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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 

More Public Schools' Craziness

It appears that the Tampa school district has jumped into the middle of the liberal ridiculousness that is being perpetuated in our public schools today. They have decided to cancel all overtly religious holidays from the school calendar because they think that in some alternate universe than the one founded in reality that not doing so constitutes an advocation of certain religious views (i.e., any religious belief whatsoever). So from now on only secular holidays will do.

Today, I saw John Gibson on FoxNews discussing his new book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought. He noted that while many secularists claim that the Christmas Holiday is really a winter holiday, they know they are lying to themselves. His point was that holidays in the schools exist because they know no one will show up if they are not there. As a current employee of a non-traditional school, I can say that this is the absolute truth. We just gave the entire school a three day break for the Islamic holiday, Ramandan. Was this because we were trying to promote Islam? Certainly not! It was simply because we were told by the Muslim students (who represent the majority) that they would not be coming, regardless of whether the school was open. The administrators hands were tied. So the holiday was given to all.

This just goes to show that once again, there is evidence that our school systems are now proving grounds for advanced liberal agendas. When will the madness stop?!!

The madness doesn't stop until the very end-adrienne

Adrienne is right. The madness will stop when Jesus returns.

Why are we so shocked? As people who identify themselves as reformed, shouldn't we expect depravity to show itself in every facet of our private and public lives?

Also - why should we expect a "public" school system to honor Christian holidays? The U.S. is not the Israel of the O.T. (I'm not saying that you're advocating that.) Israel was closest thing to a Church-State we'll ever see. I'm preaching to the choir here...but God now works through the church.

When the world does stuff like the holidays, it gives the church an opportunity to preach the true message.

I've rambled enough......did I even make a point?????

I'm tired....I need a twinkie...

too much time and energy is wasted already on these, dare i say, insignificant issues. bishop brian is right...israel of the OT was best semblance of a church-state.
"No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-he wants to please his commanding officer." 2 timothy 2:4

DR, I'd like to hear your response to what Proctor said about Kyle Lake. See Reformissionary if you don't know what I'm talking about.

And I thought I'd let you know, I've got some friends, Dirk and Kathy, who you might want to meet at their blog- http://dirkandkathy.blogspot.com. They're a lot like you, I think.

Have a good one man.


I mean that. Sorry.

Where are you working that the majority are Muslim?

Gavin, I don't think these issues are insignificant. Parental priority over the state interest has very deep and far-reaching implications.

Joe, I haven't read Reformissionary in a couple of days. I will go look at it and post my thoughts here. And I will check out your friends when I get some time after that.

Steve, I work for JCPS doing substitute teaching for a program in conjunction with Catholic Charities. The program serves to prepare refugee adults and children for work and school. My specific responsibility is with school aged children. The majority of our clients are from Somalia and are Muslim. Additionally, we have Russians, Cubans, Turks, and Vietnamese.

I'm sorry there is something I am missing. I never thought of Muslims as particularly "liberal". I would really like to understand your point. Could you explain to me why a Ramadan holiday is supportive of a "liberal" agenda?

Gus, I think you need to re-read my article. I was in favor of giving the entire school a holiday because of Ramandan. My point was that the state doesn't have to "establish religion" in order to give holidays to students who desire to have religious celebrations. The liberal agenda has nothing to do with Islam -- it has to do with many American courts, whose desires are to push religion out of the public square for fear that it might in some way violate the establishment clause, all the while establishing atheism and secularism as the state religions.

If you are still having problems getting what I am saying let me know and I will email you more on it.

Joe, regarding the Proctor article, let me first point out some places where I agree with him.

1. I do think it problematic that many people now see death as having nothing to do with the plan or sovereignty of God. It used to be that people said things like, "God called him home" or "It was her time." But now there is an aversion to things that make God look ultimately responsible.
2. I agree that God can discipline people even in their deaths. John Piper writes a great short article on this in his new book, "Taste and See." The article is entitled, "What if our Dying is Discpline." You should check it out.
3. I obviously agree with some of his assessment of the Emergent community at large. And I didn't find Kyle's final sermon very Biblically solid and theologically significant (nor do I find most Emergent-style preaching that way).

However . . .
I believe that I can affirm all those things and yet not ever conclude that God has put all of it together in His mind to bring this event to fruition as an act of judgment against the entire Emergent community. I think that is irresponsible on Proctor's point and theologically immature. I like what Steve McCoy said regarding the death of Jonathan Edwards. I could add Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, or David Brainerd. All of those men suffered untimely deaths and all felt assured that God was sovereign over their lives.

In the end I think Proctor wants God to have done this to justify his views about the Emergent Church. Mature, cogent thinkers do not need assurance of their own theology in this world. Jesus certainly never promised that anyone who violates His laws will be publically disciplined in this world. If that were the case, you would think He would have bigger fish to fry than a man who at the very least sought to glorify Him and exalt Christ.

