Many Christians are quick to tout slogans like “Put God back in our schools!” or “Take prayer out of schools, and problems get huge!” and other similar sayings. But think this through… whose God gets put back into our public schools? Since we live in a pluralistic society, if you put Jesus Christ back into the schools, don’t you think the Muslims will want Allah there, or the Wiccans will want their mother goddess, or a horned god, etc.? When we try to place anything Christian or Biblical into a state system or facility, there will be backlash from another belief. Just look at what happened in Oklahoma.
Satanists have proposed a design for a statue in the Oklahoma State Capitol, including a place for people to sit on the “devil’s lap for inspiration and contemplation,” according to Daniel Burke, co-editor of CNN’s Belief Blog. Burke reports that Satanists say their statue would “complement and contrast” with a Ten Commandments monument placed at the Capitol in Oklahoma City in 2012.
The idea behind placing a monument of the Ten Commandments in Oklahoma’s State Capitol was based on historical significance, since many laws of the land are based on these principles and a majority of Oklahoma citizens are Christian. This doesn’t matter. Apparently after the Satanists’ proposal to erect their statue, Oklahoma lawmakers were barraged with requests from all kinds of other religious groups wanting to put up symbols of their own faith. The whole thing is currently tied up in a legal battle.
Another example is in Madison, Wisconsin, where there’s a group called the “Freedom From Religion” organization. Each year, this group makes a fuss over all kinds of things “religious,” even the annual Christmas tree displayed at the State Capitol. If you know anything about the tradition of the Christmas tree, you know it’s not based on the Christian religion, but it’s rather a pagan practice of worshipping the evergreen tree at winter solstice. Late Christians simply decorated the tree with lights, trying to incorporate the pagan tradition into their faith to find common ground with pagans. Why the Freedom From Religion group doesn’t know this shows that they’re not doing their homework!
From the Ten Commandments to the Christmas Tree, anything remotely endorsing a “State Religion” is suspect. So, you can see that if we allow our faith tradition into the governmental realm, we have to allow other beliefs in there as well. That could be an interesting experiment, but one in which I would hope we don’t explore.
However, a big problem with groups like Freedom From Religion and other secularists, is that they are expounding their belief onto us, too — they believe there is no God, and so nothing “religious” can be displayed. In effect, this “no religion” is a religion because they have faith in nothing accept themselves.
What is the solution? There is no simple answer. We need to continue to work within the system with gentleness and respect, but a deep conviction of pursuing the truth.