Sunday, May 27, 2007

MORE ABOUT THE POWER TEAM CONTROVERSY ~~ by Barb

Parents who oppose voluntary prayer of sports teams because their little atheists might feel uncomfortable being silent for a moment while the others prayed, who object to ceremonial prayers to begin school banquets, as in the southern schools which pray before band festival banquets and before school games, asking the Creator to protect the students and remind them of fair play, etc.--people who oppose graduation prayers asking for blessing and guidance for the students --people who want the daily school day and government observances to favor secularists, humanists and atheists --as though those weren't distinct philosophies (world views with religious implications) --people who oppose military chaplains preaching the importance of believing in Christ at Christian military funerals, people who oppose Arlington Cemetary's and Mt. Soledad's memorial crosses--and people who oppose our tradition of mottos on money and in the pledge and state mottos like Ohio's, "With God all things are Possible" --

such people tend to be LIBERALS ON OTHER matters as well. They tend to vote in a block, it would seem. They are often the same ones who would see nothing wrong with the Boston sex educators' conference, Planned Parenthood sex ed., the gay-promoting books and cross-dressing book in kindergartens, the library access to porn by kids and adults. They are the people who opposed requiring the xxx web address for internet porn purveyors. They also typically support abortion on demand, without restrictions, and the whole gay agenda.

Mr. Faust, who is happy about his role in prohibiting Christians from conducting motivational, character-building assemblies (Power Teams) in our high schools may be one of those rare people who is liberal on religious issues, but conservative about sexual morals issues because, he wanted me to know he has successfully kept his son away from the Playboy website --which is commendable. Though I'm not sure any parent can be so sure of that, no matter where the computers are placed in the house.

In any case, a person who is afraid of Christianity's effect on culture--who sees something sinister in the Power Team ministry --implying something dishonest because they WERE upfront in their literature about their Christian motivations --such liberals are indeed worried about the wrong things.

This demonstration would have done no harm, but only good--and entertained in a wholesome manner.

The Anti-Christian Liberties Union (ACLU) works too hard straining at gnats and swallowing camels --works too hard majoring in the minors--and this censorship of the Power Team on the grounds of church-state separation is exactly what the ACLU would do.

Mr. Foust said to me: "'Most of you' "? What sort of love or logic drives you to jump from presumptuous personal insults in one sentence, to the next telling me about the Golden Rule? That's sad."

Did I mention the Golden Rule to him? He felt insulted by me, but to him I say, "If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it." I had said "MOST OF YOU" liberals would let their kids see any sort of entertainment --but not a motivational speaker who is also a Christian inviting students to a church "crusade." (Crusade, by the way, is the term Billy Graham and other ministers have often used to describe a series of Christian evangelistic meetings --nothing new or sinister about the word in this century. We weren't thinking of how the Muslims might interpret it.)

If Mr. Foust monitors his child's entertainment and computer use as he says, fine --but many liberals don't, because they see nothing wrong with our culture --except for the Christianity in it. Opposing Christianity in the public square is their biggest aim in life. They see no need to have more controls on entertainment and porn in order to have a culture that is decent for raising children. As it is, our popular culture is NOT decent --and not every child has parents who are protective. These are the kids who especially need to hear messages such as those the Power Team presented at schools and after school.

Mr. Faust knocked himself out preventing many rootless, unchurched, unprotected, poorly parented kids from seeing something that might've inspired them and motivated them, encouraged them for a lifetime. He should have first at least visited a presentation somewhere. As it is he judged cynically their perfectly honest material that says, in effect, "We're here to build the kingdom of Christ and the Christian churches --but we also have this motivational message for kids in the secular setting of schools."

There is nothing sinister about groups wanting to reach kids with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the school doesn't allow religious speech (except secularistic, humanistic, and atheistic), they should nevertheless be able to announce any legitimate religious events in the district deemed good for youth --like a presentation of Handel's Messiah--like the Power Teams.

