Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ben Stein on Christmas

Rob, your uncle sent me this for the blog:

Supposedly by Ben Stein:

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit-up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees...I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against
That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get
you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her
'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the
gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand Heleave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists' attacks, school shootings, etc. I think
it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what
he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no consciences, why they don't
know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think
it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried more about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will
know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My best regards, honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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


Anonymous said...

So, Barb, are you and Ben Stein suggesting that the solution to the world's woes is to spank our children and read Bibles in schools?


Jeanette said...

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

I spanked, not beat, my children.

I was also spanked by those who loved me and beaten by a step-father who didn't.

Barb, the Anne Graham Lotz quote has also been attributed to her regarding 9/11. I didn't hear it and don't know if it's true.

This does read like an email and I can't believe CBS allowed Stein to recite the whole thing without interrupting him for something.

Nevertheless, whomever wrote it is a smart person.

Did you know a Christmas tree is actually derived from pagans? I don't put one up, but because it's a hassle and our grandchildren get all of that at their houses.

Barb said...

My husband says he never saw ADHD kids in school when he was a child --not like today. He treats for hyperactivity and says the meds are effective with some.

But, in his youth, they took the unruly to the principal's office for one whack with the board of education and that seemed to take care of the seat of the problem. Same in my public school when I was a child. It humbles a kid and there's nothing wrong with that when Jr. thinks he's the cock of the walk in the classroom to everyone's detriment. I've seen much real character forged in kids who've been spanked when they deserved it. The undisciplined stay undisciplined. They are rude and they grow up to be rude and unself-controlled adults --if not worse.

Kids today know that nothing much will happen to them if they rule the classroom. You might not know about that because of your Jesuit education with other well-parented children in private ed and master teachers -- but some inner city elementary schools in Toledo are wildly out of control. My daughter taught music there.

Our former sup't of schools said it was spankings in the 4th grade that worked on him. He thought he was real funny as a hinderance in the classroom until the teacher sobered him up.

I agree that other methods will work with some or many. No one is authorizing "beatings" --one whack from the principal usually worked in my school. Otherwise, the teacher's life is, in great part, one big strategy game, "How to control little Junior--or a whole bunch of little Juniors" --instead of how to help kids learn.

I think the article here is railing against hostility toward the Bible in schools --such that the Golden Rule isn't taught as a great life principle taught by Christ, the Master Teacher --and the Ten Commandments are in disfavor --when, in fact, we want people to not steal, bear false witness, murder, and so on. If they don't learn it in home and don't go to church, where will they learn it??? That we are NOT to murder, lie and steal and commit adultery?

Obviously, just having laws and imprisonment for stealing and murdering, etc., does not reach the heart and cultivate character. We are hearing such disturbing stories of mothers killing children, fathers imprisoning daughters for sex, kidnappers putting girls in bunkers, people burying people alive, husbands killing wives and kids -- Would it have been so bad for these perps, as they grew up, to have been surrounded by a culture that upheld biblical morality? the Ten C's? the Golden Rule? and the possibility of a Savior who will hold us accountable and send sinners to Hell? who also offers hope of salvation from death if we truly repent?

I think too many have concluded that God is not real, the BIble untrue, and there is no eternal accountability.

Barb said...

Yes, we know the history of the Christmas tree --but it's God's tree --and the evergreen was a symbol of eternity. We don't worship it; it's become a part of a festive celebration of the greatest birthday--a birthday decoration, a family tradition.

I understand that Queen Victoria's husband brought the tradition from Germany to England in the 19th C. It became a colorful aspect of the season--in contrast to Cromwell's more drab era where he was suspect of and made illegal all Christmas celebration --even by churches.

Barb said...

A symbol of eternal life, I should say--always green, not dying like the other plants in the fall.

Barb said...

There is something peculiar about this email that's supposed to be a speech on cBS--while sounding like an email at the end begging to be passed on --and then Ben's name afterward.

Maybe the speech ends earlier.

I'm too busy to research Ben's speech at CBS right this minute.

Jeanette said...

I was just lurking at PP and found this interesting comment on a thread where they are beside themselves in laughter that an Iraqi man threw his shoes at President Bush. If Sadaam were still in power the man would have been shredded in a tree shredder.

