The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on the issue of public prayer at government meetings. The Boy Scouts are meeting at the Gaylord Texan to define their position on the issue of homosexuality. (You can imagine the comments news reporters and talk show hosts are making because of their venue’s name.) And Baylor University is overworking their public relations staff over the recent statements by Brittney Griner that she was told to keep her sexual orientation a secret so as not to hurt the university’s ability to recruit. (Note: I’ve not received a “Baylor Proud” e-mail lately.) The point of this blog post is not to gripe – (although you can check out some of my past blogs if you want to read one that does.) I’m writing this blog to tell you why and how we are about to start winning some of these “morality battles.”
The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case on public prayer based on these ten words from the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The justices agreed to hear the case because that statement in the amendment might have been violated by the Greece, NY town Board Meetings. They have repeatedly used Christian clergy to open their public meetings in prayer, making some other groups angry. The Supreme Court has refused to hear similar cases three separate times, citing that government prayer was “unambiguous and unbroken history.” I’m not a lawyer and, if you are as confused as I was, there is a great article to read in USA Today on the subject.
We Christians could get a “bee in our bonnet” over this case, and next October when it comes before the court, I’m sure many will. I’d like to offer a different perspective. Have you ever watched the opening prayer of a congressional meeting – or for that matter, most public prayer times? If you are like me, you probably bowed your head, closed your eyes and tried to pray – so you missed what was going on in the room. People are looking around, or trying to look like they might be praying. In case that’s offensive, others keep their eyes open, put their chins in their hands and fidget until the whole thing is over. The person praying almost always reads their prayer, trying to stay as neutral as possible and will work hard not to mention the name of Jesus, which could be politically incorrect.
Think about it – what part of that do we really want to preserve? On the other hand, what if a congressperson is asked a question or wants to make a statement, but before he or she does, pauses to say, “I need to pray about this before I answer or speak.” Now, THAT would be a moment. It would be noticed and I’ll bet the whole crowd would be wanting to know what that congressperson said to God. Guess what – the First Amendment may allow for the removal of public prayer, but it also allows anyone the right to pray. Imagine a Spirit-led congressperson praying a Spirit-led prayer and creating a Spirit-led moment for our country. The score: God – 1; Satan – 0.
I don’t know what the Boy Scouts are going to decide about their “official position” on homosexuality. I do know this: Every Christian scout, scoutmaster, and organizational leader is allowed by our government and required by our God to make personal choices. I hope they will choose to pray and then do exactly what the Holy Spirit tells them to do. Maybe they will have the best chance to explain the biblical position on homosexuality, marriage and family as opposed to the position Hollywood and truthfully, the current president, would offer. Maybe they will choose to stay, maybe they will choose to go. I wouldn’t presume to advise. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. The Scouts who do what the Holy Spirit leads them to do will do exactly what God wants for their lives, and the lives of the others. The score: God – 2; Satan – 0.
I get in trouble sometimes for saying that universities can’t be Christian, and neither can countries. Only people can be Christians. On the other hand, God and his word are given authority in some institutions, while others follow different standards or priorities. As the apostle Paul said to Timothy, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” Some of the strongest Christians I know went to a state school and, because they had to live “separate” from the majority, graduated with a strong walk with the Lord. Hopefully a university will help your child grow in their relationship to the Lord, but in the end, it will be their choice. If your children choose to be Spirit-led during their college years, God will do great things through their lives. The score at the end of those four years: God – 3; Satan – 0.
Here is an eternal truth, that will work for every moment in your life: “This is the word of the Lord . . .’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord God Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). The tides of opinion might seem powerful, but those who “keep in step with the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:25) will have the power of God controlling their lives. God – 4; Satan – 0.