I'd be far more impressed if Mr. Faust supported an anti-suicide, anti-drug, anti-peer-pressure campaign with a chance of making a difference because the presenters are like super heroes performing amazing feats of strength in a powerful, impressive way.

I'm not sure I'd care if the Arabian Knights made such a presentation(Mr. Foust's blog example.) I'd probably take my kids to the mosque afterward to see what they were saying.

If they were upfront and not deceitful in their methods, let them try. Truth is, other religions don't care that much for the souls of people and aren't offering them a Savior or Heaven. Christianity is the love religion.

I was on a school board and I don't remember them ever saying they were beleagured by groups wanting to do assemblies as Mr. Faust said. They get mail --and the school only has so much time and money for motivational speakers and assemblies --most of which do cost the district money. Our board looked for motivational speakers at one point.

As for the numbers of performances --you say they lie? I say they've been doing this for years and years --and they have more than one group going out. In our city, I believe there were three teams, one with extreme power skills, one with polynesian-type dance with fire and one with skate-boarding type skills. (That's hearsay from my husband.)

As for Christians who would criticize the power team in the public schools, they are probably just like secular liberals in their perspectives --like Hillary and Barrack and the rest of the democratic "christian" leaders. They are also probably criticizing something they've not witnessed --or they've been convinced by "liberal-think" that it's not politically correct to give a Christian opportunity to influence youth even with a secular message in public arena. It's ok for the atheists, humanists, secularists to do whatever they please every day in our public schools, however, because they say these are not "religions." Well they are. they have a philosophy of life and a world view.

In Rossford schools locally, a Christian band was going to play secular music for an anti-drug assembly(they were from the school) and when it was found out that they were a "Christian band," they were denied and another group was brought in --even though they were going to play secular music as I understood it. I don't recall how this was resolved.




"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

21 comments:

Yankee Doodle said...

Happy Memorial Day!

Barb said...

Same to you, Yankee Doodle! I just re-worked this article since you posted --while you were posting.

Barb said...

Follow up article on a similar ministry here in Toledo --which I thought was related to Power Team --is really something different --World Impact ministries. These people were funded by their home churches to come and do these ministries which they do annually. Missionaries to Toledo --imagine that --from all over the world! they had assemblies in a couple of schools during the day --and used schools for night rallies, including U.T.

Kooz said...

You may already know about them...but, you should take a look at alcj.org. Its basically a group of lawyers who comat the ACLU in courts everday...protecting christian religious freedoms.

You can also hear their president, Jay Sekulow everyday @ noon on 100.7 and/or 102.3

I think you will like what you find. I am a member and contributor to this AWESOME organization.

Kooz said...

Sorry...comat was supposed to be comBAT

Barb said...

Yes, I support ACLJ, too.

Also Alliance Defense Fund --which I believe has not lost a case --30 some religion clause cases.

Is it true that the ACLU is tax supported? --not just tax exempt like a charity. My husband thinks he heard that. There oughtta be a law! If they could really receive tax support then so should ACLJ and ADF.

Don said...

"...you should take a look at alcj.org."

You'll have better luck looking at aclj.org.

Despite what you will hear from Barb and "Kooz", the ACLU also has a lengthy and impressive record of "protecting Christian religious freedoms", both in public school settings, and other forums.

Some Establishment Clause suits are filed by atheist plaintiffs, but the majority are Christians who don't like to see other sects receive special treatment in taxpayer-funded institutions such as public schools. A recent example of this is Moreno v. Ector County School Board, which Barb recently cited in support of her theory that the ACLU is an "anti-Christian" organization. In Moreno, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of a group of plaintiffs seeking to stop the teaching of a class that purports to teach the literary and historical significance of the Bible. As it turns out, the plaintiffs in that case are Presbyterians, Catholics (and at least one Jewish family) who allege that the program goes beyond a historical/literary purpose, and advances a Protestant/sectarian viewpoint. You can read statements by the Moreno plaintiffs here, and decide for yourself if the purpose of this lawsuit is to "stifle" Christianity. Check it out...you'll see why Barb does not include any links to documents such as the complaint...the facts of the case tend to not support her theory that the ACLU is some homosexual/Communist conspiracy.

