Friday, February 29, 2008

Nevada - Don't Mention Your Faith in Valedictory Address

When Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb began reading a speech that contained Bible verses and references to God and her faith in Jesus Christ during her commencement speech on June 15, 2006, officials with the Clark County School District actually unplugged the microphone!

Brittany McComb worked hard to earn the right to address her classmates as valedictorian. And she has a constitutional right - like any other student - to freely speak about the factors that contributed to her success, whether they be a supportive family, friends or her faith in Jesus Christ.

I read of this case through the Rutherford Institute. Since then I actually got to see the video of the ceremony and it was exactly as described above. Brittany was in the middle of her speech when an official physically unplugged the microphone. This was met by "boo's" from the audience of students, who wanted to hear Brittany's words.

More information can be found here:

Foothill valedictorian criticizes decision to censor her proclamation of faith

Thursday, February 28, 2008

South Carolina - Equal Access to Facilities

Gracepointe Church in South Carolina wanted the freedom for their church to be able to continue to use a local high school gymnasium for Sunday worship services. The school facilities are available for use by any nonprofit group that pays the fees and abides by the rental criteria. Gracepointe Church paid the fees and met the criteria. But the school district's Board of Trustees, hoping to discourage so-called "undesirable" groups from using the school facilities, attempted to make an example of Gracepointe Church by denying them continued use of the school.

Cases like this typically do not stand up to a court fight. If the school facilities are available to other groups, they can not legally be withheld from a church's use. However, not many churches wish to use precious resources to fight something like this in court. And the fact is, it should not come up in the first place. It is another example (actually, one of many such examples from all around the country) of people misunderstanding the meaning of the First Amendment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Holiday Concert in Michigan

A Michigan elementary school music teacher, acting on instructions from the school principal, eliminated the word "God" from all songs in her school's holiday concert. Children were instructed to be silent rather than say "God" whenever the word appeared in the music.

This is yet another example of the mis-application of the First Amendment. What kind of message does this send to the students?

In case readers might think this to be an "urban legend" that is not part of real life, I'll remind you of my own experience. Because of comments and attitude from an elementary school teacher, my daughter said one evening that you are not allowed to say "God" in school (this is while we lived in Connecticut). She got the message loud and clear.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snohomish County, WA - Music Is Censored

In Snohomish County, WA, a school refused to let a woodwind ensemble play the music they wanted for graduation. The ensemble was chosen for the ceremony, and they decided to play an instrumental version of Ave Maria by Franz Biebl. The school traditionally allows the top ensemble to perform a piece from their repertoire, but this time they told the group they had to play something else. The school would not allow religion at the graduation ceremony. The group was not planning to include the words to the song in the program and no one would be singing it.

I have two degrees in music, and I can tell you the obvious: if you omit music with any reference to religion or any tradition in religion, you take out some of the greatest works in music history. Such would not be a complete or even satisfactory music education. You would even eliminate such works as Beethoven's 9th Symphony because of its use of Ode to Joy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Freehold Township, NJ - Your Home Is Not Your Castle

A Rabbi in Freehold Township, NJ, welcomes family, friends, and neighbors to his home on Friday to observe the Jewish Sabbath along with some other Jewish holidays. In 2007 he was informed by his Township that these gatherings violated zoning ordinances. They issued a summons charging the Rabbi with operating a house of worship. The Township also set up a video camera across the street to monitor his house, including the comings and goings of his guests. The Rabbi is fighting this in court with the help of the Rutherford Institute.

Perhaps I have missed it in the news, but I don't recall hearing of weekly football-watching parties, regular bridge nights, or other gatherings being cited because of zoning ordinances. Why would religion be singled out?

If you sell items on eBay (not as a full-time job), are you violating non-commercial zoning laws? It seems clear enough that you are not because your full-time work is elsewhere, so eBay marketing is not the main purpose of your home. Wouldn't that be true for this Rabbi?

This same thing has happened involving Christian Bible studies that are held on a weekly basis at a private home.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


At Culbertson Elementary School in Newton Square, PA, a kindergarten class has a "get to know you" day for a different student each week. One student, a Christian, chose the Bible as his favorite book and his mom planned to read a passage from Psalm 118. On the day it was to happen, the principal informed her that she could not read from the Bible in school because it was "against the law." The mom could have picked another book from the school library, which, she learned, included books on witches, witchcraft and Halloween.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Connecticut - New Haven Colony Charter (1644)

The New Haven Colony Charter (from April 3, 1644), adopted the rules for governing the courts of the New Haven Colony. It began by saying:

"The judicial laws of God, as they were delivered by Moses... [are to] be a rule to all the courts in this jurisdiction..."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Connecticut - the Constitution State

Most of us know that the motto of Connecticut is "The Constitution State" because it was the first state to have a constitution. In January 14, 1639, the CT Constitution was adopted in the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor. Its Preamble said:

Forasmuch as it has pleased the Almighty God by the wise disposition of His divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the inhabitants and residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield and now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River Connecticut and the lands thereunto adjoining;

and well knowing when a people are gathered together the Word of God requires, that to meinteine the peace and union of such a people, there should bee an orderly and decent government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of all the people at all seasons as occasion shall require;

do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one public State or Commonwealth, and do, for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to meinteine and presearve the libberty and purity of the Gospell of our Lord Jesus which we now professe...

