Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Yesterday we saw that an implosion begins with a series of explosions, followed by a pause and then a collapse of the structure. Over the last 50 years there have been three explosive decisions by the Supreme Court that have so weakened our nation’s spiritual and social structure that our collapse is inevitable. What are those explosions? We will look at them this week.
Explosion number one is the Supreme Court case of “Engel v. Vitale” in 1962. In this case the Supreme Court determined that students in New York could no longer recite a simple, voluntary prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” This prayer does not appeal to any particular religious belief, yet the Court decided it breached the “wall of separation of church and state.” Now “the separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the US Constitution. As we have seen, it was a phrase Thomas Jefferson used in 1802 in a letter to Baptist pastors, assuring them that America would not establish a state denomination. “The separation of church and state” was never meant as a prohibition against expressions of worship.
That phrase has been twisted and perverted to prohibit any Christian expression of worship in the public square. We have perverted the First Amendment and forget, “Congress shall not prohibit the free exercise of religion.” It’s ironic that the United States Congress begins every session with a prayer. However, in 1970, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that prayer by students in a classroom is unconstitutional. Now is that not absurd?
Five years after the “Engel v. Vitale” decision, the High Court let stand a lower court ruling prohibiting a kindergarten teacher from reciting the following poem: “We thank you for the flowers so sweet. We thank you for the food we eat. We thank you for the birds that sing. We thank you for everything.” Although this poem made no mention of God, the Court said the poem might lead children to think about God, which they declared to be unconstitutional. The “Engel v. Vitale” case cascaded into many other Supreme Court decisions demonstrating hostility toward expressions of faith in the public arena. One year later, in the case of “Abington School District v. Schempp” the Court outlawed the voluntary reading of the Bible by students. This ruling used expert testimony from a psychologist who claimed that reading the Bible without comment could endanger a student’s mental health. Now, compare that to a Supreme Court ruling 170 years earlier in the case of “Vidal v. Girard’s Executors.” In that case the Supreme Court asked, “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When a Nation Implodes – Part 1” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.