this choice bit of newsworthy information escaped my attention when it
happened three years ago. Having checked it out in the archives of The
Oak Ridger newspaper and other places, I feel it is good to share
this with you (especially if you likewise were not aware of it at the time).
And as a matter of public record, the local legislative representative
from Tennessee had this inserted in the Congressional Record in Washington.
Our country is in bad shape and has wandered far from what the founding
fathers had in mind as secular humanists have largely hijacked it for their
own godless, and many times ungodly, purposes.
On September 1, 2000 Jody McLoud the principal
of Roane County High School, Kingston, Tennessee stood up and delivered
a much-needed and an alarming statement over the public address system
at the season’s opening football game, protesting a recent Supreme Court
decision against having prayer before football games. Here is the full
content of what he said.
"It has always been the custom at Roane
County High School football games to say a prayer and play the national
anthem to honor God and country. Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme
Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of federal case law.
"As I understand the law at this time,
I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call
it an alternative lifestyle, and if someone is offended, that’s OK.
"I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity
by dispensing condoms and calling it safe sex. If someone is offended,
"I can even use this public facility
to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a viable means of birth
control. If someone is offended, no problem.
"I can designate a school day as Earth
Day and involve students in activities to religiously worship and praise
the goddess, mother earth, and call it ecology.
"I can use literature, videos and presentations
in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional, Christian
convictions as simple minded and ignorant and call it enlightenment.
"However, if anyone uses this facility
to honor God and ask him to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship,
federal case law is violated.
"This appears to be, at best, inconsistent
and, at worst, diabolical. Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything
and everyone except God and his commandments.
"Nevertheless, as a school principal,
I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do
not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be, at best, inconsistent
and, at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally.
I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.
"For this reason, I shall ‘Render unto
Caesar that which is Caesar’s,’ and refrain from praying at this time.
However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank God, and to ask
him in the name of Jesus to bless this event, please feel free to do so.
As far as I know, that’s not against the law yet."
I find the vocalization of most of this very
commendable and well worded. From what we understand, spontaneous prayer
followed at that football game. Too long the silent majority has been silent
as our freedom of speech and of religion has been bit by bit chiseled away.
Mr. McLoud’s words were well expressed, and
we laud him for them, but we question the last part of his statement. Christ’s
words, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s" had reference to taxation,
not prayer (Matthew 22:15-22). Prayer is not in the jurisdiction of "Caesar."
Christians are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, as well as an earthly, and
the authority of the heavenly supersedes that of the earthly. If the laws
imposed by man conflict with the spiritual laws laid down by God, there
is no question mark about where a Christian stands.
Let us illustrate. Christ, who has all authority
(Matthew 28:18), commanded, "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). In the process of doing
this, the apostles clashed with the rulers in Jerusalem. In the 4th chapter
of Acts we read about Peter and John’s experience, and in the 5th chapter
all of the apostles. Peter and John were jailed over-night for preaching
and before being released the next day were commanded "not to speak at
all nor teach in the name of Jesus" (4:18). "But Peter and John answered
and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard" (4:19,20). In chapter 5 all of the apostles
were jailed, but during the night the "angel of the Lord…opened the prison
doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple
to the people all the words of this life" (5:18-20). They did just this
in accordance with the Great Commission and what the angel said. Again
with hostility they were apprehended and brought before the highest court
of Israel (the "council," the Sanhedrin). Here they were strongly reprehended
with the words, "Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach
in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine…"
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey
God rather than men" (5:28,29). This word "obey" in the original language
of the New Testament is peitharcheo, which means to obey
a ruler, one in authority. Really, what the apostles were saying is that
God was their ruler, superseding what anyone else had to say. He is over
all. We do what He says.
This is likewise true in this matter of prayer.
The apostle Paul plainly stated, and his words stand as the Word of God
(1 Corinthians 14:37), "I will therefore that men pray everywhere,
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (1 Timothy 2:8). The
Supreme Court of the United States is not supreme. The court of heaven
is. "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).