And frankly, I have no idea what this Power Team business has to do with the ACLU. From what I've read so far, they weren't involved in the matter.

Don said...

"Is it true that the ACLU is tax supported?"

Barb, I should start billing you for research.

From the ACLU's website:

"The ACLU was founded by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver and others in 1920. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan and have grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. We handle nearly 6,000 court cases annually from our offices in almost every state.

The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency. The ACLU is supported by annual dues and contributions from its members, plus grants from private foundations and individuals. We do not receive any government funding."


If you have a question, look it up. The internet is wonderful for that!!

Barb said...

It's so much easier to just ask my dear readers!

I thought someone should know. I told my husband I figured it was just tax exempt like a charity and receiving tax deductible donations.
He was sure the complaint on the air was that ACLU received money from the gov't.

Don said...

As always, I am pleased to serve as your resident smug, angry liberal.

;)

Good night...

Barb said...

Say, Don--I would post links but I don't know how --except as linked websites on my blog template page. I try to cite at least the web address where I got the original article --and did so on the original power team article.

don't look for sinister methods of distortion and dishonesty from me when there are none intended, for sure.

I'm surprised if the ACLU isn't involved in any of the power team cases where Foust has raised the issue. Maybe he IS the ACLU rep.

All the aclu has to do usually is threaten to bring suit and they get their way--in most of the 6000 cases per state, i'll bet.

"ACLU has a lengthy and impressive record of "protecting Christian religious freedoms", both in public school settings, and other forums." I rarely hear of a case --just once in a blue moon.

I wonder what percentage of their cases are suits
AGAINST any tax-supported facility allowing equal access and equal rights for Christians same as secularist groups--suits trying to erase all vestiges of our Christian heritage as a nation --as cities. They are trying to CHANGE AMerica to fit their usually atheistic or agnostic world views. That's their vision of separation of church and state --a state that favors their world view and behaves publically as though God does not exist and need not be heeded, thanked, or reverenced --and cannot be called upon in times of national crisis.

Barb said...

Don Don don--I went to the ACLU website and read the parents' remarks.

First of all, the course was optional, so what's their beef?? 2ndly, they complained a lot about their schools' education in general, being deficient. 3rdly, they referred to the course being unscholarly yet they seemed to say they didn't really have access to the class or the materials so how do they know it isn't scholarly? --and I suspected they meant that there wasn't enough skepticism toward the Bible in the course. One parent wanted them to teach that the Bible didn't influence history and lit --but that history and lit affected the Bible? Doh! Newsweek or Time recently said the BOOK was influential.

Those parents sounded like the products of "liberal-think" --like I suspected. And none of them WERE in the classroom. I would agree that there shouldn't be secrecy surrounding the class. Some of them just couldn't see how the Book can be taught as lit--felt it had to be taught as religion and this bothered their Catholic perception of religious education.
I don't know why one has to see it as "devotional" only. Maybe they do need a better teacher and better curriculum. Boy, I'd love to teach that class! It would be strictly content --what are the stories --who are the characters --when did they reportedly live in a Biblical timeline -- what are some of Jesus' key teachings about love, forgiveness, sermon on the mount, Golden Rule. Ten C's. Love Chapter. Genesis account. A little on prophecy.

We might get to what jesus said about eternal life and His role --but that wouldn't be my theme. I might teach them the lamb progression from the first sacrifices to Jesus' claim to be the Passover lamb for the world.
So they would understand the Cross symbolism.

I would apply no pressure to believe the bible or the claims of Christ in a secular school setting.
Just give them Bible knowledge --for the understanding of the 3 major Bible-based religions--story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, e.g. and the relationship to Jews and Muslim history.

I'd probably set forth that the Jews think the body was stolen --the Christians believe Jesus resurrected and was seen afterwards.

I would minimize any "blame" of Jews for crucifixion--as the Romans were also involved --and teach them that a Christian theme is that Christ's death was God's plan; it was the sins of all people that put him on the cross.

