To The Town of Castroville, Texas...Way To Go!
Whom will you obey?
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, 'Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard... We must obey God rather than human beings!' Acts 4:18-20, 5:29
It's been 2,000 years since Peter and John walked those dusty roads to the temple court. And while the world has changed, the persecution of the saints has not. In the tiny town of Castroville, Texas students are still confronting the Sadducees [Judges] of this generation--men and women whose hostility toward faith is turning "pray" into the four-letter word of our time. This week, a federal judge ruled that the Class of 2011 has fewer rights than the entire U.S. Congress, which convenes every session with prayer. At the request of one secular family, the court took a wrecking ball to years of tradition at Medina Valley High, not to mention the Bill of Rights, by ordering the graduation ceremony to be scrubbed of every reference to Jesus Christ. From now on, he ruled that words "prayer," "invocation," "benediction," "stand," "in Jesus' name," "join in prayer," "bow your heads," and "amen" are taboo (but kneeling during the ceremony to face Mecca is not).
This is nothing new. God was officially expelled from the public school classroom the year I was born--and the Ten Commandments and prayer soon followed. In the early years there was outrage, and some politicans capitalized on the frustration. But in the end, Congress did nothing to protect our religious liberty. The majority of Americans just grew silent, convincing themselves that sacrificing their children's religious freedom would satisfy the radical secularists. Unfortunately, they failed to see that these secularists are determined to eradicate Christianity from American public life as they cast their net wider and wider.
The moment is fast approaching when we will be forced to ignore the unconstitutional overreach of the federal courts to truly live out our faith. As Christians in this country, we need to stop cowering and stand up for the rights our forefathers shed their blood to defend. If the church were as bold in speaking out as the minority that's trying to silence Christianity, society would be powerless to shut us up! We need to quit being silent--and if that means suffering the consequences, so be it. If the American people would peacefully stand up to these black-robed bullies, it would be these judges that found they don't have a prayer.
As Christians, we're called to obey those in authority. But in this country, which God has graciously blessed us with, we are the authority. Remember "We the people?" When we're forced to choose between living out our faith in this world and obeying the arbritary dictates of men, I know who I'm going to obey. It looks like the town of Castroville is making their choice as well. Former students are flocking back to Medina Valley to protest. Teenagers have started painting their cars with messages like, "God lives here" and "We pray." Before this weekend's ceremony, the entire area will fight back with a massive Lord's Prayer rally, where one graduate has even written an anthem for the cause. "If you don't like the things we do around here, we'd say sorry but the truth is we just don't care."
Meanwhile, state Attorney General Greg Abbott and Liberty Counsel do care and are frantically working to stop Biery's order before the start of Saturday's graduation. If they don't, Medina Valley should take their cues from Louisiana's Bastrop High. There, the ACLU scared school administrators out of praying, but they couldn't spook 18-year-old Lacy Rae Mattice. When it was her turn to speak at graduation, she stepped right to the microphone and said, "I respect the beliefs of other people, but I feel that I can't go on without giving glory to my Lord today. I want to ask the Lord's blessing on us." And with the crowd cheering her on, she led her class in the Lord's Prayer. Talk about courage. At 18, she not only had more nerve than her administrators--she had a better understanding of the Constitution too! This is the kind of courage that the Bible talks about in Acts 5. "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."