that they are opposed to anything that has either religion or God associated with it. Apparently, we are not dealing with some organization that is simply crusading against innovations that would violate our Constitution. There are strong indications we are dealing with an anti-God party or cult that is devoted to totally removing deity from our culture and from our society. They must be opposed, and opposed we shall, by those of us who know that God exists and that he still plays the major role in the affairs of men, nations, and kingdoms.

MORE ON THE ACLU

In Iowa a few years ago, the Civil Liberties Union went to court to stop the Gideons from distributing their Bible among the student body of a local community school district. According to media accounts, school officials assisted in providing the Bibles. The Gideons lost the battle and agreed not to distribute Bible to public school officials for distribution.

Perhaps these school officials misbehaved by getting involved, but this incident, and hundreds like it, demonstrate how hard The American Civil Liberties Union and its subsidiaries are working to overthrow deity in our society. It is a sad commentary upon the American Way. Their atheistic actions slap at the faces and intentions of our forefathers.

The Iowa Civil Liberties Union, as well as The American Civil Liberties Union, will not lift a finger to stop the distribution of printed mater in public schools pertaining to biological and genetical evolution in spite of the fact that the printed material is anti-deity. I charge that genetical evolution, as taught in public school textbooks, is anti-deity printed matter in that it attributes all matter, whether organic or inorganic, to sources other than deity. Biological evolution does not accredit any form of life to a supernatural power. In other words, anti-deity textbooks and practices are promoted in public schools, but pro-deity printed matter and practices may not be promoted in our public schools. Is this freedom of speech and press?

But atheists and The American Civil Liberties Union even object to teaching the Creation Model alongside the Evolution Model, even though deity is never referred to in the Creation Model approach. The Creation Model is as scientific as the Evolution Model. It can be shown that there is ample scientific evidence of supernatural creation without even referring to religion or the Biblical record. Additionally, the Creation Model is no more "religious" than the Evolution Model. (Write Institute For Creation Research, PO Box 2667, E1 Cajon, CA 92021, for information on the Creation and Evolution Models.)

Allow me to repeat myself: There are strong indications that The American Civil Liberties Union, and other anti-deity organizations and individuals, are bent on deleting God and spirituality from our society.

ACLU'S INCONSISTENCIES

Most of you are aware that each session of Congress is opened with a prayer. This tradition is supported by our nation's leaders. Is it in violation of the First Amendment? If not, why would a prayer before each session of school violate our Constitution? No one would be compelled to pray, or to even remain in the same room while the prayer is being spoken, just as it is with each session of Congress. We are constrained to ask: What makes one right and the other wrong? How can one practice be sanctioned when the other is condemned?

I chuckle at those people and organizations who crusade for what they call "separation of church and state" while accepting and playing bosom-buddies to every penny and every dollar which bears the inscription, "In God We Trust." When they sing our national anthem, do they play shut-mouth when they approach the words which refer to God? Do they say, "So help me God" in a court of law when asked if they will tell the truth? Or do their vocal cords cease to function? And the Pledge of Allegiance? Do they run for an attorney when they arrive at the place where they are supposed to say, "One nation under God?" You see, none of these procedures merge church and state. Church and state remain separated in spite of them. Then why is there so much controversy over the little simple prayer, and voluntary at that, in public schools?

I do not hold prophetic powers but I predict the time will come when anti-deity enthusiasts will go all-out to purge God from coins and currency, the Pledge of Allegiance, and from our national anthem. Anti-deity judges will no doubt rule in their favor unless believers get off their "cans" and fight as intently as our opponents are fighting. We dare not permit this great country to become a tool of atheists and skeptics and irreligious intellectuals. Brute force, however, is not the answer, for brute force generates brute force. I would remind you that a certain man changed the world without throwing a rock, burning a building, or drawing a sword. He changed the world by the simple act of persuasive and dynamic teaching. His name was Jesus Christ! This method is the only method endorsed by the God of heaven. We are not involved in a carnal warfare, the great apostle Paul affirmed. We are participants in a spiritual warfare, and the force which commands our enemies is Satan himself. He must be resisted or we will lose the battle.

RECAPPING

1) Our founding fathers fled to this country, not because of prayers in public schools, not because God was mentioned in their pledge of allegiance, and not because members of parliament listened to someone pray before each session. Our founding fathers fled to this great country because church and state were incorporated, not separated, and freedom of religion was stifled and, in many cases, prohibited. The strong dictatorial arm of a particular religion reached out to enslave those who dared question its authority. This was done by the state's approval and support. This is what our founding fathers fled. They no doubt would have welcomed the freedom to pray anywhere and to read their Bibles at any time, whether in school or in the halls of parliament.

2) The 1962 ruling by the Supreme Court did not outlaw voluntary prayers in public schools. The ruling outlawed official or state-sponsored prayers. The school is an arm of the state. And the state cannot establish a particular religion through any of its agencies.

3) This country's very foundation is being disrupted and shaken by atheists, skeptics, pagan intellectuals, and The American Civil Liberties Union. These people appear to be set on a course to eliminate deity from our culture and from our society. They must be opposed on every level. To stick our heads in the sand and do nothing is to surrender and admit defeat. This we must not do. This we will not do. We want to be able to say with the great apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith."

4) A fact so obvious it is hardly worth mentioning is that the ACLU supports any form of legislation which tears at our nation's moral and spiritual fiber, but obstructs any legislation which would make our nation morally and spiritually stronger. This in itself should be sufficient evidence to convince any independent thinker that the ACLU and her sister organizations are intent on surrendering our nation to a primitive and Godless era similar to the deceased Roman Empire.

Fellow believers arise! Let your voices be heard. For if yours are not heard, anti-spiritual voices will fill the gap. Then who will you blame when the forces of evil have overthrown us?

CONCLUDING THOUGHT: Lawmakers, lobbyists, humanist, atheists, and "civil libertarians" often ignore the latter half of the First Amendment, which reads, "... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. "You see, the First Amendment to our Constitution is breached when school children are denied the right to pray or discuss creation science voluntarily on school premises. They are prohibited from freely exercising their constitutional rights, and no tossing of the coin will change this fact. So just who is the infringer, God's children or the camp of atheists and evolutionists?

The answer is self-evident.

- Reformer Publication, Buff Scott, Jr., Editor.