“Put Jesus Back In Our Schools!” “Type Amen if you agree” “Put God Back in the White House!” “Share if you agree” “Let’s Put God Back in America!”
Just so there’s no confusion, Jesus actually is my bro. I’m a Jesus follower, a J-Babe. But unicorns will have to do The Running Man before I “like”, share or Amen these rallying cries. I don’t share a lot of things posted by other people anyway, but when I do it’s usually something that really moves me; piglets dressed in pumpkin outfits, chihuahuas eating popcorn, cookie recipes that my friends might want to bake for me.
So, you ask, if I love me some Jesus, why won’t I support this stuff?
Basically the implications and facts of these memes are cloudy. I’d like more information concerning the date when you think Jesus and God were actually in our schools, our government, our country. Was it 1962? Was Jesus in our schools prior to 1962? But then on that date he knocked over the game board, took his toys and went home?
A few issues with the 1962 theory.
- First, it assumes that Jesus and God literally left the building when the Supreme Court decided it was unfair of our government to force Jewish kids to pray in a school-wide, government-approved Christian prayer led by a faculty member. In effect, it says that the faith of students and of faculty in our schools is so weak and so delicate that they can’t maintain a relationship with God unless our government is there to stand over them and insist that they participate in a group prayer. I actually believe there are many teachers and students who still spend time in prayer for their schools, for each other, and for our country. See, neither Jesus nor our constitution sanctions a mandatory school-wide prayer. The Christian faith is offered as a gift that we may choose to accept. It is not the strong arm of the law forcing everyone in our society to believe and behave as we have deemed appropriate.
- Second, the 1962 theory assumes that prior to that date we lived in a Utopian society where everyone was treated fairly, we skipped to school, and no one was picked last for dodgeball. The reality is that prior to the 1962 decision, there were still school bullies, there were children being molested by adults and the truth was being swept under the rug, women were abused by their husbands, black people were discriminated against and physically tortured, Presidents were assassinated, Presidents were having affairs, Jewish people were mistreated, innocent Japanese citizens were sent to internment camps. This list can go on forever. And one can only assume that people who believe in this 1962 theory have become too comfortable being the caucasian, heterosexual, Christian majority and can’t or won’t look outside their own bubble to care about people who are different. Which is the antithesis of Jesus, his mission and teachings.
- And finally, the 1962 theory seems to be a defensive position. It’s a way for people to deflect blame by pinpointing that thing or that moment in time that caused things to go wrong in our schools, our country and in our own homes. “My 12-year-old is sneaking out to smoke pot because mandatory school-wide prayer was removed”. “My daughter texted nude photos to a group of teenage boys because mandatory school-wide prayer was removed”. “My adult child left the church because mandatory school-wide prayer was removed”. Compulsory prayer in schools is simply not going to fix your problems.
Look, Jesus didn’t abandon our schools in 1962. He simply stepped back and asked us to take responsibility for our own prayer life and to respect others who believe and live differently. If we can’t do that on our own without government dictates, then, as a country we have a heart problem. And that’s much harder to solve.