As a devout Christian, avid Bible reader and regular church attendee who also teaches high school in the Hall County schools, I would like to counter some of the misconceptions of public schools and misappropriations of the Holy Scriptures Jerry Callahan revealed in his Feb. 20 letter “Evil escalated when we turned God out of our public schools.”
First, the Old Testament nation of Israel was a covenantal people set apart specifically by the Lord for His purposes. The United States was imagined to be such a place, even by multiple founding fathers, but has no such history of covenant with the Lord. Those who would argue otherwise should be required to name our Noah, Abraham, Moses or David.
In the New Covenant, set forth by Christ at the Last Supper, solidified on the Cross of Calvary, verified by the Resurrection and sealed in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit, there is no longer a nation of God’s people. Instead, as Paul teaches the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus.”
Second, students in your public schools have every right to practice whatever religion or demonstrate any relationship with Christ that they want. They can carry and read their Bibles, they can pray with and seek to convert their friends, and they can write about and incorporate their faith in their daily school lives. Teachers and other adults in schools are the ones who are limited in their proselytizing, but the Bible and devotional on my desk, as well as many of the desks of my colleagues, testify to the presence of God in classrooms. Additionally, teachers can answer any question a student may ask about faith and engage in any conversation about faith begun by a student.
Third, the notion that all-powerful ruler and creator of the universe in which we live is not “allowed” somewhere shows an absolute lack of faith on the part of subscribers to that thinking. A professed faith in the God through whom all things were made excludes any possibility of what he is “allowed” or “permitted” to do. For, our God is in the Heavens: he does all that he pleases.
If we find God’s light too dim in the so-called darkness of the public schools, perhaps we should re-examine the nature of a covenant relationship with God and be active participants in the advancing of God’s kingdom by emboldening our students to assert their rights in a loving way.