In Plain Sight
The ongoing debate regarding the separation of religion and government has been going on for a long time. The Constitution’s First Amendment states that there will be no designated national religion, but neither shall the government restrict religious practice. Nearly ¾ of adults in America agree that religion should be kept separate from government policy.[i] All of our Presidents have claimed to be Christian, as well as most members of Congress. is generally accepted that the morals of Christianity should guide our political decisions.
In November of 2022, a memo was sent by the Department of Human Resources for King County, where the city of Seattle is located. The memo included “Guidelines for Holiday Decorating for King County Employees”. The content of the memo stated, “displays of religious symbols may only be displayed in an employee’s personal workspace. Religious symbols should not be displayed in or as a background to an employee’s virtual workspace”. Included were the nativity scene, Mary, and Joseph, the cross, as well as Buddhist symbols and other religious symbols.[ii] Across the nation the use of Christmas displays depicting the Nativity has been removed where they had traditionally taken a prominent place in front of Capital buildings and other government structures. Children’s “Christmas” pageants in public schools have been reduced to the holiday fare of Santa and Frosty the Snowman.
Public schools have also removed the freedom for students to read the Bible. The early American public, private and church schools used the Bible extensively in their day-to-day teaching. The names in the Bible were used in learning the alphabet and passages were memorized. Bible principles were taught as well as history. The addition of the McGuffey readers in 1836 replaced some use of the Bible but contained many Biblical references itself.[iii]
“On June 17, 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legally or officially mandated Bible reading or prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.”[iv] Many Christians argue that prohibiting prayer and reading the Bible in school infringes on their religious rights. A 2019 survey of American teens shows that some forms of religious expression are common in public schools including prayer for sporting events and wearing jewelry and clothing with religious symbols.[v]
Ultimately, it is impossible to stop a whispered prayer during times of fear, or facing a health crisis. This was exemplified very publicly in the news when Buffalo Bills player Demar Hamlin collapsed on the field in front of thousands on the field and millions watching on television. “His stunned team members immediately dropped to their knees, some weeping, and cried out in prayer.”[vi] Football analyst, Dan Orlovsky stopped mid-broadcast and led viewers in prayer.
Prayer cannot and should not be stopped. It is everywhere in plain sight. Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.
[i] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/07/05/10-facts-about-religion-and-government-in-the-united-states/ [ii] https://www.christianpost.com/news/hr-manager-who-banned-religious-symbols-runs-nonprofit-claiming-white-race-invented.html [iii] https://barlowvincentchurchofchrist.com/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/THE-BIBLE-USE-IN-AMERICAN-SCHOOLS-1700-1900.pdf [iv] https://www.britannica.com/topic/School-District-of-Abington-Township-v-Schempp [v] https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2019/10/03/religion-in-the-public-schools-2019-update/ [vi] https://decisionmagazine.com/damar-hamlin-fighting-for-life-as-prayers-continue/