John Foust said...

No, I'm not the ACLU rep; no I'm not even a member of the ACLU; no, they weren't involved in the Power Team controversy in my area; no, I didn't threaten to sue anyone and neither did anyone else.

Why is it so much more satisfying to INVENT accusations than it is to simply go to my web site and READ the agenda of the meeting of the superintendents who made the decision to cancel the Power Team assemblies, if you want to learn what was influencing their decision? They didn't even invite me to the meeting! They invited the pastor of the church, though.

I had conversations with exactly one superintendent in person, one school board member in person, another school board member in email - out of five districts. Other than that, all my other communication was one-way.

What's the point of a law suit? It's far more useful to educate, to show people the law, to explain why it's better to protect everyone's rights.

Don said...

Barb,

I did not mean to imply you were being deliberately deceptive, but I could see how my comment could easily be read as such. However, I DO think you are guilty of sloppy research, wild speculation, and questionable conclusions.

We are arguing two very distinct issues here. I am challenging your assertion that the ACLU is an "anti-Christian" organization. All I have done here is point out that the Moreno suit, like many Establishment Clause cases, was brought by religious people, in this case Christians and Jews. I have also linked to empirical evidence demonstrating that the ACLU frequently and vigorously defends the expressive rights of Christians.

In order to defend your claim that the ACLU is "anti-Christian", you have made the absurd (and baseless) claim that the Moreno plaintiffs are somehow not GENUINE Christians, or are the products of some sort of indoctrination.

I have taken no position on the merits of the case itself. You, on the other hand, go significantly further, contending that the Moreno plaintiffs have raised a meritless claim. I don't think there is sufficient information in front of us to make a call one way or the other. I've been providing links to additional information about Moreno. I'm in the thinking and discussing stage, and you've already drawn (and set into stone, apparently) conclusions.

Also, let me be clear...I would NOT argue that the ACLU is correct in every lawsuit it files. The ACLU has been around for almost 90 years, and has filed thousands of lawsuits. There are no doubt some crap lawsuits amongst that number.

Barb said...

There is a heritage of mutual suspicion between Catholics and protestants --that has been ameliorated a lot in recent years by the "charismatic movement" --and the Bible study movement among Catholics. Catholics were not always encouraged to try to read the Bible for themselves. Catholics are a little less likely today to assume that protestants are going to Hell for not being in the Mother Church. And protestants are a little less likely to think the pope is the anti-Christ.

But some Catholics would still be leery of a public school's attempt to teach the Bible, thinking that only the Mother Church should teach their kids. And that is what she said she believes --religious education belongs in the church and church schools. She thinks they can't teach respectfully toward what she believes --but she's wrong about that --ignorant about it.

However, I would have challenged that mother to think of what good influence knowledge of the Bible might be on the protestant kids in the school --who often are not really "churched" themselves --and are often Biblically ignorant of the good teachings about honesty, morality, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, equality of persons, etc. Such a class ought not weaken the role of Catholic church --and the class was not required --but would she rather her kids go to school with those who do NOT believe in the Golden Rule and the Ten C's? or with kids who at least KNOW what those standards are from Chrsitianity.

Is Bible knowledge itself good or bad for youth? for cultivating good citizenship? for being an educated person? GOOD. So let's give it to them.

Yes, some people in mainline protestant and Catholic churches are not believers in the Bible --like my episopalian neighbor who said to me, "Now, barb, you don't really believe Jesus walked on water, do you?" Yes, ma'am, indeed I do!

But that should not be the subject of the class --to promote belief in the miracles and resurrection--nor to promote skepticism --but only to make sure students know what the claims about Jesus are. To not know, is to be ignorant of one of the most influential historical figures in the world --in my judgment. And since I DO believe He rose from the grave, I'd say here that He is the most influential, important human that ever lived. He's the MAN!

But that's not how I'd teach about Him in a public school classroom.
I would teach respect for Him though because of the teachings --and the reason the Bible gives for His sacrifice. Saying He went willingly though realistically and not eagerly.

