I fell for it. I fell for it, hook line and sinker. I parroted this critique of the liberal public education establishment: they’ve taken God out of our schools. That was before I became involved with our local school.
There are many who believe that the cause of our societal decline began when The Supreme Court outlawed prayer in public schools. The Supreme Court’s decision in Engel vs. Vitale has become an easy scapegoat for the moral decline in our nation. It’s convenient to blame nine dead justices for everything we revile about our society, but in our righteous” anger, we’re exacerbating the problem.
When we declare God’s removal from public schools, we’re declaring that The United States Supreme Court has the power to move God. We proclaim the sovereignty of God from our pulpits, but in our conversations we intimate the sovereignty of a human institution. The court didn’t push God out the door of our schools in 1962. They only forbade government sanctioned recitation of prayers. God was never taken out of our schools, and He never will be.
When we propagate this untruth, we’re insulting our teachers. There are three public school teachers in my congregation who pray for their students. Are their prayers not heard? Do their prayers not count? If God has been taken out of our schools are the prayers of Christian teachers useless? I’ve found most teachers to be courageous, humble, and selfless. Christ encourages and pronounces blessings on people with those qualities. If God was not in our schools anymore, we wouldn’t have so many quality educators.
I also pray for my children every morning as they get on the bus. I used to pray only for my children, but now when the bus drives by my widow, I pray for all the children on the bus. If God were absent from our schools then my prayers would be useless. I know there are other parents who pray for the school children.
There are also children who pray for one another. What are we telling those children when we tell them that God has been taken out of school? We’re telling them that their prayers don’t count either. That subtle lie does more spiritual damage to our children than we’ll ever realize.
When we insinuate the uselessness of prayers from teachers, parents, and students, we’re operating from a defeatist mindset. Christ has admonished us to not be afraid because He has overcome the world. There is no reason to operate as though we’ve been defeated, and when we act as though prayers for our school, we are slowly conceding the battle to the enemy.
There are also parents who use this battle cry to pull their children out of public schools. We’ve removed a large chunk of Christians and children from Christian homes from our schools, and that has done more to erode the potential spiritual impact than the Supreme Court’s decision in 1962. We should never use our children as missionaries in our public schools, and there are situations where it is necessary to remove children from a public school. However, by removing so many Christian children from our public schools, we have removed a large Christian influence from a public institution. The secularization of our schools should come as no surprise when we remove Christian influence. When we remove our children from public schools, we also remove our influence from them as well.
I’ve made some of you angry. I can hear you furiously pecking at your keyboards with accusations such as: how dare you insinuate that I’ve done more to remove God from our schools than The Supreme Court. You’re going to accuse me of sending my kids into a secular public school just to be missionaries. You’ll probably tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m only 38.
My family is blessed to live in a small town with an outstanding school. We know and love our teachers and administrators. There are many of you who are not that blessed and have made the decision to not educate your children in the public school. I respect that decision and know that education, both public and private is complicated.
What’s indisputable is God’s presence in our public schools. He never left because God does not dwell in a building. His Holy Spirit lives in each one of us. If we kicked God out of school, which we could never do in the first place, then every teacher who is filled with The Holy Spirit would have to leave.
I’m never going to utter the phrase, “we kicked God out of school,” again except to point out the absurdity of that notion. God bless all of the courageous teachers who dedicate their lives to the education of our children.