Nov. 3, 2015
Everyone is aware that exercising our Christian faith in public is becoming more controversial. One reason is that more individuals on the atheist left are becoming emboldened through the sick “search-and-destroy your opposition” mentality that is trending in our culture. Another reason is that from the background, and usually unbeknownst to those caught up in it, Satan is at work agitating to incite individuals in positions of authority to clamp down on religious expression wherever he can. In short, the devil hates the public display of the cross. He’s weakened when prayer goes up to God and he loses souls when believers witness about the wonder and saving grace that is available though Jesus Christ. I believe that these reasons are in play throughout the recent events surrounding the suspension of Coach Joe Kennedy, the assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington State. After quietly offering prayer with whoever came to the 50-yard line after games for the past eight years, the school district has put an end to Coach Joe’s involvement – and with it his rights of free speech. We’ve seen reporting on cases like this before, but the Bremerton instance hits particularly close to home.
Back in the mid 1980’s I was asked to speak to a school assembly at Bremerton High School concerning the pitfalls of drug use. Note that this is the same school that has made national news recently because it, Joe Kennedy, for praying with his players on the field after games. More on that in a moment.
When my sponsor and I arrived at the school, we were both taken aback by the reception we received before even entering the school. As I recall, I was greeted by the principal and immediately asked if I had a Bible with me. I did not and the response from the school official was "good." He told us I could not mention my faith, could not quote Scripture, and that I couldn’t even tell the students at the assembly where I was speaking that night! I said I did not agree with the policy but was aware of it and had not brought a Bible with me for that reason. My sponsor, who had arranged for me to speak to the assembly, was a dedicated Christian, known in the community, and the wife of Judge Steve Alexander, a prominent judge in Bremerton who eventually ran for election to Washington State Supreme Court.
I spoke for approximately 20 minutes about my own past as a user and how drug use is bad for you. Like the kids didn’t know that? Duh. The end.
I have never forgotten the scene I witnessed that day. Both Mrs. Alexander and I were disturbed by the disorder, trash, and clutter in the hallways. I never remember previously seeing such disrespect being allowed in school. Moreover, I was shocked by the porn hanging on display in plain view in some students’ lockers. It was obviously a school out of control. I was getting a taste of what happens when authority is nullified and lawlessness is allowed full reign. The principal wanted to be sure I wouldn't be "religious," yet his students were in effect running the school without restraint. It was a picture of chaos and paganism.
After the assembly, a male student approached me in a hallway and asked in a condescending fashion, "Hey man, so how did you get off drugs?"
I replied "God did it." That was all and we left.
Within a day or two I flew to Montana to speak to another group. Being that these events took place long before we carried cell phones, it took several hours before I was made aware of the trouble brewing back in Seattle. When my wife was finally able to reach me at the retreat center up in the Montana mountains, I knew immediately that something was wrong. “Eric, our office phone had been ringing off the wall since midday. Local press has been calling wanting comment because Paul Harvey reported about a brief being filed by the ACLU against you and against the Bremerton School District.” The ACLU brief stated that I had “proselytized on school grounds.” In reality, all I had done was honestly answer a student’s question in a private conversation. Evidently the boy, an atheist, went home and told his mother I was “witnessing” to him, she called the American Civil Liberties Union, and they proceeded with their intimidation tactics.
Nothing ever came of the brief, however, because my sponsor, the judge’s wife, overheard the conversation I had with the boy. It wasn’t a case of “his word against mine.” When she quoted verbatim what I had said to him, the student’s credibility was dismissed and the case was dropped.
If I hadn’t already been a victim of a breach of my First Amendment rights at the school, I was spared having to defend myself from the ire of what we have come to understand is a well-organized campaign determined to shut the mouths of Christians inside our schools. 1 Across our country, school administrators have for several decades been the vehicle of the misinformation campaign by secularists to eliminate any mention of God from our schools by the ACLU (read that "Anti Christ Liberties Union"). This is certainly one, if perhaps not the most, poignant battleground for the First Amendment going on at present. It is no overstatement to say that the future of our nation, let alone the souls of countless unaware children caught in the crossfire of an increasingly godless education system, is wrapped up in the fate of freedom of speech on our campuses.
Satanists Invited to Protest at Football Game
Christians need to pray for Coach Joe Kennedy, who has been officially placed on leave from coaching the team. He has received surprising and overwhelming support, especially among students, in this spiritually dark region of the country where the forces of evil are brazen and vocal. An example of the pagan bravado found in Western Washington occurred at the Bremerton High varsity football game on Thursday night, October 30th. About a dozen members of the Satanic Temple of Seattle, most dressed in hooded black robes and some masked, stood outside the fence and protested, even though Coach Joe Kennedy was only sitting in the stands, having been suspended from on-field activity.
The Seattle Times reported that students swarmed the fence where the Satanists stood outside. The group of Bremerton students climbed the fence, shook it, held up crosses, threw liquid, and chanted “Jesus.” Some yelled at the Satanists to go away.
The next sentence in the Times report is perhaps the most disturbing. “A few of the half-dozen students and teachers who invited the Satanists to attend the game in the spirit of free expression were allowed outside the fence, where they spoke with members of the atheist and agnostic group and thanked them for coming.” It is hard for one to imagine that teachers - being paid through tax dollars - can advocate for a Satanist group and yet I am warned not to carry a Bible or quote Scripture on school grounds. Truly, evil has become good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20-21).
This story is ongoing and the final outcome for Coach Joe hasn’t been decided but the Liberty Institute, who is handling his legal counsel, is a tenacious group dedicated to defend the rights of Christians in the public square. Considering the space and assistance that the atheist left has received from godless judges to defy the Constitution, our founding traditions, and traditional values, it’s going to be an uphill battle and we can surely expect an escalation of this type of incident. Just like Satan, anti-Christian often forces rely on intimidation to bully the opposing view into silence. They can’t stand being challenged because of their mistaken perception that God has been officially escorted off of school grounds nationwide. Keep going Coach Joe. We are praying for you.
1) Contrary to the smoke screen atheists put up, the U.S. Constitution never uses the phrase “separation of Church and State.” No official or legal document in our country’s founding says that. Instead that thought is found in a private letter written by then President Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802. The letter was written to assure the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association that no denomination would ever be named as the official state religion of the United States. In fact, contrary to the way that phase is used by the atheist left today, President Jefferson’s letter actually assures the Danbury group of the free flow of religion in the public square without government restraints. In no way does the letter infer that the government and its agencies, such as the public schools, will be religion-free zones but actually the very opposite! Perhaps a better way for Jefferson to have phased it would have been “the separation of State from the affairs of the Church.” Read Jefferson’s Danbury letter athttp://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html.
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