John Foust said...

You're right, Barb - there are lots of religious folks who'd have a big problem with being told that someone else's religious - albeit "Christian" - viewpoint was being used to direct the Bible study class. They'd naturally be concerned that the class would be used to proselytize instead of teach. They'd think it was a bit presumptuous of a Protestant to tell them what "should be OK with a Catholic." (I doubt that it'll go over well for you to be telling people their kids are "unchurched", though.)

Is this a survey course of several religions, or just the King James? Is this "Learn the top 30 Biblical analogies" or "What is God's view on X, Y and Z?" Is it fair game to bring in archaeology or science that doesn't square with the Bible?

And if all the Baptist kids ended up in that optional class, and the Baptist teacher or even a minister comes in to teach the class, isn't that government paying for religious training? Do we want that? I think one element of the Constitution's prohibition of government-sponsored religion was faction-versus-faction fighting. The founders knew those battles well from Europe and they didn't want it here.

Barb said...

I forget --is it your opinion, John, that we should not teach the bible as lit at all? that it cannot be done in a way that would please all those who would be interested in such a class for their kids, therefore we can't attempt it? That's my understanding of your view.

Did you see the Time article on it about 3 weeks ago? Cover story on teaching the Bible --the magazine said the book is too important to western civ and culture for educated people to be ignorant of it.

OUr public school always did a unit on the bible for honors English --one of the best schools in our state.

I got paid for a Bible as Lit course by the St. Louis Public schools in the 70's --actually my minister, a scholarly sort --did a lot of it for me --helping me get the money --which was only 100$ --I was poor and pregnant then, so I wrote the intro and he outlined the books.

I never knew if they used it but they approved it and were pleased with the final written version. It was strictly content oriented --

I think it would be absolutely inappropriate to teach what YOU think are contradictions to the Bible --that's undermining faith and not the purpose of such a course to educate about the content of the Bible. Undermining faith is what the college profs do on our dime.

I would favor the King James Version though I prefer the NIV for teaching Sunday School --because the KJV is early English and would contribute to following Shakespeare --just good to have the experience of the beauty of the language --to get a perspective on how English has changed. there's a poetic beauty to the KJV.

You don't tell parents THEIR kids are unchurched --you tell them that SOME kids are unchurched and therefore know nothing about this very significant book. It's ignorant people who will say Americans don't need to know anything about the Bible in order to be educated. Jay Leno makes such people look silly on Jay-walking.

Parents who want their church to do it all can exempt their students. Parents who want their kids to know nothing about the bible can exempt as can parents who fear proselytizing.

I'd sit the objecting parents down and give them a test on basic Bible knowledge. Then I'd ask them how they think their kids would fare on such a test---or the other kids in the district. Do they think kids should be able to identify Adam & Eve as the first created couple in the Bible and the story of the tree of knowledge and Satan as the temptor, Cain & Abel as their children and Cain the first murderer, Job, tower of Babel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael (all significant to Jews and Muslims and christians) Daniel and the Lions' Den, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, the stories of miracles and resurrection of Christ. The Damascus Road experience of Saul's, David and Bathsheba, Solomon,

Should they know something about the Ten C's, the golden Rule, the 23rd Psalm, the Beatitudes, the stories behind Passover, Christmas, Easter?

And do Catholics think that public school children should be ignorant of these things if their parents don't take them to church?

Is it religion? Or is it also a very important book for understanding great art, literature and history of the Judeo,Christian and Muslim faiths.

Milton's Paradise Lost, John bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, C.S. Lewis's Narnia, Steinbeck's East of Eden --so many references in lit and art relate to the Bible.

The Bible is part of our world and national heritage. It should be taught to all Americans.

John Foust said...

I can share an example. For several years I've been very involved as a volunteer to help my city launch its public access channels on cable. We now have one for the city and the public, and one for the school district.

