Two good posts from two different sources. One, why “avoid every appearance of evil”, the KJV translation of I Thessalonians 5:22, cannot possibly be the correct rendering (hint: did Jesus “avoid every appearance of evil”?):

Avoid Every Appearance of Evil?

Two, Os Guinness makes the case as to why as Christians we had better not be in favor of “prayer in public schools” (even though there will always be prayer in public schools, and no Court can ever remove it—and to say otherwise is to misunderstand prayer!):

Prayer in Public Schools

7 responses »

  1. Graham says:

    We had prayer at school, and the regular statutory Christian-based school assembly.

    If parents feel strongly about it, they have the legal right to withdraw their children from religious activities in school.

  2. Todd says:

    I understand that this is but a small sampling from his book, but I dont feel the case was made for keeping prayer out of public schools. While I do not believe that we have total freedom of speech (try yelling “fire” in a restaraunt later on and see what happens), I do believe that this is an area that our founders intended upon protecting. I will however fight for the right for other religions to have the same freedoms that I enjoy. In fact I would fight for the right of the muslim to pray to Allah, etc. I do not have to agree with their theology in order to assure that their basic rights as Americans are protected. More to follow later…

  3. Byron says:

    Todd,

    I think you miss the point, or perhaps I assume the point that is in my own mind, so let me give this another go:

    1. “Keeping prayer out of public schools” is a loaded term that makes no sense to me unless we define it. In one sense, it’s utterly impossible, of course; I can (indeed should!) “pray without ceasing”, and schoolkids are no exception to that.

    2. So what do we mean, what do we want? Do we want a teacher-led prayer (this is what the whole issue seems to be about)? I don’t. Aside from the fact that I believe that Christians ought to exhaust all other options before placing their kids in public schools (caveat: thank any/all of you Christian teachers who teach in public schools!), if I am a Christian parent, do I want a non-believing teacher to lead in a “prayer”, just so we can say that somebody did something vaguely “God-esque”? No. Do I want a proponent of some other faith instructing my child in “prayer” according to that tradition? No. See, this argument isn’t about the rights of students to pray themselves; that right has been upheld, and frankly, again given the very definition of prayer, that right cannot be abridged anyway (I don’t have to bow or close my eyes to pray!). The argument is about a state agent leading impressionable kids in prayer, and the instruction that kids will learn from this example. If I were a Muslim parent, I sure wouldn’t want a Christian leading my child in prayer just so we could somehow tip our hats to the Deity.

    3. Guinness and I both support “moments of silence”, etc. The kid can pray according to the dictates of his conscience, daydream, doodle, whatever. Equal access provisions are likewise constitutional.

    If you’re the “Todd” I think you are, you’ll find it interesting that my thinking was challenged and changed on this issue by none other than Dr. Bob Alderman, who would agree with both myself and Os Guinness, I believe.

  4. Todd says:

    Following up on my previous comments…

    I do agree with you that I do not want nor would I be a proponent of a teacher initiating a group prayer in their capacity as a state agent. That is, I do not want nor do I believe our founding fathers wanted the government (aka teacher in this instance…but that is also arguable but for another blog altogether)to be the ones leading the charge spiritually. I do believe however that an individual should be able to pray, even in a school classroom, even if they are employed in the capacity as teacher.

    In the Army, as a Chaplain, I was called upon to pray on numerous occasions in a pluralistic enviroment. I simply prefaced praying with, “Join with me in prayer and pray according to your faith group as I pray according to my faith group.” That “blanket” coverage was enough to satisfy anyone who could /would/ did complain. I was not forcing my religion on them, but at the same time was allowed to practice my religion in a free manner. The same should be true in any other setting. If a teacher wants to start the class day in prayer I think they should be free to do just that. Not state or school system sponsored/required event,just a teacher exercising her religious freedom.

    At the end of the day I believe you and I do agree on state sponsored/initiated prayers…not a good idea.

    In reference to our children being impressionable and not wanting our children to learn from the example of a teacher, I would agree with you there as well. However…whos responsibility is it to train our children? IMHO if I am doing the job that I am supposed to do as a parent I would hope that my children would realize when there is some error in the teachers ways, no matter the content or subject matter. Many parents simply hand their children over to the schools to raise them. I know…for another blog altogther.

    Great website you have here. I do enjoy reading the posts from you and others. And not sure which “Todd” you think I am…definetely not the wealthy one..or even the one with the good looks…

  5. Byron says:

    A.C.’s son?

    Anyway, I agree in theory with what you say about teachers having the freedom to pray, exercising religious freedom, but wouldn’t you agree that there’s a difference between you exercising that freedom as a chaplain with regard to adults, and a second-grade teacher, say, exercising it with regard to her students? We rightly recognize the difference between adult levels of understanding/consent and those of children.

    But your next-to-last paragraph is dead-on; handing kids over to the schools to raise them is foolish. I argue that handing kids over to public schools should really only be done as a last resort, in most cases. I once heard someone argue (who made much more money than we, I’m sure) that they couldn’t afford Christian education. Matter of priorities, matter of priorities…

  6. Todd says:

    Guilty as charged as to ancestry…

    I do agree that there is a difference between adult levels of understanding and those of children, but where is the line drawn then?

  7. Byron says:

    Fair question, but somewhere between second grade and the Marine corps…

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