The comment is from Valérie:

You know, I was watching the news on TV and there is this thing about some young girls here, who several years ago put fire to a letter and put it in the letter box of another girl they disliked.

This was in a HLM building, in the hall, many letter boxes. Normally you would think nothing could happen. But there, a fire started in the HLM, and 18 people died.

Now the girls had received 3 and 4 years jail sentences.

I think it is horrible. These young girls, all they did was a silly thing of putting fire to a letter and putting it in a letter box. This is the sort of stupid thing that maybe I could have done myself when I was their age.

I don’t mean to say that 18 people having died is not important, of course, it is even much more horrible. But it wasn’t the girls fault. If the building burns because of a prank so small as this one, then the real culprit is the greedy capitalists who build the building made out of carboard or I don’t what else.

But the worst thing is that the families of the people who died are screaming in anger that those poor teenager girls ONLY got 3 years of jail.

It is so heart breaking to see how full of revenge and ugliness people can be. I can understand that if your friends or family died you want reparation, but why want to always find an easy person who will PAY for your grief? Is the horror that a few young girls who have their lives destroyed and spend several years in prison going to make your friends and family that are dead revive?

or is it that if they suffer really really horribly for a long time, your heart will feel better? What sort of christian spirit is that? Tha if you see someone suffer to pay for what you think is the price, then your christian heart feels better and closer to Jesus?

Why hate hate hate? These girls didn’t hate. They just hated in that silly teenager jalousy mind, they didn’t want to kill anybody. What good for them, for society, for the families of the dead ones is it to put these girls in prison?

I feel so sad. I am so annoyed with the people who talk about an eye for an eye, they are so full of their bible hatred message.

It is really depressing for people like me who try to find a way to make a sense of right and wrong and make it work in a mindful logic way and in a religious one too.

I am glad that apart from Kender, Barb and Jeanette, you all people don’t laugh at me for still being catholic. My religion can be stupid, but I think I can try and manage most of the time to make the difference between the things that are good and the things that are dumb.

Who said they were Christian people who yelled? And why is it a minor crime to cause the death of 18 people?

Are we the crazy ones, Barb, or are they? Has the whole world gone crazy?

Jeanette said...


I put Christmas trees for years. I stopped because it was a pain in the neck to keep vacuuming the needles and to find a place for the tree to go.

I do use a table tree now. I was just saying it came from a pagan ritual and not casting judgment. ;)

Barb said...

Jeanette, I didn't feel judged -just thought I would explain a perspective that justifies my artificial tree religiously-and yes, the real dry tree and getting it out of the house became a real pain. If my kids didn't put the tree up for us, it wouldn't happen.

Barb said...

About Valerie's post, WOW! That's a classic. Blaming the "greedy capitalists" who built the building for a fire set by thoughtless young girls! Valerie would rather see the builders in jail for a fire they did not start. She seems to see all business people as evil. If you make much money, it must be greed. And for sure, there is greed --and there are builders who cut corners, but they didn't start this fire. They weren't conspiring in hatred against a young girl --resulting in the deaths of 18 people. Builders SHOULD be penalized if they violate fire safety codes. Hit 'em in the pocketbook.

As you noted, Jeanette, it wasn't Christians, or you and me and Kender, but the families of the dead people who cried out for more justice --and longer sentences for these thoughtless, cruel young girls. But Valerie blames Christians. The Eye for an Eye that she blames us for, is not a Christian standard but the Old Testament --but it still is a fair and Biblical and secular standard for justice. Christians are to be forgiving (but everyone tells us that gov't should not be theocratic, therefore there is no obligation for forgiveness and mercy in secular law!) It IS better and more Christian for these families to find forgiveness for the girls than to be bitter and hate them.

But a few years in jail is not cruel and unusual punishment for these girls. They are lucky to spend less time in prison for their arson and the deaths they caused than they would spend getting a college degree. Their penalties ARE merciful. They will still have their youth with freedom soon --though it sounds like they've taken some years to hand down the verdict? so the girls are how old now, I wonder.

The 18 people are dead and their families are deprived of them forever --an inconsolable loss --except for the hope any of them had of Heaven--which is doubtful in France where faith is said by the bloggers there to be so rare.

