Stand-Up Wimpy Christians
(This reportedly appeared in the Oct. 1999 Dallas Morning News.)
I am not a guy who spends much time praying at football games or public
school functions. I am the kind of guy who prays during aircraft landings
and takeoffs. But it occurs to me that those who profess to feel so strongly
about their religion aren't approaching the government ban on praying at
school functions correctly. If the
need to pray is so fundamental, they should do something about it.
Religious belief, usually, is the faith in a supreme being who is all
knowing and all powerful. If you are of the opinion that such a being
exists, what is your hesitation with praying.... out loud.... at school
....in front of God and everybody? Am I to understand that the secular
consequence of school detention, dismissal or arrest on a misdemeanor charge
has you more concerned and frightened than the wrath of God?
This is a constitutional republic. The Founding Fathers, in their
shortsighted way, set it up so that a small group of federal judges,
appointed for life, get to determine the religious behavior
of a plurality of the people. That is based on what some would say
is a misinterpretation of the Constitution's prohibition against a state-
mandated religion. Had the founders known that their
First Amendment was going to be so used, I have little doubt that
we all now would be members of the Church of England. But what concerns me
isn't the 800-pound gorilla of "separation of church
and state" sitting on the backs of the churched of this country, daring them
to exercise their rights in sight or earshot of a government official.
Rather, what has me riled up is the dichotomy between one's belief in an
omnipotent God and his fear of our secular laws. If you indeed want the
laws of this country to change, you must
follow the example of the early Christians and become martyrs to our faith.
Now, I am not advocating putting yourselves in danger of crucifixion or
burning at the stake. Another portion of the same Constitution prohibiting
little Johnny from praying at graduation forbids the use of cruel and
unusual punishment. So get organized. Pray at football games. Face down the
persecutors. Fill the detention halls. Empty the classrooms. Overload the
jails. Stand up for your beliefs. Or.... sit down and shut up.
People who believe in stupid stuff like animal rights seem to have more
certainty in the righteousness of their cause than those who
profess to believe that the Son of God came to Earth and died for their
The animal rights zealots will risk their liberty and property for the
benefit of a lab rat. Will you not do the same for your eternal soul? I
guarantee you that the civil authority will stop enforcing these laws if
people break them on a grand scale.
Just by writing this, I put myself on the line. In these times of thought
police, hate crimes and religious persecution, people who advocate the
breaking of laws are open to reproach, even if the laws seem unjust and the
actions taken in violation are peaceful. Mahatma Gandhi didn't worry about
going to jail for peaceful protest, and neither should you or I. My
philosophy on this issue is put up or
shut up. If you don't have the guts to stand up to the civil authority
in support of something so profound as your religious faith, let's move on
to something we can and are willing to do something about.
Stop whining about no prayers at football games or graduation ceremonies.
The world is moving in a direction that isn't in your favor. It will take a
dramatic turn of events for things to go your way. That means you can't sit
in church on Sunday mornings and simply wring your hands about how terrible
it is that the constable won't let you pray to almighty God at the Friday
night game. Or, take some action to do something about it. Your choice!
[ Pastor Coy Wylie Cornerstone Church; Amarillo, Texas -- from email@example.com ]