Within hours after the public learned that the prayer had been removed from the program, principals in the story began receiving hundreds of e-mails of support for the student’s decision to, as Christina Niermann stated, “... finally gain the courage to speak out.”
What really chokes me up is a reported letter from Michelle Robinson, a local, self-professed Christian. Unlike the more vocal majority, Robinson was in support of Damon. Even though she reports that she doesn't have a personal problem with the prayer,
“... I shudder to think of what would happen if a MUSLIM or JEWISH prayer was read. Because of that we must be free of all religious influence in our public institutions. My church will always stand strong and so will my faith. Keep your government out of my religion and I will keep my religion out of your government.”The wording is a little iffy, but I understand and respect the sentiment. Robinson is clearly strongly religious, and holds convictions I no doubt disagree with, but this is a person who is at the very least trying to find that middle ground, to respect the secular law while still holding strongly to their own personal convictions. It's a little judgmental, but being judgmental really only seems to be wrong when it's a stance one disagreed with. So yeah, thank you, Michelle Robinson, for proving that not every Christian in Bastrop, LA is completely insane.
Of course, the newspaper also includes an opinion piece by a local pastor, and I don't really know what to make of it. Ok, well, I do know what to make of it. It's kinda icky.
As followers of Jesus Christ we should not be surprised of the secular world’s resistance to our beliefs. The movement of Christianity has met resistance at every turn. Jesus Christ himself was rejected and removed from many portions of society.The "Christians are so persecuted" complex that seems to pervade religious thought in america is bullshit. If you want to talk about persecution, move to Iraq or some other strongly Muslim country where your life is at risk for being Christian. Being denied public, government sponsored prayer is not persecution. Get over yourselves. Being told your beliefs are stupid is not persecution. It's called being in america, where open discourse involves open criticism. Yuck.
He warned his disciples and future Christians of the resistance we would face related to our faith. In the Bible Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The power of evil through Satan is largely at work to hinder the love of Jesus in this world. Anything God is for, Satan is against. Anything Satan is for, God is against. Scripture warns us time and time again to expect resistance and to persevere in the Christian faith.
The graduation is today, and I'm sure there will be a video or two of the actual ceremony. I'll probably post one more response on that this evening, and that will be it. I can't help but be passionate about this. I call myself an atheist but don't feel any strong drive to be vocal about it or challenge religion in general. What I do feel strongly about is the secular condition of our nation, and any efforts by any aspect of that government to sponsor prayer or deny others from personal prayer is anathema to me.
A friend asked me regarding this, "What if they do as Damon Fowler fears, and have a large group of students loudly start praying during the moment of silence." Although I find that in poor taste, as long as it's not being led by someone (even another student) in a way that could be construed as being sponsored by the school, I think they legally have the right to do that. It's crude, mean, and spiteful (all the things that make up a good prayer in Louisiana, I guess?), but I don't think it's illegal.