As for Valerie's Catholicism, you and I certainly wouldn't make fun of it. As I recall, she is the one who said the Bible and the Pope would not have say in her life. I don't know what her Catholicism means to her or how it affects her life --except to tell us all that she's Catholic and occasionally goes to the cathedral for a sense of peace there. It seemed to me that she did not hold a Biblical or Catholic or Christian stand on morals, marriage, abortion, salvation, confession, sin vs. righteousness, nor does she ever criticize seriously the blog dishonesty and the mob mentality at PP. That would disrupt her membership in the family to stand up for what's right against anyone but you and me--in which case she stands up for what is wrong.

Here in the states, a young man of 18 recently got 300 years in consecutive sentences for setting fire to a neighbors couch on their porch and killing 5 family members inside. He was mad because he thought they had stolen his cell phone. He seemed unremorseful and like he was never going to see the error of his ways. LIke he was justified in setting fire to the couch. A neanderthal mentality.

Another young man in early 20's here in our city was so drunk he went the wrong way on the freeway and killed 5 in a family van. He also got the equivalent of a life sentence for vehicular homicide, 5 counts. I DO feel sorry for him, because he did not intend to hurt anyone. No malice in the heart. But our nation loses so many to alcohol-related car accidents and we are fed up with the drinking drivers and their thoughtlessness --but that is the problem with drinking --it robs people of judgment ability. I think 5 years in jail would be plenty, a sobering experience--again, a college education for drunk driving. IN our prisons, he could probably earn a degree at the same time.

I've seen some bad sentences for people who killed others in accidents that were just accidents --a lady was trying to change lanes and didn't see someone behind her--over-correctted and crossed a center line --killing 2 kids in a car recently. I don't think she was drunk or speeding. And she herself is in a wheelchair now. And another went to jail because she ran a stop sign on a country road, killing someone. That is so easy to do on a long country road. It's scary to see harsh sentences passed down for what truly are auto accidents. It's not nearly so severe under the law--unless someone is killed in the accident.

I hope they do something about the drunk driver's sentence eventually and give him another chance at freedom and to stay totally sober for the rest of his life. He needs one of those car adapter/breathalyzers? that prevents his car from starting if he's drunk.

Sad to say, many drunk drivers do it over and over again --playing Russian roulette with the rest of us. They should have to buy and use a mechanism for their cars and prove it is installed with every new car title. (That doesn't keep them from using someone else's car, however.)

Barb said...

Comedians and Democrats enjoyed Bush's shoe incident.

There was a time when our nation would consider it a national affront for someone to insult our leader in that way.

Geo. W. Bush is a good person and does not deserve the scorn he has received --but Clinton? That's another story. A philanderer doesn't deserve anyone's respect. But the Office of President deserves respect. Clinton forgot that.

Christian Apologist said...

My parents spanked me when I was a child and grounded me when spanking no longer worked. I am very thankful for that.

There are very few methods as effective for behavioral correction as pain. How else will we train the future members of our society to put aside their selfish ways and learn to live in community with one another.

Jeanette said...

The owner of PP, to his credit, reminded Valérie that these girls stood there and let the fire burn without calling in the fire department.

3 and 4 years seems mild for what could be considered manslaughter and in this country a hate crime.

Barb said...

It's interesting how many people who were spanked believe in it. That's not true of abuse, of course. Though it is true that abusers pass on abuse --but spankers look back and remember that they needed some correction --some folly to be driven far from their childish hearts!

I don't think it should be the primary or only means of correction and there are ages when it is inappropriate. Of course there are many good books on the subject.

We are off topic--but it's ok--that's communal conversation.

Christian Apologist said...

Actually we are not very far off topic at all. People must know that there are consequences for all of our actions. These girls in France never gave a moments thought to the consequences of putting a burning letter inside of a wooden letter box. We put people in prison and even execute them for a twofold reason. To reform those who can be reformed and, to permanently remove from the rest of society, those who cannot be reformed. The second is to show the rest of us that there are consequences to breaking the law.

The original post is also about consequences. When we remove morals from our society we will soon find ourselves in a society without morals.

Barb said...

True --

Don said...

"I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country."

"[W]here did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?"

My best guess is, these "ideas" come from the fertile imagination of Ben Stein (if he is indeed the author of this piece).

