Christians will be traveling to each of the 29 schools in a public school district, praying for the students, teachers and the school as the district begins its new school year this next week.
The caravan is led and promoted by District Superintendent Billy Coleman. This will be their third annual prayer caravan.
A Wisconsin based atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation, is taking action against the superintendent and the school district, claiming what they always claim---violation of separation of church and state."
District Superintendent Billy Coleman says he is not afraid to stand up against the atheist group and their threats.
He says, "We live in a time when certain groups hide behind the human rights of some to destroy the human rights of others."
He told the press, "The government agencies of Cullman County and Alabama respect the rights of people to believe what they choose and to freely express those beliefs."
"However," he said, "I also believe that we who are Christians have the same rights as anyone else to publicly express our beliefs on our own time, and be afforded the same announcement channels as anyone else."
Coleman has made it clear from the beginning that he is speaking and is involved as a private citizen and is not representing the school district in this event.
He told the press it is totally voluntary and is not endorsed by the district.
But that's not enough for the atheists who seek to silence Christians and eradicate the influence of Christianity from the culture. For them, Coleman is a problem.
Coleman told the press, "I know 'fear' can be a very strong deterrent to doing what is right."
"We have and we will continue to respond respectfully," he said, "but it would be a mistake to take our 'kindred spirit' for fear."
He said, "We are not afraid, and we are not alone."
To those involved in the prayer caravan, the event is a deeply spiritual matter. It was never intended to become a high visibility event.
However, those involved say the attention brought to it this year by the atheist group will likely expand the number involved by 30 to 40 times.
The superintendent says, "It's sad because this was about free citizens on their own time on a Saturday, going in front of each schools and praying voluntarily and it wasn't intended to be a big deal."
"In my heart," he says, "is the hope that the prayer event, is just a prayer event, not anything other than that. This is about lifting up our schools to God."
The adversaries of faith and freedom are diligently trying to thwart the prayer and punish the superintendent under the guise of "separation of church and state."
The superintendent also said he has gotten legal advice and "I do have freedoms to express my faith as a private citizen."
Interestingly to me, he also took the opportunity at the press conference to say this:
There has been a lot of debate on what was inside the heads of our founding fathers when this country was established. Why did they write what they wrote? What was the meaning of the First Amendment and public free exercise of religious belief? There is a host of documentation as to their original intent, including that found in the 1789 Northwest Ordinance, adopted after the First Amendment was ratified: 'Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Thus, we know that the first public schools were established to teach children how to read the Bible and the New England Primer, which was one of the first textbooks in America and certainly made reference to the Bible.
Now we have come to this, an activist organization located halfway across the country attempting to eliminate private expressions of faith and worship by public school officials and employees acting on their private time and in their private capacity as citizens of Cullman County. We strongly feel this goes well beyond what even modern Supreme Court decisions require, regarding the scope of the First Amendment.
He closed his statement by quoting the first prayer given at the Continental Congress in 1774.
America needs more men and women like this in leadership in public education and elsewhere.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Thankful. Be Informed. Be Active. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.