According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend close to $23 billion dollars on back-to-school purchases this year. When college is included – outfitting the dorm room, buying the smart phone, etc. – that figure jumps to an incredible $68.8 billion.
Those are big numbers, but boiling it down to you and me, the average family will spend just over $600 this fall on school-related items. Given such a significant sum, it would seem wise, whenever possible, to not only competitively shop, but also frequent stores that show respect for people of the Christian faith.
Citizenlink’s Tom Minnery reports:
My colleague Stuart Shepard was in Walmart® last weekend shopping for back-to-school supplies for his son when he encountered some rather provocatively Christian notebooks and folders. One of them read: “God Recycles. He made you out of dust.” Another read: “John 3:16. This message is illegal in 53 countries.”
Usually when we report on Christian expression in the public schools, it has to do with some official trying to kick religion out of school. But when the country’s largest retailer stocks school supplies with openly religious messages like this, we regard it as a pleasant change.
Such messages are perfectly legal and they conform with court rulings that give wide latitude to students who want to express religious views in public schools. Many times teachers have the mistaken impression that anything religious is not allowed in school, and they make on-the-spot decisions that religious items need to go. They are wrong. Some school boards have even adopted official policies that inhibit student-initiated religious expression. But these policies also are inconsistent with what the relevant laws actually say.
As many of you know, Focus on the Family has invested considerable resources in several initiatives that are designed to help parents and students get a strong handle on how to legally express their faith and beliefs in the public schools. I would encourage you to learn more about True Tolerance and the Day of Dialogue .
And it’s always a good idea to let the executives at your favorite stores know how much you appreciate them conducting their business in a way that both accommodates and respects people of faith.