Who's out there arguing that Americans "aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?" Has anyone here experienced some sort of interference with the free exercise of their religious beliefs? If you have, my best advice is to call the ACLU immediately.

Also, who's out there arguing that America is "an explicitly atheist country?" I have heard the argument made that America has a secular GOVERNMENT that ought not play favorites between various religions. However, that is entirely different from claiming that America is a nation of atheists -- an idea no rational person would entertain.

Also, where are all these people who are supposedly "offended" by Christmas trees? I think you will have better luck searching for unicorns or leprechauns.

"...if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in."

Because, of course, the only possible explanation for human problems is that God is punishing us for too few Christmas decorations, too little corporal punishment, too much bawdy humor, or whatever else...

kateb said...

Commenting on the shoe incident. What a strange combination of reactions people have had.

One person was incensed at my reaction and screamed "IT WAS AN INSULT!!"

Well, it's an insult if your an Iraqi.

If you're an American and the shoes miss - it's hysterically funny.

Cultural insults are just that - cultural.

In OUR culture when a grown person loses their marbles and starts throwing their shoes...it's just funny.

Rob R said...

My best guess is, these "ideas" come from the fertile imagination of Ben Stein (if he is indeed the author of this piece).

I think a more accurate picture of what stein is complaining about is the idea that does exist is notion that we should be publicly secular country assuming (which is a huge assumption in the popular culture) that religion is a private matter.

Barb said...

Where've you been, Don? Schools used to have prayer to start school days, before banquets and ball games --as in the south --and the ACLU has threatened everybody who does this --threatened schools for graduation prayers and clergy participation that used to be common with the ministerial ass'n passing out holy books to the kids according to their religion at a school baccalaureate service.

Coaches now have to be careful about praying with their students. Why? Because someone in the minority will have to own his minority status, dare to be different if he refuses to pray in his own way at the same time --so the ACLU thinks it would be better to conform the majority to the minority and have no prayer.

Religious traditions of the military and their chaplains have been targeted by the ACLU lately. Atheism is the favored belief system of the ACLU and they won't rest until atheism prevails in the public square, when we conduct life as though there is no

Instead of counseling kids in schools to comfort them with religious faith when someone dies, what do grief counselors do?? No talk of Heaven--just memories, I guess --sharing your feelings of grief. Big help.

We hear of school districts where Hanakkuh and Ramadan get discussed and almost celebrated while Christianity is taboo --where Christmas and Easter have to be totally secularized.

In fact, I just read about a school in the south where these 5 "praying parents" prevailed in a case over the ACLU --to my surprise. The Aclu wanted to stop their on campus prayer meetings, the See you at the pole annual prayer event, the National Day of Prayer Observance and all religious music in the school.

The whole town and even the local gov't (co. commissioners?) came out in support of the parents.
This is exceptional --not the rule these days.

Except for the school music, these were all voluntary, non-school sponsored events but on public property.

We are all the tax-paying public --and if we want to exercise our religious faith in prayer on public grounds, we feel that's a constitutional right. I remember when Toledo tried to bar an Easter Sunrise service from being held in a public park.

We are constantly having to fight these battles with people of the ACLU mentality.

That some chapters of the ACLU still do good work, I'm pleased when I hear of rare cases. Mostly, they are out to strip America of her public expressions of religious faith.

they must hate that Wash. D.C. Christmas concert that the pres and wife always attend annually. It was on recently and so Christ-honoring.I thought it was in the national cathedral --but laura said something about a national museum. Is it renamed?

kateb said...

Ah but where my children went to school they started the day with prayer. They had Bible study once a week and it was a graded class.

They said the pledge of allegiance and corporal punishment was on the list of remedies :-)

All of the kids they've graduated (save one that was married) went to college.

My children fortunately never wound up in that kind of trouble in school but real school, (versus the liberal indoctrination camps - public schools) still exist.

kateb said...

post script - and these schools are growing rapidly.

Barb said...

Yes, and the parents deserve vouchers to help people of modest means attend. School choice.

Barb said...

The only problem I see with vouchers is the possibility that the Wahabi Muslim schools might form and seek gov't support --and I'd rather see those kids mainstreamed in the American melding pot that American public ed. used to be --in the good ol' days before the public school thought it had to cultivate atheism, secularism, multi-culturalism--at the expense of our noblest cultural aspects.

