14th Aug, 2009

Prayer Criminals

I was just reading this article about a principal and an athletic director in northern Florida being charged criminally for praying publicly over a meal. The context is that this public school district had agreed to a consent order last year in resolution of a legal matter involving prayer and proselytizing at their public school. The district had agreed to the following terms: “to bar all school employees from promoting or sponsoring prayers during school-sponsored events; holding school events at church venues when a secular alternative was available; or promoting their religious beliefs or attempting to convert students in class or during school-sponsored events.”

This definitely caught my attention and forced me to pray and think. And I was reminded God gave me primary responsibility for the education of my children. From the beginning God tells parents to train and teach their children. Four times in Deuteronomy God admonishes parents to teach their children His word and how to live, to be alongside them on the pathways of life, teaching and encouraging them.

As I pondered those thoughts I realized that all the hullabaloo about prayer in public schools would have never occurred had parents not abdicated their role as the teachers of their children. Now, I don’t know that I’m arguing against all public schools; I haven’t thought out the implications of this that far. I’m simply reminding myself of the truth that my kids’ education is my responsibility. When I take that responsibility seriously, I will teach my children to pray, listen, learn, love, and more, such that it won’t matter for my children if public schools encourage prayer or not. I also hope that I and my family will be the type of Jesus lovers that we will pray and seek the Lord like Daniel did, even when it means being prayer criminals.

Responses

Bryan,
I am so deeply impressed with your thoughts here. I am not a “Prayer-in-public-schools” person, and my son goes to public school in San Diego. It makes me more than a little upset when I hear that we need prayer back in schools. If parents weren’t slacking on training their children, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Certainly, I don’t advocate the demolishing of public schools. This is not a theocracy that we live in, and in a secular society, we must have education at any rate. Yet this doesn’t resolve the need for me to teach my kids to pray, to read their Bibles, etc.
And yes, when it comes to it, sometimes people need to bend the rules a little. These two individuals should not have been in trouble for this issue.

Dan’s last blog post..Autumn Resolutions

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