Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
The tragedy in Connecticut has once again thrown Americans into a tailspin. None of us can wrap our heads around the horror of it. We can’t find a reason for what happened. In our bewilderment, there are no words to say.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that some well-meaning Christian folks don’t try to come up with something since apparently any God-awful answer trumps silence on any and all current events. Here is some of the Facebook wisdom that some have offered up as a reason for what happened: “How does Barack Hussein Obama have the nerve to get up and quote scripture and offer prayers for the children of Sandy Hook? Maybe if scripture and prayer were still allowed in schools, this would have been avoided?” Christians have reposted en mass the cartoon showing someone asking, “Why didn’t God stop the shooting?” to which another responds, “How could He? He’s not allowed in school anymore.”
Although my Facebook has become a public page since I had my book published (so I try to be somewhat benign with my posts) I am also a public school teacher. I had to weigh in. I wrote on my wall: “I love you all. I really do. But the next person who shows up on my thread with a post about God not being in public schools will be deleted and blocked. Think before you click.”
Believe me when I tell you, prayer has never been banned from the public schools in this country. Ever. As my good friend (and co-contributor for Provoketive e-Magazine) Cody Stauffer said yesterday on my thread, “Unfortunately, many have a problem distinguishing the difference between ‘endorsed’ and ‘allowed.’ It goes hand in hand with the idea that, if we’re not in the a place of privilege, than we must be getting persecuted, or if others aren’t losing, than I’m not winning.”
He’s brilliant, and he’s my friend.
The law regarding prayer in school simply provides that I can’t make my students pray to the Guy (or Gal) I pray to. This is a good law since I could send my own son to school without having to worry if someone who did not share my own religious convictions would force him to pray to some guy (or gal) I have not signed off on.
Everybody with me?
However, we’ve brought up a few generations now (since Madeline Murray O’Hare whom Christians have vilified mercilessly) who don’t pray in schools because they believe that they are not allowed to—NOT because the law have told them that they can’t and NOT because public schools have told them that they can’t—but because CHRISTIANS have told them that they can’t. And because they’re so loud, children among others assume that they’re correct.
Ponder the irony of that for one brief moment.
You know that “thirty seconds of silence” that public schools provide for students after we say the Pledge of Allegiance? (Yes, we still say the Pledge of Allegiance contrary to what you’ve heard.) Yeah, we provide that time so that kids can PRAY. Some schools still do it daily. Most schools provide it in times like these, when we’ve suffered a national tragedy or when we should be mindful of past grief such as the anniversary of 9-11.
To insinuate that this tragedy occurred because the “liberals” have taken prayer out of schools is straight up stupid and hurtful and wrong. I’m not trying to be mean here if you’re one of the ones who threw that crap up on your Facebook page, but damn. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut UP. You are making it harder for the rest of us who aren’t looking to fix this world with the next zinger of a sound bite. We’re looking simply to wrap our arms and hearts around those who are broken—and right now that’s a whole lotta people. One of our problems is, they think we’re you.
Silence is golden.