Karl Marx, the 18th century philosopher who wrote “The Communist Manifesto,” once said rather famously, “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.” He also said, “Democracy is the road to socialism,” and my all-time favorite, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Suffice it to say I am no fan of the German who has been called “the father of communism,” nor do I care for our growing socialism, either. As a matter of fact, I strongly suspect while Marx may have had what he felt were good intentions, the road he travelled led straight to Hades upon his demise and so well be it.
It has been said that our president, Barack Obama, studied Marx during his schooling and now, as he is roundly labeled as “America’s Most-Biblically-Hostile President” in history with mounting evidence day after day, I bring you notice that the American Civil Liberties Union has just sent letters to several school superintendents across the state of Tennessee that “school-sponsored prayer” will not be tolerated.
Hedy Weinberg, the ALCU’s executive director, reminded our educational leaders that “several Supreme Court decisions clearly ban the practice of publicly-led expressions of religion,” according to a story in the Nashville Tennessean last weekend. “Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand there First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for families who attend games.”
Closer to home, the pastor of the Rechoboth Baptist Church who gave an inspirational speech to the kids at Sale Creek Middle-High School on 9/11 is under heavy fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the group has just expressed “serious concern” to the Hamilton County School Board.
Antwan Harris, a reporter for WRCB-TV, talked to the Rev. Alan Stewart of Rechoboth Baptist on Tuesday who said, “Did I mention God in the speech that day, I sure did. I could have talked about the tragedy that day. I could have talked about the terror it sent through the world but I wanted to focus on the triumphs. Some good things happened that day.”
But Andrew Seidel, a lawyer for the Freedom From Religion group, called the speech “divisive and isolating” and a transcript revealed the 7-minute talk included the word “God” six times as well as one Bible verse. “Inviting a pastor in the first place should have been a red flag for the school. Pastors only speak about religious issues for the most part,” Seidel said.
Stewart lamented, “In the last 20 years of my life I have watched the voice of respect for the church diminish. I would have never dreamed when I was a boy,” Stewart told the reporter, “that I would be told in my country I cannot pray. I can’t mention God.”
Last month the Freedom From Religion Foundation pounced on Hardy Elementary for holding after-school prayer walks where any teachers or students who wished could join members of the Love Fellowship Baptist Church and ask the Lord to bless the school and its people.
The foundation claimed “a concerned local resident” had sent its leaders a glowing article from the Chattanooga Times Press written by Yolanda Putman. The foundation, in a letter written by staff attorney Rebecca Markert, said such activity was “unlawful” and that the “promotion of religious belief over non-religion by a Hamilton County Schools official (principal Anetta Ferguson) impermissibly turns any non-religious and non-believing community member into an outsider.”
But in the story that appeared in the newspaper August 17, the principal said she is aware that beliefs other than Christianity may be represented at her school, but she says people can choose whether they want to participate. “I have a great concern for children who are homeless and their struggle to remain in school while not knowing where they are going to sleep at night.”
Gerald O’Guinn, the pastor at Love Fellowship told the newspaper that in the nine years he had been taking part in the prayer worship he had never heard anyone complain. “We’re here to help,” he told the writer. Hardy Elementary has better results than similar schools do because, as Ms. Ferguson noted, “Prayers are answered. Whatever comes before (our children) they can handle. I want them to be kids of excellence in every respect.”
Karl Marx had other ideas. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature,” he wrote, “the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
Opium? Nah, it is more far addicting than that. There are far too many who believe, “For me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And unlike Marxist teachings or our president’s thinking, the Word of the Lord will last forever. You can count on it.