Which, according to the truth of the said Gospell, is now practised amongst us; as allso, in our civill affaires to be guided and governed according to such laws, rules, orders, and decrees.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

North Carolina - Mecklenburg County Resolutions

On May 20, 1775, North Carolina passed the Mecklenburg County Resolutions. An excerpt is below:

"We hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people; are, and of a right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of Congress."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great Law of Pennsylvania (1682)

The Great Law of Pennsylvania, April 25, 1682, was the first legislative act of Pennsylvania. It proclaimed:

"Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and the end of government, and, therefore government itself is a venerable ordinance of God... [there shall be established] laws as shall best preserve true Christian and civil liberty, in opposition to all unchristian, licentious, and unjust practices, whereby God may have his due, and Caesar his due, and the people their due, from tyranny and oppression."

It seems to me that this was very carefully phrased. In the excerpt above there is no requirement to be a Christian, but rather to establish laws that are fair in a Godly way, where there is no oppression and where government and religion each have their own domain. In other words, they are using their beliefs and faith to lead them to establish fair laws (in fact they express their obligation to do so).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Connecticut Constitution - Articles I - IV

Article I:
That the Scriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men, as well in families and commonwealths as in matters of the church.

Article II:
That as in matters which concern the gathering and ordering of a church, so likewise in all public offices which concern civil order, -- as the choice of magistrates and
officers, making and repealing laws, dividing allotments of inheritance, and all things of like nature, -- they would all be governed by those rules which the Scripture held forth to them.

Article III:
That all those who had desired to be received free planters had settled in the plantation with a purpose, resolution, and desire that they might be admitted into church fellowship according to Christ.

Article IV:
That all the free planters held themselves bound to establish such civil order as might best conduce to the securing of the purity and peace of the ordinance to themselves, and their posterity according to God.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Virginia Charters (1606, 1609)

First Charter of Virginia (April 10, 1606), was granted by King James I to those settling in Jamestown Colony in Virginia:

"We, greatly commending and graciously accepting of their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those Parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government..."

Second Charter of Virginia (May 23, 1609), granted by King James I, said:

"Because the principal Effect which we can expect or desire of this Action is the Conversion and reduction of the people in those parts unto the true worship of God and the Christian Religion."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Grover Cleveland - Christianity, Morals, and Citizenship

Grover Cleveland was America's 22nd and 24th President. He said:

"All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ result in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship."

From The Glory of America by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, (Bloomington, MN, Garborg's Heart'n Home, Inc), 1991 p.319

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Congress Publishes a Bible

September 10, 1782:
The Continental Congress recognized a need for Bibles in our young country. They granted approval to print "... a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools."

(Notice that these were to be used in the schools.)

This edition has come to be known as the Bible of the Revolution. The following Endorsement of Congress was printed on its front page.

"Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled... recommended this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize [Robert Aitken] to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

William McKinley on the Holy Bible

William McKinley (1897-1901), 25th President of the United States

"The more profoundly we study this wonderful book [the Holy Bible], and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation."

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Very First Law of Motion, according to Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, who is credited with discovering the laws of motion (remember the story of the apple falling on his head?), had a more important law in mind:

"Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done."

At least in the "old days" not all men of science were afraid to combine their religious ideals with science. I personally remember that in elementary school I was taught it was a LAW of science that light ALWAYS travels in a straight line. But, oops - now we know that isn't true. Science is wonderful, but it is always changing its mind about things and can not answer all of life's questions.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Presidents and First Ladies

In 1943, former President Herbert Hoover, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Mrs. William H. Taft, Mrs. Benjamin Harrison, Mrs. Grover Cleveland issued the following joint statement:

"Menaced by collectivist trends, we must seek revival of our strength in the spiritual foundations which are the bedrock of our republic. Democracy is the outgrowth of the religious conviction of the sacredness of human life. On the religious side, its highest embodiment is the Bible, on the political side, the Constitution."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

National Education Association (NEA) Endorsing Religious Teaching in Schools??

In December, 1953, National Education Association president W.A. Earley said in the NEA newsletter:

"Our heritage, which the schools seek to inculcate into the minds and hearts of youth, contains a vast reservoir of moral and spiritual values, whose source is found in the Bible, especially in the teaching of Christ, and in Saint Paul's emphasis on those teachings."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

South Carolina Constitution (1778)

The Constitution of South Carolina was ratified in 1778 and said in Article XXXVIII:
"That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated...That all denominations of Christian[s] this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil provileges."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

North Carolina Constitution (1776)

"There shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State in preference to any other."


Article XXXII
"That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State."


  • The word "Protestant" was changed to "Christian" in 1835.
  • This Article was in effect for the first 100 years of North Carolina's statehood.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Idaho Constutition

The Constitution of Idaho says, "We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare do establish this Constitution."