"School days, school days, dear old golden rule days...."

Don said...

"...Schools used to have prayer to start school days, before banquets and ball games..."

That's right. PUBLIC schools, run by the government. Here's the problem: Many Christians, such as yourself, want to use government institutions to advance Christianity at the expense of other religions and non-religion. Well, the Establishment Clause does not permit you to do that.

Christianity is ubiquitous in this country, with 700-plus denominations and sub-denominations. There is probably nowhere on Earth with a greater abundance and diversity of Christian worship. There are "mega-churches" packed to capacity, many with enough members to fill an arena. There are television channels and radio networks devoted entirely to Christianity. Every bookstore I've visited has a special aisle (or two) specifically devoted to Christian interest. The Christian right is arguably the most pandered-to political interest group in the country. And, quite frankly, one cannot get elected to high office in this country without loudly, publicly declaring Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

So, I just have to chuckle when I hear Christians complain that they're being "run out of the public square," or they're not "allowed" to express themselves publicly.

Christianity occupies quite a bit of the "public square." Why do you feel the need to turn every public school event into a quasi-religious ceremony?

"Atheism is the favored belief system of the ACLU and they won't rest until atheism prevails in the public square, when we conduct life as though there is no

Nonsense. We've had this conversation numerous times before, and I've attempted to explain to you the difference between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, and the ACLU's position on both. However, I think you are simply too reluctant to give up your favorite "atheist" whipping boy.

Opposing GOVERNMENT support of religion is simply NOT the same thing as opposing religion altogether. As i've attempted to demonstrate to you in the past, the ACLU opposes government encroachments on religious exercise with the same vigor as it opposes government sponsorship of religion.

These are not "rare" or isolated cases, but rather a central part of the ACLU's work.

"In fact, I just read about a school in the south..."

I am not going to respond to your uncited anecdotal cases. As we both know, you have a history of misrepresenting (apparently, through negligence) the facts of cases to support your portrayal of the ACLU as a dastardly atheistic villain, and I've had to set the record straight.

"...the ACLU thinks it would be better to conform the majority to the minority and have no prayer."

The ACLU's position is not "no" prayer. Rather, prayer cannot be school-sponsored or led by school officials.

Okay, here we go:

"The only problem I see with vouchers is the possibility that the Wahabi Muslim schools might form and seek gov't support..."

Religion in public schools is oh so wonderful until its SOMEONE ELSE'S religion. If you don't want your government used to advance Islam, then you shouldn't be seeking to use it to advance Christianity.

Why can you not understand this?

kateb said...

Aha....okey dokey then. That was fun.

Anyhoo - does anybody remember the Ben Stein show?

Barb said...

Don --Wahabi Islam is not just another religion. This is the one that says the Christians and Jews are pigs and monkeys and teaches hatred and violence and the ultimate world control by Islam. This is the one that fosters terrorism and centers in Saudi Arabia --where they publish textbooks used around the world in Islamic schools that were objectionable and used in the elite school for Muslims here in Wash. D.C. --whose valedictorian was prosecuted for a plot against Bush's life. When asked to remove the objectionable portions of the book, they just moved them to different pages. This was all in the Blade.

No school receiving a voucher should teach terrorism. Can we not agree to this?? That's the only problem I see with vouchers --is that the Satanists who theoretically exalt evil and the Islamic terrorists would educate kids on the public dollar. These are children who need to learn a bit about Christian charity and individual human worth --human rights--and good character traits of western culture.

Going back to your former "research" on the Texas case to which I alluded previously, you referred to Catholics, Presbyterians and others who brought the suit with the ACLU against a school teaching a Bible as lit class, they thought evangelistically --

There is a way to teach the course without being evangelistic about it --but there are many people who object to teaching it at all. There are a lot of Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Catholics who are liberal --not orthodox believers --who do not share with other Christians the belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God --or even an accurate history of anything. They would teach about it in a way to undermine orthodox faith. There is less difference between them and agnostics and atheists --than there is between them and evangelicals, Texas-style.
These nominal christians make good members of the ACLU because they share their views.

I've seen too many cases of the ACLU being on the wrong side of the fence --clearly so. They won't get a nickel of mine --nor do they bother to ask! I never get on their mailing list.

