For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Slow Death of Religious Freedom

No, I'm not talking about global atrocities like those being committed at the hands of folks like ISIS in Iraq.  I'm not talking about any number of European legislatures that continue to shut the mouths of Christians in a variety of ways.  I'm not even talking about the anti-Christian administration that currently runs our nation (or is running it to the ground, some might say). 

I'm talking about right here in the heartland.  Dead in the middle of Missouri.  In the little town of Fayette.  My college roommate hails from this fine metropolis, so I naturally took notice when news came out last December about a lawsuit over religious issues in the schools there.  

It seems that two students, one of which no longer even attends Fayette schools, were cited in a lawsuit against the school district because their constitutional rights were infringed.  How?  Because the school intercom announced the activity of a Christian students club.  No, the students weren't forced to attend.  No, they didn't have to be anywhere near it when it took place.  But they had to hear the announcement.  And that infringed their Constitutional Rights.  Or so they said. 

Furthermore, a teacher, yes an actual teacher, sat in on those meetings with the students.  Imagine, a teacher sitting in on a student meeting.  But that's not all.  The teacher actually, get this, actually prayed with those students.  In a completely voluntary meeting, before classes ever began.  Oh, and worse yet, the teacher actually brought food to those students on occasion. The inhumanity!  And again, these two students felt their Constitutional rights being violated.  Hence, the lawsuit. 

Now, any rational person would see this as a frivolous law suit.  Any rational person would see that two nit-picky teenagers have absolutely no leg to stand on.  Close your ears.  Don't listen to the intercom announcement.  Stay away from that classroom.  Let others express their Constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion.  But apparently the U. S. District Court lacks any rational people, since they let this case proceed.  And it turns out the school district seems to lack rational people as well.  

According to reports: "The Fayette R-III School District has agreed in federal court to change policies regarding the religious expression of teachers and school district staff."  What changes?  "...the school district has agreed not to 'promote prayer or religious activity' and will modify its Student Teacher Handbook to prohibit teachers from participating in prayer or religious activities at student meetings. The court settlement also prohibits school district employees from placing religious books, materials, or items in a place where students would be likely to see them."

And so, to placate two whiny students, the majority in the school will have to give up their own rights to free speech and religious freedom.  Teachers can't express their faith in any way, shape, or form.  I'm assuming, based on past cases, that the phrase "religious books, materials, or items" will include not only Bibles and such that a teacher might read during breaks or off hours, but also any jewelry that is "religious."  Obviously cross necklaces will be out, earrings as well.  I couldn't even wear my wedding ring if I were there, since my ring has a cross on each side. Shoot, these days a wedding ring itself is probably considered a "religious item" considering the way we see marriage. 

This isn't the East Coast or West Coast, folks.  This isn't happening in the liberal centers of the nation.  This is happening right here in the heartland, in tiny little rural schools on the edge of the Bible belt.  And we sit by and watch as our religious freedom continues to die a slow, agonizing death.  And we wonder what's wrong with this country?  

1 comment:

Gregg Metcalf said...

I shudder to think what's next?