Thursday, September 22, 2016
Teacher Stomps On US Flag In Classroom
Earlier this week, a high school teacher removed the US flag from its stand, asking the students if anyone had a lighter or scissors.
When none of the students had a lighter or scissors with them, the high school teacher threw the flag on the floor and stomped on it.
A sign of our times?
It is, but it's more than merely a "sign," and it isn't only in our times.
While a student at Bellevue College, I witnessed a similar situation. And that was in the 1960s.
Both teachers, now and then, provided an explanation.
Lee Francis, a teacher at Massey Hill Classical High School was immediately placed on paid administrative leave following the incident Monday.
Today, Francis is scheduled to meet with school officials from Cumberland County Schools to discuss the incident.
Cumberland County School Superintendent Frank Till, JR. said yesterday he is waiting for all the facts, but "Clearly, there are other ways to teach First Amendment rights without desecrating the flag."
Briefly, here's what happened.
Monday in class, Francis asked the students if anyone had a lighter or pair of scissors---no one did. He told the class that was good because those items are not allowed in the classroom.
He then took the flag down and "stomped on it several times with his right foot" according to the students.
Two students walked out of the class after the incident---one of the students carried the flag to the principal's office to "be properly taken care of."
Francis then asked the remaining students if they were offended. He says they said no.
They would also know who gives them their grade in that history class.
One of the students took a picture with their phone of Francis standing over the flag on the floor in front of the class.
The picture has gone viral.
Francis was put on paid leave Tuesday. He and the ACLU then went into a defensive mode.
He says, "You don't teach kids how to think or what to think; you teach them to go down their own path. If they feel so convicted that this is their cause they're going to stand for, then don't blame them."
Would he hold the same "don't blame them" belief if a student wanted to pray, or express their deeply held beliefs in traditional marriage, or openly state they don't believe gays are born that way, or if they believed in the sanctity of life, or if they were deeply patriotic and wanted to sing the Star Spangled Banner in class?
Francis added, "Not only was the demonstration warranted and justified based on the court, it's warranted and justified in the rights we have. This is the law of the land upheld by the highest court. Freedom of speech is not defined verbally by something you say or write down on paper, but something that can also be a physical action."
The ACLU is all in, telling the press, "One of the reasons our country is great is that the Constitution gives people the right to speech and expression, no matter how much others may disagree or be uncomfortable with the message."
"The very principles and freedoms that the American flag represents include the freedom to stomp on the flag," Mike Menlo, spokesman for the ACLU, told the press.
But why are those freedoms allowed in such a selective way?
In the 1960s, I experienced a similar incident in a history class at Bellevue College. Martin Luther King, JR. had just been killed and most of us were in shock.
As our class began, the professor went into a rage about all the things that were wrong with America.
Walking the isles and throwing his arms, the white professor even questioned Abraham Lincoln's motives.
In his rage, he walked to the US flag hanging on the wall, ripped it down, threw it on the floor and began stomping on it.
We didn't have iPhones in those days but the image remains in my mind.
One kid stood and told the professor he was offended---the professor kicked him out of the classroom.
Three or so weeks later, the professor returned to class---the subject never came up again. I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but I distinctly remember what happened in the mind of a young man who, growing up in the Yakima Valley, had never seen or heard of anything like I had just witnessed.
Driving my blue Volkswagen bug off campus that day, I realized there were people who hated this country, while enjoying its benefits and prosperity and freedoms.
Francis told the press yesterday that people are focusing on the fabric of the flag when they should focus on the "fabric of America."
Let's focus on the "fabric of America."
Our Founding Fathers wove the first fabric from which our nation was birthed. And they laid out clearly what that fabric looked like in the Declaration of Independence.
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
They clearly understood that faith in the Creator and true Freedom are inseparable. Their worldview was a Christian one based upon the Great Commission of the Gospel and biblically enlightened self-government.
This is why they inscribed on the first Liberty Bell these words from Leviticus 25:10: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
The fabric of America has sometimes been described as "The American Dream," however, the fabric of America more clearly defines "The American Vision."
Solomon wrote, "When there is no vision, the people perish."
It is the "Vision" that led our Founding Fathers to create a nation under God.
And it was the same Vision, that Daniel Webster defined a generation later.
Webster twice served in the US House of Representatives and one term in the US Senate. He also served two terms as Secretary of State under 3 different presidents.
Daniel Webster was one of the highest regarded courtroom lawyers of his era and led in shaping a number of Supreme Court cases and in establishing several constitutional precedents.
His bronze statue stands in the US Capitol today as testament to whom many say was the most effective senator to ever serve in the US Senate.
Webster focused on the fabric of America a generation after the Founding Fathers with these remarks:
"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
He continued: "Finally. let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse it's influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary."
And Webster said, "God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it."
The first generations of leaders---those who wove the fabric of this country, clearly understood the linkage between God's eternal Truth and the sustainability of this nation.
They linked Freedom and Liberty to God's Word. And the generations who followed also understood that truth.
To understand the Freedom our forefathers handed down, we must understand Freedom and Liberty as it is given in the Bible---to do otherwise is to experience bondage, or as Webster defined it, "a catastrophe that suddenly over whelms us and buries all our glory in profound obscurity.".
Paul wrote (Gal. 5:1), "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
America is struggling under the yoke of bondage being imposed by those who seek to remove God from the culture and our public narrative---replacing Him and His Truth with a relativistic secular progressivism, that in the end destroys individuals and destroys a nation.
Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Free.