In my blog, I’ve often shared examples of Christians being punished for remaining true to their Biblical beliefs. Just a few weeks ago, we called attention to Christian college students encountering discrimination.
Even more disturbing is that this discrimination is happening to our youngest students. In today’s guest blog, our education analyst, Candi Cushman, gives more detail and explains how you can help. –JD
The right to freely acknowledge and practice one’s faith was a cherished freedom our Founding Fathers were willing to risk their lives to protect. So you’d think that this historical right—and the fact that it’s emphasized in the U.S. Constitution—would be recognized, even celebrated, in our public schools today.
Instead, we are seeing more Christian students being censored.
For instance, how would you feel if…
- Your 5-year-old daughter tells you that the “lunch teacher” stopped her from praying as she bowed her head before eating and told her, “You’re not allowed to pray”? This happened to a family in Florida who later said they decided to pull their child out of the school.
- Your fifth-grade student is told he can’t voluntarily read his Bible during the free-reading period? That happened to Giovanni Rubeo. According to a letter from a legal group (Liberty Institute), when his teacher saw Giovanni reading his Bible, she asked, “What book is that that you are reading?” In response, Giovanni cautiously held up his Bible. The teacher then “demanded, ‘Put it on my desk!’”Later, the teacher “left the following message [on his father’s voice mail] while Giovanni’s peers looked on: ‘I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.’”
- Your high school student is excited to learn he has earned the honor of being class salutatorian. But when he turns in his graduation speech, references to his personal faith in God and the Bible are marked out with a black pen. Yup, that really happened too.
Thankfully, our Christian youth are demonstrating remarkable spiritual courage under pressure. The high school student Brooks Hamby, for instance, turned the challenge into an opportunity to publicly share with his classmates about why it’s important to stand up for your biblical beliefs. Likewise, Giovanni and his father stood up for the religious freedom to read his Bible during free time—and the school eventually agreed.
But still, can we really afford to remain silent while our children receive messages from the culture and their schools that mentions of God and the Bible are tantamount to speaking dirty words? That their beliefs are too shameful to speak about or acknowledge publicly?
Of course not.
There’s good news, though: You can help.
Bring Your Bible to School Day
Focus on the Family is sponsoring a new religious-freedom event through its Day of Dialogue initiative that’s designed to help empower Christian students. The first-ever “Bring Your Bible to School Day” will be celebrated on Oct. 16.
On this day, thousands of students nationwide will voluntarily take their Bibles to school—to celebrate religious freedom and share God’s hope with peers. Help us spread the word by:
- Letting as many Christian students as possible know about this key event by sharing com/BringYourBible so they can sign up to participate and download the free student guide.
- Share the free guide with your church leaders so they can let the youth in their congregation know about the event. You can also direct them to the “For Pastors” section.
By taking these actions you are being part of the solution. We hope “Bring Your Bible to School Day” will help remind our students of their constitutional rights – but more important than that, we hope it will encourage our youth to share their faith.