Thursday, September 23, 2021

Battle on the Football Field

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High school football players in Tennessee took over the field following a recent football game. 

You know the story: An activist anti-Christian group "wrote a letter" threatening the school that they would "throw them into the lion's den or the fiery furnace" ---actually they promised to sue, if teachers, coaches, etc., continued to pray to their God on school property. 

Rather than bow down to the "golden image" of "separation of church and state" as it were, the students, not the administrators, decided to take a stand. 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas rarely makes public appearances, but recently he made one, and in his speech, he too took a stand in relation to the Declaration of Independence as it relates to freedom and liberty and religious beliefs.

Be informed, not misled.

The battle on the football field was about more than a 6 point touchdown. 

High school football players in Tennessee led parents and fans in prayer after the local school district prohibited teachers and coaches from leading students in prayer.

Bob Vick, an alum and local fan of high school football, watched the drama and posted this on Facebook: 

"Satan's power was defeated tonight, as the threat of legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player led prayer supported by parents and fans on Overall Field. God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage."

Thousands have read his post.

The prayer after the game followed school administrators telling their staff last week that they could not lead students in prayers.

The letter from the left.

The anti-Christian organizations---we all know them, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, People for the American Way, American Humanist Association, etc., ---have all learned that merely writing a threatening letter usually panics public schools, and the schools will do whatever they're told to do because the schools are always out of money, most often are fearful of the publicity, and sometimes agree and support the people who wrote the letter.

And writing a $250 letter for these publicly funded organizations is essentially free because they already have a lawyer on staff.

It works almost every time. But this time it didn't work.

Both teams take the field after the game.

Local television news reported that a lawyer for the school said, "Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel."

So the school issued this statement: 

"As a district we absolutely understand the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members. We support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers. That right is and will continue to be protected. We also understand that faculty and staff members cannot lead or participate in the prayers."

I'm wondering if the school board or the superintendent, or both kinda wanted the kids to get the message that they could not constitutionally be stopped from praying on a public school campus.

The result was beautiful for a believer. When the game concluded, both teams went back onto the field and invited the rather large crowd of parents, teachers, administrators, and local fans to come onto the field while they---the teams---led in a community prayer.

I agree with local fan and alum Bob Vick.

There's a move in this direction. A number of governors are making moves to protect prayer in schools. Florida's Ron DeSantis is one of the leaders. He signed a bill in June requiring that students at public schools be given 1 to 2 minutes during their first period "to reflect and be able to pray as they see fit."

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a champion for freedom and liberty.

Earlier this month, Supreme  Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to the University of Notre Dame about the Declaration of Independence.

As always, his speech was brilliant and profound as he articulated what America is about at its core.

He told his own story---raised by grandparents, taught by his devout Catholic and American patriot grandfather. His grandfather understood that the injustices of the country were not about flaws in the country but about flaws in human beings in living up to ideals handed down to them. What needed to be fixed were the people, not the nation.

Therein is the heart of the matter in the great divide in America today.

However, when Clarence Thomas left home and went to college in the midst of the civil rights movement---and MLK was assassinated, he became bitter with a sense that America is an irredeemably flawed, racist nation, which is so much in the narrative of the left today.

Thomas says:

"What had given my life meaning and sense of belonging, that this country was my home, was jettisoned as old-fashioned and antiquated...It was easy and convenient to fill that void with victimhood...So much of my time focused intently on our racial differences and grievances, much like today."

He continued, "As I matured, I began to see that the theories of my young adulthood were destructive and self-defeating...I had rejected my country, my birthright as a citizen, and I had nothing to show for it."

"The wholesomeness of my childhood had been replaced with an emptiness, cynicism and despair. I was faced with the simple fact that there was no greater truth than what my nuns and grandparents had taught me. That we were all children of God and rightful heirs to our nation's legacy of equality. We had to live up to the obligations of the equal citizenship to which we were entitled by birth," Thomas explained. 

As he continued to work in the federal government, he became "deeply interested in the Declaration of Independence."

"The Declaration captured what I had been taught to venerate as a child but had cynically rejected as a young man. All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights," he reflected.

He notes that through his "rediscovering" the "God-given principles of the declaration and our founding" he returned to the church which had been "teaching the same truth" for millennia.

The Declaration of Independence, according to Thomas, "establishes a moral ideal that we as citizens are duty-bound to uphold and sustain. We may fall short, but our imperfection does not relieve us of our obligation."

In summary, the message about the declaration and the freedoms it declares was this:

There are eternal truths; they are true for all humanity, and it is the personal responsibility of each individual to live up to them.

Thomas, as most of us do, has detractors, but by rejecting him, the Black Lives Matter movement rejects these premises---and that is the deep cultural divide in the culture war in our nation today.


Two Democrat presidents, John Kennedy and Barack Obama, defined what Thomas is talking about.

President John F. Kennedy famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

What can I give to the great cause that is America?

President Barack Obama infamously said, "In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it."

Justice Thomas makes the case that the country does not need to be "changed"---it is not broken. The people are broken by the weight of far-left ideologies. The eternal biblical principles upon which this country was founded are not broken. They are everlasting.

It is we the people who must change, and that change begins with the individual, and it begins in the heart.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Grateful. Be Prayerful.