The Renewanation Review Volume 6, Issue 2 - Page 30

  Our forefathers had great foresight when they penned the Constitution. They realized that building a strong nation could not happen without the help of the Lord and in the First Amendment they made sure that the government would not establish a religion nor prohibit the expression of religion.   At the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, perhaps one of our most liberal forefathers, set the tone for the writing. He realized that they had been meeting to draft a guiding document for a new nation and had neglected to seek the Creator. After the following speech overflowing with biblical allusions, all future sessions were commenced with prayer.   On June 28, 1787 Benjamin Franklin boldly said, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”   As they penned the Constitution, they assured that future government agencies, like schools, would not control religion or silence the convictions of a religious people. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states:   “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”   This Establishment Clause declares that no government agency can act in any way to establish a religion or do anything to stop the expression of religion. Thus, the government cannot force religious beliefs on others and cannot roadblock religious activity.   “….abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”   This Free Exercise Clause clarifies that the government cannot roadblock the freedom of speech so freely given to those living in this great nation. "Right now in our culture there is a battle between what the Lord says to be the truth and what other beliefs and philosophies espouse."   Then the truth surfaced; a student had stayed after class, shut the door after all other students had left, and asked this volatile question of his teacher: “Do you believe there is a god?”   David’s eyes bulged as he confessed, “Without thinking, I said, yes.”   He went on to explain that he realized now he had violated the separation of church and state by his bold confession. I had to assure him that there was nothing in any law or document requiring him to lie.   In my role as Executive Director of Christian Educators Association International, I am continually confronted with such misunderstanding of the freedoms we have in this nation to speak openly about our faith.   Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) exists to help Christian educators understand and carry out their mission. CEAI (ceai.org) provides resources such as magazines, newsletters, daily devotionals, and many other printed and digital resources from a biblical worldview.   Public school students have total freedom of religious expression in school since they are not government employees. Students can lead prayer, read or distribute Bibles or other religious material, openly discuss their faith publicly or through assignments, and be given the same access to facilities as others get for non-religious activities. However, school employees must be “blind to religion.” They cannot treat religious expression differently than non-religio \™^