…You know you want to
I read some disturbing news item this morning about a Texas teenager whose relay team was disqualified because of his celebratory move of pointing skyward after a fine finish. The team was punished with disqualification and despite their outstanding performance they will not get another chance to qualify for the state championship meet later in May. Apparently, his singular act of pointing toward heaven (an act suggestive of giving God thanks) offended a University Interscholastic League (UIL) regulation barring “excessive” celebration.
EXCESSIVE?! I am literally screaming right now. Of course, people will argue that ‘excessive’ is a relative term and what is excessive in any given place or event will be governed largely by relevant rules or principles guiding that place or event. I totally agree with that. I however do not agree that a celebratory gesture which lasts only a few seconds and does not offend any known moral code should be termed excessive merely because it is religiously inclined.
The classification of ‘a single finger point to heaven’ as an excessive celebratory act begs the question; what really was excessive about the boy’s action? Was it the dramatization of his pleasure or the expression of his faith? The nature of the act itself already rules out the first as a likely argument. That leaves us with the second option- he showed ‘too much’ faith. *sad sigh*
The system is shy about religious activities in public schools. Schools cannot organize school prayers and teachers cannot tell their students about Jesus without facing some sanction. However, children who openly profess Satanism and observe eerie ‘fashion’ practices in public schools are dismissively said to just be ‘experimenting’. The government does not want the school system to interfere with the children’s freedom of conscience; neither do they want any member of the school community to offend other members’ freedom of conscience so they ban school prayers and religious expressions among staff and students.
Religion seems to now be that thing that people are ‘allowed’ to practice if they so wish but cannot openly talk about in the workplace, public school or event. For crying out loud, I was watching a locally produced movie the other day and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ was censored when a character in the movie said a word of prayer. On the other hand, unsavoury acts which made people cringe and quickly cover their children’s eyes in the past have now been legalised by various governments. What is the world coming to?
Am I the only one who has observed an increase in school killings and crimes by children against other children, especially in countries where religion is banned at school? I doubt that very much because for decades now, such news has echoed repeatedly in the news. Particularly chilling are these stories which have been copied by other killer kids. Many years have passed but their horror is yet to fade.
December 1, 1997 — Michael Carneal, 14, liked to wear black and was thought by classmates in Paducah, Kentucky, to be a Satanist. That morning, he brought a gun to school and opened fire on a small prayer group. Three girls died and five other students were wounded. Another student tackled him, and it was soon revealed that Carneal had a pistol, two rifles, and two shotguns, along with 700 rounds of ammunition, all of it stolen. He’d threatened earlier to “shoot up” the school, but no one had taken him seriously.
Dylan Klebold, 17, and Eric Harris, 18, obsessed with violent video games and paramilitary techniques spent a year collecting an arsenal of semi-automatic guns and homemade bombs with which to perpetrate a crime that the nation would never forget. There schoolmates often teased them and called “the trench-coat mafia” because they always wore trench coats to school. On April 20, 1999, the boys went to their Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and killed 34 people including themselves. The boys had sent an email to the local police department just the day before the massacre, warning of their intention.
March 24, 1998 – Andrew Golden, 11, and his gun buddy, Mitchell Johnson, 13, dressed in camouflage fatigues and then gunned down fifteen people at the Westside Middle School playground in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Five died, all of them female and four were children. The boys had a van stocked full of ammunition and guns, which they took from their kin. Golden went into the school and set off a fire alarm, then ran to where Johnson lay in position with the rifles. As people filed out for the fire drill, the boys began shooting.
Source – http://www.trutv,com
Destructive bullying activities, strange behaviour and murderous intentions of some children are pretty much ignored with disastrous consequences while other kids get punished for pointing to heaven in celebration of a victory they believe to have come from God. Moral instruction has never been enough to set children on the right part and it is my belief that Jesus is the only cure for a wicked and destructive heart. However, while spiritual guidance and religious instruction might not deter every wicked act, it will certainly not do children as much harm as punishment for religious expression. Let faith build their conscience.
Apart from committing mass murders, kids are becoming so mean to one another, hurting themselves and others out of depression and low-self esteem. Many kids have committed suicide after struggling with their feelings alone. A little godly counsel from a teacher, a friend at school or the school counselor might have made a difference in some of those lives. We need to stop chasing Jesus out of places where people ought to be able to find help and support.
I thank God that religious activities were not banned in the University that I attended because despite being brought up to go to church and obey God, I was not saved until I went to school.