Ultimately I do think God worked His will in this situation possibly with some (though it would be very shallow to say this exhaustively) shake up the Emergent community, spark growth in their spiritual walk, cause them to depend on Him more, show them that death is emminent and often untimely, and to awaken them to the realization that Scripture must be querried in order to understand tragedies like this one. But none of those things are special to the death of Kyle Lake -- all deaths should bring us to the realization of all those things. So in the end, Proctor and those like him show that they have no true understanding of God's work in suffering and tragedy, but only shadows of malcontent that drive their theological and spiritual convictions (which is no way to live in Christ and labour in His word and work).

Let me know what you think about my response. We can continue to discuss it here.

i'm down with what you said. i wasn't asking for a debate or anything. i just wanted to see where you stood. see i hear a lot of emergents upset about the proctor article. i only used links to their blogs because quite frankly, i didn't want to send people to proctor's site. i didn't want to directly aid to his coverage. i'm ok with whatever anybody wants to think about kyle lake. they're entitled to their opinion, even if they're dead wrong. someone said something to the effect of "often their search for truth ignores common courtesy." i think that's my biggest issue. on these things, proctor and lake would have agreed: God is sovereign, Jesus is Lord, the Trinity, Jesus' death and resurrection, and the purpose of both, among plenty of other things. so my question was always this- are the other things SO big of a deal that he would openly proclaim that God killed Kyle Lake for being a "false prophet" while the guy's family is still grieving? look, a month down the road, people would have still noticed, but it probably wouldn't have been so bad.

of course, others were right- proctor is much like phelps. the two are just out there trying to gain support and use controversy to gain air time.

to me, that's almost as despicable as anything else. these guys think they're Peter talking to annanias and saphira. but they're not. and for them to speak harshly as if they had his authority is arrogant at best.

i'm not here to debate cessationism and the like. so don't chase that rabbit. i'm just saying that's where i stand and i think it's where most of us stand.

anyway, pretty soon here i'm gonna start writing open letters to certain folks. what i hope to do is 1. show that we don't have to take a preachy or antagonistic tone toward people and 2. maybe someone reads it and they don't hate us quite so much.

you'll understand a little more when the time comes. thanks for the response.

good thoughts on Proctor's words.


Hey. This is interesting to me. Maybe instead of fighting battles that will not be won, Christians should pull out of the public school system all together. Will it not be our responsibilty as Believing parents to provide our children with a Christ-centered education? Can we expect a non-believing government to do that? Should we expect that? Check out "Excused Absence: Should Christian Kids Leave Public Schools?" by Douglas Wilson. I know he is over the top sometimes but this is great.
Anyway, I think that pulling out would benefit our children far more than insisting on being out of school for Christmas and Easter. Remember pals, Non-believers cannot act like Christians for Christ is not in them. Let's not be unfair and expect them to.
I will end with a quote from the great reformer Martin Luther.
"I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt...I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraining them in the hearts of youth."

What do you think?

Have you all thought to consider that there are traditional/conservative reasons for not wanting schools to celebrate Christmas? (Disclaimer: I'm not saying I'm a conservative...)

It has been my opinion ever since I was a conservative young man, that I don't necessarily wanting just anyone leading my kids in a prayer or religious discussion. What if the teacher in charge is someone with whose opinions I'm diametrically opposed?

What if I'm anti-Catholic theology (I'm not necessarily), would I want a Catholic teacher telling my child about the need for confession to a priest? What if the teacher is a Seventh Day Adventist, do I want him telling my child we shouldn't really celebrate Christmas?

These are, it seems to me, rather conservative reasons for not wanting just any ol' teacher leading in pseudo Christian activities.

For what it's worth: At our public schools, our kids dip their toes into all manner of holiday events and, while I don't think it's particularly helpful theologically for my children, it's a learning experience and I'm mostly okay with it. But it would not bother me a bit, as a Christian, if they didn't teach their versions of Christmas to my kids at all.

As to the title of this fella's book: The Liberal PLOT to ban blah blah? Please! As if we liberals don't have enough on our plates to wage war on Christmas.

Dan, anyone can obviously give a so-called "conservative" argument for almost anything. Andrew Sullivan tries to do this with gay marriage. The point is that people are trying to use Christmas for their own means (like Walmart, government agencies, etc), while at the same time decreeing that no one speak the name of Jesus or CHRISTmas. What this amounts to is the minority asserting power over the majority by declaring some sort of offense is being committed.

Now, obviously we don't want anyone teaching false things about any holiday or religion. But we do want education. And part of education is informing people of why things take place. We should inform people (including school-aged children in public schools) of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays, but we shouldn't try to divorce those holidays from the religion in the name of not offending the very people that celebrate them. That is ridiculous.

Now, as to the war on Christmas as a legitimate concern, I would say that while the mantra "the war" is a bit overboard, there is certainly a concern here that Christmas is morphing into something that it isn't -- a secular holiday that is more about shopping than Jesus. The fact that groups from corporations to Congress are helping this to happen is problematic. And there are some who would love nothing less than to rid this country of its Christian roots. You would have to be completely blind to believe otherwise.

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About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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