At the outset, I walked the high school with a principal and we searched everywhere for a video camera. He wasn't sure if the school even had one. Eventually we figured out that the sports booster club had bought one for the exclusive use of the coaches. Eventually we found two broken cameras from the early 80s in the library, and much later learned there was one newer working camera under lock and key in a librarian's desk, but it was so unknown as to be unused by teachers and unknown to the principal.

I thought this was sad, but there are many schools with less. Through other efforts, there's now a pool of about $30,000 that can be spent on equipment that the school might use to augment their video services and curriculum. I have urged them to think of ways to use video to help teach. I'm having a hard time even getting them to think of ways they could take advantage of these funds.

It is exceedingly difficult to even begin to discuss curriculum changes. It can take years. Apparently it's even difficult for them to imagine ways of using video to augment existing classes, without actually changing the curriculum. Every time I've suggested adding a video or multimedia course (as you can find in many comparable schools), I get a zero-sum answer: Which existing course will you cut; no existing teacher knows this stuff; we can't fire a teacher in order to hire a new teacher who knows about video; no one is getting paid to develop that new curriculum; it's not in anyone's contract to do the extra work to get paid to do small task X. I think you said you served on a school board, so you've probably faced this.

Although I agree that a well-educated Westerner should be acquainted with a host of Biblical allusions and stories, I'd also say they should know a smattering of physics and science and math, as well as other allusions and themes from other forms of literature, and it would be wonderful if they knew about art or knew a second language... it goes on and on. And all of those things have been savagely cut from high schools in the last generation as costs rise and taxes are urged lower. Where on a continuum with all other subjects would we place a course on the Bible? Mandatory, optional, not a must-have? Call me elitist, but I think a post-secondary education (or a lot of self-propelled learning) is necessary if you really want to be considered well-educated. Our public school system, through historical or economic necessity, has drawn lines in the sand as to the extent of the education someone can be expected to receive in high school.

Teaching about the Bible is fraught with pitfalls. I'd refer you to the ACLU's web page on the topic, but I think Don's already done that. The sword swings both ways. It wouldn't be right for one sect's perspective to dominate the class, would it? It shouldn't be Sunday School, it should be just School, which means that there undoubtably could be perspectives or facts taught that (I'm guessing) you'd say were improper because they'd be "against faith." Do you expect to teach faith or perspective?

Barb said...

I wouldn't intend to teach either faith or perspective --just content. The who's what's when's in a Biblical timeline. The way we talk about characters and events in any other story --so the kids are just acquainted with the times, the people, the stories and teachings of the Bible. It is important for peace, to know that the Bible says Jesus was crucified not by any one people group --but by Jews and Gentiles alike --and by God's will --for the sins of the world --as Jesus called Himself the Passover lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Otherwise, we used to have little Catholic kids in ethnic neighborhoods calling the little Jewish kids "Christ killers" --when really the story tells little believers that they should love the other kids --and not call them names for something that wasn't their doing.

As for spending priorities in a district --that's for the locals to decide. you and I can advocate what we want, but if more people want a Bible as lit course than want a video course, so be it --and vice versa. I would want a school board that recognized that video making can be learned at junior college --and anyone can take his own videos until then --but Bible knowledge ought to be taught by someone to every American student because it is so basic to western culture/ideals of liberty and civilized behavior.

John Foust said...

And even without examining every inch and cranny of the local curriculum, I can imagine that some of these Bible-based analogies or phrases would come up in other classes that already exist, such as literature, history, social studies. It's not as if the Bible has been banned from schools. It's still there, in context, and probably always has been.

Barb said...

Right --but the kids don't know what in heck the biblical references mean unless they are churched --which too many are not. Heck, even their teachers are biblically ignorant in too many cases.

It's not worth it --the preoccupation with "separation of church and state" to the extreme attempted today. OUr forefathers who wrote the constitution didn't interpret it as ACLU and People for the American Way do now. They had no problem with ceremonial prayers and Bible in the curriculum, traditional holiday observances, national days of thanksgiving and prayer, etc.

There are so many worse problems than school children praying and people studying the Bible --and that's where parental focus should be --on the real problems --which would often be improved by Biblical faith and knowledge.