Barb said...

NOw about the case you doubted, Don, here are the facts.

Go to www.ADFTruthandTriumph.org to see a video of these "Praying Parents."

They have met as a group for 10 years in school cafeteria at Lakeview Elem. in a Nashville suburb, Mt. Juliet. They prayed out of view of students, once a month, for students and staff, etc.

The ACLU also sued to rid the school of the See You at the Pole prayer meeting --which is not gov't run and the National Day of prayer observance on school property, not gov't run, and religious music in concerts.

The ACLU lost this case.

Here's a question for you: who is the gov't of the school?? Elected reps of the public. The gov't doesn't "run" the school or own it. We, the People, do. Gov't may not authorize a prayer event as a school --but they ought not deprive the people of their free exercise of religion --as long as that exercise is not disruptive to the school day, teacher time, etc. and not coercive. A public prayer at a school event like a graduation does not force anyone to acknowledge God or to pray. It asks Divine Providence to guide and protect the graduates all of their days. Only a Grinch could object --and that's the ACLU --GRinchy.

You are right that the law says the prayers may be given if student initiated --but there are all kinds of legal quibblings everyyear --and I'll be shocked if ACLU is very often really involved in defending Christian civil liberties. they are much more interested in Jefferson's phrase, "Separation of church and state" --sanitizing the public square of all mention and memory of the Christian religion.

You talk of the big influence Christianity still holds in our nation--but thousands, millions of children are growing up without Biblical knowledge or faith --no sense of a God to acknoweldge or fear in a proper sense. And no sense of accountability to a God who defines good and evil --and thus they have a weak sense of what is right and wrong. Everything is justified for SELF --what can I get away with. Self-esteem is the high value of the public education system--doing what is best for me. Often what is best is also what is RIGHT -but that's not how devious young minds think. What is best is what advantages ME, Period.

It's too bad that some kids with very troubled lives will not learn that there is a God who loves and forgives them --who asks them to be loving and forgiving in return. Who tells them what is right and wrong and gives guidance for their lives.

I don't expect public school to do all that --but I do expect the school to respect the idea of God in the minds of the children and do nothing to undermine it. I do expect public school kids to know what Christmas and Easter are about --and to know that our Thanksgiving Feast was a thanksgiving to God for His blessings. I expect educated americans to know about the Bible and Biblical events/history.

Jay Leno expected it, too, in his Jay Walks.

Don said...

"Anyhoo - does anybody remember the Ben Stein show?"

I remember "Win Ben Stein's Money" on Comedy Central...enjoyable game show.

That was the late 1990's, as I recall.

Don said...

"No school receiving a voucher should teach terrorism. Can we not agree to this??"

Yes, Barb, I think we can agree to that.

We can also agree to not use taxpayer dollars to erect a monument to Adolph Hitler on the front steps of our nation's capital.

"NOw about the case you doubted, Don, here are the facts.

Go to www.ADFTruthandTriumph.org to see a video of these "Praying Parents."

I didn't "doubt" the case. I said I would not discuss it without citations so I could read about it myself. Maybe it's a lawyer hang-up, but I don't think much of anecdotal accounts of court cases.

I'll take a look at the link.

"Going back to your former "research"..."

Why do you put "research" in quotes? That is what REAL research looks like, Barb. Referring directly to source documents, like the complaint actually filed in court, to find out who the plaintiffs are and the claims they are raising. Referring to direct quotes from the plaintiffs describing their motivations. I guess that's kind of nerdy, and not as much fun as wild speculation and automatically assuming the worst about people, but that's how I roll.

"There is a way to teach the course without being evangelistic about it --but there are many people who object to teaching it at all."

Maybe so. But imagining what might be is quite a bit different from discovering what is actually taking place. Again, you assume, a priori, that these plaintiffs are illegitimate Christians with unscrupulous motivations. Based on what evidence, I have no idea. At any rate, I am not going to re-argue Moreno with you. Anyone who might be interested can follow the links to those old threads. Res ipsa loquitor, I say.

"...who is the gov't of the school?? Elected reps of the public. The gov't doesn't "run" the school or own it. We, the People, do."

What sort of false distinction are you attempting to make here? Our ENTIRE government -- federal, state, and local -- is populated entirely by American citizens. That includes public school employees. Is there some branch of government I am unaware of that is run by foreign citizens?

