Politics and the Church – Where’s the Church? [Part 17]

This week we will look at a few situations where our leaders in institutes of higher(?) learning are trying to protect our most venerable…’snowflakes’.  These are those members of an upcoming generation who are afraid of life and any acts that might challenge them into the ‘scary act’ of thinking for themselves.

Our first situation takes place at North Carolina State University…an institute of higher learning paid for by tax dollars taken from a populous that claims to be 85% Christian.  There you can’t even talk about Jesus without a permit or so a lawsuit filed in federal court alludes to. [Grace Christian Life v. W. Randolph Woodson, Warwick A. Arden, TJ Willis, and Mike Giancola, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina Western Division, Verified Complaint, accessed December 18, 2016].  Grace Christian Life, a registered student group at NC State, filed the suit over a university policy requiring a permit for any kind of student speech or communication anywhere on campus, including religious speech. [Ibid].  In September of 2015, the student group was told that without a permit it must stop approaching other students inside the student union to engage in religious discussions or invite them to attend group events. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Tyson Langhofer commented on the subject,”Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, not places where students need a permit just to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.” [Tyson Langhofer in communication with Todd Starnes, April 2016].  The lawsuit alleges the Christian group has been singled out by the university…”The University has not restricted the ability of other students and student groups to engage in expressive activity.” “Grace has witnessed other students, student groups, and off-campus groups handing out literature either without a permit or outside the area reserved by their table permit.” [Grace Christian Life v. W. Randolph Woodson, Warwick A. Arden, TJ Willis, and Mike Giancola].  NC State’s rules were so ‘draconian’ that the Christians were not even allowed to step from behind their table in the student union. [Ibid].  A university official alleges the Christian group is soliciting on school premises in violation of Regulation 07.25.12.  They walk up to a single person or duo of persons, start with a hello…I personally know how ‘criminal’ that can be…and then statrt a conversation into religion, ending with giving them a card [Ibid].  The official went on to explain that the university had stopped other groups from engaging in similar behavior in order to ‘create that inclusive, welcoming environment.’ [Ibid].  In other words, the only way to be truly inclusive and welcoming is to shut down the Christians and shove them into a closet.  “The courts have well established that a public university can’t require permits in this manner for this kind of speech” so says ADF Senior Counsel David Hacker.  Unconstitutional censorship is bad enough, but giving university officials complete discretion to decide when and where to engage in silencing students makes the violation even worse. [“Student Group Sues NC State for Requiring Permits for Any, All Speech”, ADF, April 26, 2016].  Kudos to Grace Christian Life for standing up to a bunch of academic bullies.  Church back home had had an impact on their lives.  Every freedom loving American should be concerned about such ‘political’ acts.  If they could do it to a Christian student group, they could do it to anyone.

Now you are going to think that I have really lost my mind.  What does politics and the church have to do with the next situation? Well students at the University of Texas Austin were actually advised not to wear cowboy boots or cowboy hats on Halloween. [Brian Bensimon,”University of Texas Issues 29-Point Checklist on Offensive Halloween Costumes”, The College Fix, October 28, 2016].  Fraternities at UT Austin were further instructed to avoid Halloween party costumes and themes that might “appropriate another culture or experience”.  [“Costume & Theme Selection”, The University of Texas at Austin: Sorority and Fraternity Life, December 18, 2016].  Categories that were included were: ‘Depiction of Indigenous persons or people; South of the Border/Fiesta; Ghetto/Urban; Pimps and Hoes; Trailer Trash; and Chicks and Hicks/Rednecks’…wouldn’t want to offend any of these guys.  They were also told to avoid transgender celebrities.  Concern was less about trick-or-treating and more about not triggering microaggressions among overly sensitive and easily offended millennials.  I could find nothing about dressing up like Satan.  While superheroes and war paint might send millennials into an existential crisis, maybe the most offensive person of all is Jesus Himself.  The Tipton School District in Missouri ‘cleansed’ itself of anything remotely affiliated with Christianity after being bullied by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).  The school even went so far as to pull down the giant portrait of our Lord that was displayed in the grade school’s library. [David Wilson,”Tipton Rally in Support of Prayers Draws Crowd”, Central Missouri Newspapers Inc., September 15, 2016].  As far back as anyone could remember students at Tipton High always concluded their annual awards program with a candlelight ceremony and singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”. [Ibid].  As you might guess, FFRF found reason to be offended and concerned over the singing being unconstitutional.  The song declares that participants are bound together as part of a Christian community. [“Missouri School District Drops Prayer, Religious Hymn After Complaint”, CBN News, September 12, 2016].  FFRF went on to implicate that the hymn would lead to hurt feelings and the sense that non-Christians “are outsiders” and not full members of the community.  Calling for prayer was also labeled unconstitutional. [Ibid].  The school board capitulated to these demands like a ‘house of cards in a hurricane’.  The District said it would continue to monitor such religious practices in an effort to ensure a safe, welcoming environment for all students.  It was pretty obvious that Jesus ‘didn’t stand a prayer’ in this school district.  Even though the Missouri Baptist Convention was fired up over this happening all they did was complain and comment that the atheists FFRF kicked Christ and Christianity and the First Ammendmentright out of a public school. [Don Hinkle, Missouri Baptist Convention, in communication with Todd Starnes, September 2016].

It makes me sick and very irritated when I see a small group of atheists kick Christians to the curb and the Christians do nothing but give up their founding principles.  If we truly want to make America great again we must find a way to stand our ground at the local level of our schools and universities…the seculars seemed to have found that way.  While praying that the White House and Congress abolish the Department of Education, eradicate Common Core, and yield back control of our public school systems, you might add a request as to what you can do.  Get involved with your child’s school; know what your kid’s are being taught; if you see something, say something.  Take seriously who the school leaders and board members are.  Remind the school leaders that it is our tax dollars that are paying their salaries…and they better earn it.  Be known to the local school leaders.  Be a friend to them but let them know that you expect them to take a stand in cases that undermine our nation’s founding principles.  Remind them that the Bible was at one time a school textbook.  If you can, run for the school board.  Much of what our children are taught starts there.  Never be afraid to speak up!

In closing, remember that “politics represent man’s rules” and the “church represents God’s rules”.  In a perfect world they would agree but we do not live in a perfect world, therefore, we must consider both as we conduct our lives here on earth.  Next week we continue to try to find the church and it’s involvement in the mess politics is creating.

– Bob Munsey

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