My home County of Giles has been in the news lately. It seems that a local parent…no wait that’s not right. Let’s start at the very beginning.
In the aftermath of the Columbine shooting in 1999, a local pastor in Giles County proposed the posting of both the Constitution and the Ten Commandments on school walls. This was done and they’ve been hanging there ever since. Well, at least until December. In 2004 a student said she complained to the school board, but her complaints were dismissed. Then in December of 2010, the Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter saying that the County schools were in violation of the Constitution. The school board complied and removed the displays.
The community went, for lack of a better term, ballistic. A few hundred citizens showed up at the next school board meeting to protest. The school board replaced the displays. Along with that dozens, if not hundreds of students, started displaying the Commandments on their lockers.
Ironically, the first “parent” that complained and sought the aid of the Wisconsin group did not, in fact, have a child in the school system. So the complaint was withdrawn.
Enter the ACLU who found parents willing to file another complaint. As long as they remained anonymous.
Way to stand up for your convictions. Or to use what I’m sure they’d deem as offensive terminology, way to hide your little light under a bushel basket.
This morning based on advice from legal counsel, the school board once again directed that the displays be removed rather than face a costly Supreme Court challenge.
I doubt that the community thinks this is over.
You see, Giles is a small county in Southwest Virginia with about 17,000 residents. Much the same as when I lived there. When I grew up, I had Bible classes in the classroom my 4th grade year. Those who didn’t want to participate went elsewhere in the school. Today the County runs a Bible bus to take students to those classes if they desire. All through high school just before lunch someone, a student, would come on the public address system to offer a blessing. We prayed before football games, before graduation and before many other events. It was just a part of who we were, and who the community is to this day.
Yet to prove a point a handful of people, who won’t even reveal their names, have indicated that the display of the Ten Commandments was offensive and a violation of their rights.
Bless. Their. Hearts.
I know where the courts will come down on a case like this. I just happen to disagree.
No, I’m neither a lawyer nor a Constitutional scholar. It’s just my opinion, so spare me the lectures.
But I also believe that God is neither surprised or particularly offended with this action. After all, He knew all along that this would happen.
And the bottom line is, that it doesn’t change anything.
God remains God. Truth remains truth. The Ten Commandments and Judeo-Christian values played a strong part in the formation of this Country and our system of law.
Removing them from the walls of our schools doesn’t change that any more than the President’s selective editing of the Declaration of Independence implies that our rights were not “endowed by our Creator.”
And it doesn’t change the truth of these basic, eternal tenets:
The Ten Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
Words we could all learn to live by.
Lynn R. Mitchell: The Ten Commandments