"I'll be shocked if ACLU is very often really involved in defending Christian civil liberties."

Well, they do. How hard are you looking?

"...they are much more interested in Jefferson's phrase, "Separation of church and state" --sanitizing the public square of all mention and memory of the Christian religion."

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. "Separation of church and state" does not mean "sanitizing the public square of all mention and memory of the Christian religion." This is nonsensical hyperbole.

How can we have religious liberty if the government plays favorites among religions, elevating one at the expense of others?

I submit to you that the separation of church and state is in large part why Americans enjoy such a high degree of religious liberty. Keep the gubmint out of the jeebus, and the jeebus out of the gubmint, and everyone is free to find their own path toward (or away from) God.

"Everything is justified for SELF..."

Well, maybe these criticisms are better targeted at materialist capitalism, rather than the ACLU or so-called "secularists."

"...but thousands, millions of children are growing up without Biblical knowledge or faith --no sense of a God to acknoweldge or fear in a proper sense. And no sense of accountability to a God who defines good and evil..."

No doubt. And, I suspect this is why you'd like to see school prayer, bible class and the ten commandments posted in public schools. Maybe you have the very best of intentions, but public school is not the place to win hearts and minds for Christ.

"It's too bad that some kids with very troubled lives will not learn that there is a God who loves and forgives them --who asks them to be loving and forgiving in return. Who tells them what is right and wrong and gives guidance for their lives."

Again, maybe you are right. However, that is the role of parents and churches, not public schoolteachers. It is not the role of government to lead the horse to water.

"I do expect the school to respect the idea of God in the minds of the children and do nothing to undermine it."

I expect that too. Government officials, including schoolteachers and other school officials, have no business prescribing what is correct or incorrect in matters of religious conscience.

"I do expect public school kids to know what Christmas and Easter are about --and to know that our Thanksgiving Feast was a thanksgiving to God for His blessings. I expect educated americans to know about the Bible and Biblical events/history."

I agree. An educated American should know these things.

Barb said...

You are a reasonable liberal, I think, Don --I don't think all liberals are.

I see the hostility toward Christianity growing in America; you see the mega churches.

In Arissa, India, 70,000 Christians have been displaced from their homes by Hindu terrorists.

My lawyer friend from India tells me that the Bombay/Mumbai terrorism is unceasing (he lives there) --and that they are out to get Americans and Brits especially.

The Somalia persecution is Muslims against Christians.

In Iran and any middle eastern country, Christians live in fear for their lives. The persecution of the Christians in No. Korea is brutal. See Voice of the Martyrs website for details.

People are being beaten for proselytizing and for worshipping Christ --as we speak --somewhere in the world. The Muslims tried to make an anti-religious defamation law pass in the UN --such that it would be a crime to say anything against a religion--or to proselytize --as I understand it.

If Christianity doesn't prevail in the US as a majority faith, I predict we will cease to be the greatest place on earth to live. We will become increasingly lawless as our families become more fragmented.

SAY, DON, IT'S TIME TO GET READY FOR THE CANTATA! 7 PM AT THE HFM Church behind (north of ) spring meadows mall on Angola Road. Tonight and Sunday night. Unfortunately, one of the good soloists/sopranos has lost her voice nearly --so we won't be full strength.

Barb said...

My gripe about "government-run" schools is that the government forgets that it is US --that gov't governs by the consent of the governed.

And thus gov't has no business denying the free exercise of religion to the people --because of minority differences in religion.

I don't think extraordinary accommodations should be made, however, for new immigrant religions --where we are having 5 prayer times a day and foot-washing stations --where we would have excessive numbers of days off as holidays for religious reasons. They come here for religious freedom, prosperity, opportunity --"so come to us as we are --don't try to make us like where you came from."

Barb said...

The school is the place where people learn stuff that's so --that's true --knowledge --history--what's what and who's who. One might think you could learn what's right and wrong in school.

But religion is something else?

I don't ask that public schools be Christian schools per se --but they all were in the beginning of this nation. There wasn't this wall between school/church/home. There was a unified world view.
I understand that we don't have that anymore --so that's why we really need school choice and vouchers.

Barb said...

