Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.
In 1962, the Supreme Court under Justice Black ruled that this school prayer, which had previously been recited by students before class, was unconstitutional (Engel v. Vitale). Since this ruling multiple supreme court cases have ruled against the presence of anything in public institutions which “advance or inhibit” one religion over another. For example, just one year later in 1963 the court ruled that the Abington School District was being unconstitutional in requiring students to hear or read several verses from the Bible each morning. Or, more recently in 2000, the case of Santa Fe School District v. Doe ruled that a dedication prayer before home football games was coercive in causing students to participate in religious practices.
These decisions are based off of a reading of the Constitution that its writers did not intend. The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion.” The word “establish” clearly meant that they did not want a state religion, such as that of the Church of England. This is a view of separation of church and state which the Puritans invented when they came to America. The establishment clause clearly does not mean that the state cannot have any religious affiliation or religious aspect to it. That would be an unreasonable separation of the nation from it’s true heritage, and the very reason it exists: the grace of God.
These interpretations of the Constitution do nothing more than point to a fundamental shift of our nation away from Christian principles towards pluralism. There is no behavior (for the state, or anyone else) which is religiously neutral. Either it advances the truth, or it advances the lies of secular pluralism. While this seems alarming, there is still hope. It is only a relatively small minority who maintain enough aversion toward America’s Christian heritage to attempt to purge it from the public square. Consider the fact that only one or two families out of an entire school district are willing to take the case to court. The majority of Americans still consider themselves Christian. In addition to these observations, the heritage and roots of Christian America are copious in our culture, our towns, and our people.
This is a call for those of us committed to Christ to band together and be vocal. If a small minority can affect a fundamental change in the reading of our Constitution, how much more can the rest of us who are faithful to its original intent point back to the Christianity to which we owe the founding of our nation?