I went to college in Mount Vernon, Ohio, at Mount Vernon Nazarene College.  (They have since turned it into a “university”.  I think pretentious thoughts in their general direction.  I’ll add a boo and a hiss for not keeping the old domain name and re-directing it.)

It was interesting to read about a teacher in the public schools there who is making quite a name for himself.  He’s a science teacher who believes in Creationism and has copies of the 10 Commandments on his classroom walls.  He also apparently burned crosses into the arms of a couple kids (accidentally – it didn’t do that before!) and lied to investigators.  So some wisdom could be applied here.  And it was available – he had a Bible on his teacher’s desk.

His minister (Don Matolyak, of the Trinity Assembly of God), certainly pegged the current thinking when he commented

If he had a Koran on his desk, he’d be fine and no one would say a word to him.  If he had ‘Origin of Species’ on his desk, they would celebrate that.

But then there’s some mixed thinking from the mom of a boy with a cross burned on his arm.  First the good:

We are religious people.  But we were offended when Mr. Freshwater burned a cross onto the arm of our child.

Then the “other”:

We are Christians who practice our faith where it belongs, at church and in our home and, most importantly, outside the public classroom, where the law requires a separation of church and state.

Bzzzzt.  And double-bzzzzt on the NY Times for publishing that as the final line in the article.

A little parsing is in order.  We are Christians who practice our faith where it belongs Good.  I agree with that part.  But just as we serve a God with no limits, our faith/religion/Christianity should have no limits.  So, lady, don’t limit God to being just at church and in our home.  And don’t prohibit it from the public classroom.  I don’t stop being a Christian when I walk into work, or get into my car, or hit the grocery store.  I am who I am – a child of God, and that’s not location-based.  And then we hit the contention that the law requires a separation of church and state.  No, it doesn’t.  The first Amendment to the Constitution says

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .

That’s right – Congress.  It doesn’t talk about state governments, or counties, or cities or villages or townships.  Or school districts.  That argues against a state religion, which I agree with.  I don’t want there  to be one official religion, unless it’s when Jesus returns and every knee bows and every tongue confesses.  It scares me to think about politicians making up some religion they think I should follow.

Now the school teacher coulda done a lot better.  Luke 10:3 says

Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

That’s not an instruction to be a wolf.  That’s an instruction to be a very careful (and still bold) lamb.  The mom missed this next verse, which is Matthew’s rendering of the same statement.  From Matt 10:16:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

The mom bought into a lie about having to put God in a box, and then delivered it up to the ravenous reporter at the Times.  Coulda done better, Mrs. Davis.  You shoulda done better.

And there’s time to change.

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