“Separation of church and state!” That’s a false cry that is being heard throughout our country, as those who oppose Christianity mistakenly think that they have a Constitutional footing to suppress various Christmas decorations, Christmas songs or prayers that name Jesus, crosses that honor fallen soldiers, and the list goes on.
The fact of the matter is, the phrase “separation of church and state” is not to be found anywhere in the great law of this land. Furthermore, the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (aka The Establishment Clause) refers to making a state established church of one Christian denomination over another. Our founding fathers have made it abundantly clear, by both words and actions, that the United States of America is a Christian nation founded upon Christian Biblical principles. So, when I hear the words “separation of church and state” being used in conjunction with someone wanting to unconstitutionally “prohibit the free exercise” of one’s religion, I think to myself, “They’ve got this all backward.
Now that I’ve unloaded, let me tell you about West Michigan’s bubble getting kicked and what we can do about it. The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) wrote a letter to Newaygo Schools, asking the district to take down a display of the three Wise Men following the Star of David, from the top of an elementary school, after receiving a complaint from an area resident. This display has been seen in Newaygo for many decades and nearly all the residents of this small community are up in arms about the demand for its removal.
Mitch Kale of MACRA states, “Well we understand that the situation sometimes will make people upset. But just like in Grand Haven, where their nativity scene has been up for 70 years, that’s now been gone for five years, the city council voted to remove it. And no one complains about it now.”
I’m glad that Superintendent Mathis and the people of Newaygo aren’t backing down. However, many don’t stand up like they are. But that’s part of the problem isn’t it? Often people don’t see the dangers of just giving in, rolling over apathetically, and refusing to take a stand and pay the price.
Superintendent Mathis responded in this manner: “Newaygo Public Schools has a legitimate secular purpose for the display. We are both upholding the community's tradition of celebrating a public holiday and attempting to point towards the importance of wisdom, knowledge, and open-mindedness. They've been described as the scientists of their time. The "wise men" are found in secular and other religious traditions outside of Christianity. Finally, there is no evidence that they were Jewish or Christian before their travels and there is nothing noted in the Christian Bible to indicate anything about any religion they practiced after their travels.”
People of faith should be grateful when others take a stand for their religious liberties and not kowtow to those who would illegally suppress another’s, or a town’s, free expression. I would encourage you to send a word of thanks or to help bolster up their courage to keep standing firm for what is right.
Click here to join the more than 3,000 people who voiced their support for the Wise Men to stay where they are. Also, write a letter of appreciation and/or encouragement to Superintendent Peggy Mathis c/o Newaygo Public Schools at 360 S. Mill St. – PO BOX 820, Newaygo, MI 49337.
When I first heard about this situation it reminded me of the movie Last Ounce of Courage. The former mayor in this movie gave a speech which we should all take to heart. Ironically, it’s also during the Christmas season; but the speech is for all year long. Click hereto watch this clip.
With the Christmas season upon us, we can’t help but think of gifts—either giving or receiving. The Apostle Paul shared with Titus these words of salvation (v. 11), sanctification (v. 12), securing (v. 13-14), and sending (v. 15)—all grace-wrapped gifts from our Heavenly Father. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Titus 2:11-15 (ESV)
In our writing and events, indeed in all that we do, we strive to share these grace-wrapped gifts with others by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We daily rely upon God’s grace to do the things we do. There are many ways in which God shows us His grace and favor. One of those ways is His prompting you and others like you to graciously give monetary gifts, prayerful support, and words of encouragement.
We are so very grateful for the many ways God uses you to bless us. Frankly, we stand in great need right now; our finances are very low. Won’t you help us spread the grace of God to others as we warn, inform, and stir others to holy living? Please pray and ask the Lord what He would have you to do during this season of giving.
By faith, we are thanking God for your gift of financial support, prayer, and/or words of encouragement.
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