It's really a heavy booted gov't that comes to your town and says you can't have prayer at school events anymore --at least not without getting all the kids to vote for it and initiate it --you can't have representative clergy present holy books anymore to the grads acc'g to their religions. You can pray but not in Jesus' name. Heavy booted gov't that tells a senior valedictorian that he can't speak of his faith in Jesus Christ in his speech --that kids can't wear pro-hetero t-shirts when the school is allowing pro-gay t-shirts. That tells the kids they can wear a Brittany Spears t-shirt but not a Jesus Christ t-shirt. they can make demonic looking art but not religious themed art. They can't do a termpaper on a religious theme. The employee can't have a Bible on his desk or wear a cross necklace or his yarmulka.

So many nutty cases around the country....

Religion clause blog (on my blog roll) is full of them.

kateb said...

My daughter had her first experience with a girl carrying a bookbag with a pentagram on it at the bus stop.

In public schools they don't want to 'offend' practicing Wiccans by having an opinion on their display of Satanic signs. But if you say then why would you prohibit a Christian from displaying Christians signs or engaging in prayer - they get a blank look.

Not offend Christians? It's such a foreign idea to them that it strikes them speechless.

And we're planning to see the Cantata tomorrow night. Soprano or no soprano!

Barb said...

God answered prayers --her throat improved --She did the solo and it was lovely --but she did more of the directing so her sis could take her place with the sopranos more of the time.

Be sure to introduce yourself afterwards!

Don and Steve and Mudly --you should come and bring your wives for a delightful time. Mudrake could look for things to make fun of for his blog!

Barb said...

It turned out that another soprano had complete laryngitis. We hope she's better --she's in a quartet that needed her.

Every year, it's a challenge keeping all the singers on their feet! free of the bugs going around.

And the weather, too, poses a challenge to director and pastor --no one wants to be responsible for people coming out and getting in accidents.

Wasn't that sad and awful about the young lady from Sylvania who fell from the cable --and they canceled 10 performances.

You know, I would have felt like canceling the performances --but I think that would be Satan's victory --and that the show should go on. While their hearts wouldn't be in it --nevertheless, the message is what the world needs --that Jesus really did come to save us from sin and DEATH!

Do these programs incline anyone to turn his life around --or just entertain and inspire the believers? I know we got at least one new couple last year who first came to our cantata at my husband's invitation. Said they had not been in church for 25 years.

It has to help if people learn that church may not be as boring as they remembered it from youth.

Don said...

Glad to hear your show went well. It is always satisfying to overcome some adversity and put on a good performance.

I also had a gig last night, although the musical selections were secular.

Yeah, winter gigs multiply the inconveniences and stuff that can go wrong. Loading out P.A. at 1AM or 2AM in freezing cold and four inches of slush is not my favorite part of the job.

I've played plenty of winter gigs sick, too. Fortunately, my vocal contributions are not something anyone would miss. I'll be good so long as a bug doesn't come along that impairs finger movements.

kateb said...

God will provide. Just trust in him.

Barb said...

Hey, Kate, were you there? I didn't meet you.

Jeanette said...

Barb, A couple of observations.

I disagree with you that the shows should have gone on after the girl fell and died. This was done out of respect for her family and her memory.

I graduated high school in 1965, shortly after prayer in public schools was banned.

It seemed strange to go from praying at the beginning of school one year to not praying the next.

We had a new math teacher in our high school and somehow we found out she was a Christian.

Several of us approached her and asked if she would lead a Bible Club. She agreed and we met after school at her apartment once a week.

One of our unsaved friends started to attend and got saved. From then on she hung out with the Christian kids. Came from a rich and influential family too.

How did we discover this teacher was a Christian? She couldn't announce it, but somehow the Holy Spirit led us to her and she was only too happy to lead us in studying the Bible.

She got married that summer and moved on to her home town to be with her new husband. I often think of her.

Barb said...

I understand the cancellation of all the shows and the reason behind it --it's exactly what anyone would feel like doing. You feel bad that you even planned a cantata --or a youth trip --or any church event if someone dies as a result of it or during it, en route to it, etc.

But the message of Christmas is hope in the face of death.

I say, the show should go on.

Again, however, I understand that their heart isn't in it --but on the other hand, the Christmas story is the greatest hope and comfort this family has.