You know those funny or poignant pictures or sayings that come up in your Facebook feed. I believe they are called memes. I am 5 months shy of my 40th birthday. Being on the other side of a generation gap is a strange feeling. The social environment is so different than 25 years ago. But social media is the new temple square so here I am.
I mention memes or clickbait, that even sounds dirty to me, because I wonder how to process that with what Jesus says in Matthew 6: 5-8. By posting a picture of snoopy dancing, talking about how we are saved and I am urged to say Amen, am I doing this to be seen. Am I typing because I really feel like shouting out an amen or am I typing amen because I feel I would look bad if I didn’t.
I follow many Christian pages on Facebook and many of the memes I find uplifting. I may say Amen because I sincerely agree with the point. But then they tell me to share. Now by my sharing of that meme to my friends some who are Christians, some who are not am I pushing my religious belief upon them and showing “how good a Christian I am”?
But this blog is not really about memes and Facebook it is about something much more disturbing politics.
Whenever there is prayer in the public sphere, it still makes the remnants of my agnosticism cringe. You have non believers suing towns because they deliver a prayer before council meetings. Now I understand group prayer in church, that is called fellowship. But if you’re praying makes someone uncomfortable, why do you practice it? It is not like you are denying God by not having a prayer.
Sometimes it seems like the religious right are fighting this and trying to put prayer back in school is not for the Glory of God but for the pride of man. It is like they are thinking. “How dare these atheists stop us from having a prayer at a pride rally before a football game. We will show them. They can’t do this to us.”
Don’t get me wrong, there have been many times schools go to extremes in the other direction. If a child is praying before he or she is eating. Do not stop the child. You do not have that right. If a group of children want to pray before a football game and they are all believers, don’t stop them. If a child wears a cross or has a shirt that says “Jesus saves” don’t send them home.
#1 this is a very bad way to treat a child. As long as the child does not get on the table in the lunchroom and starts evangelizing and disturbing the other students so they can’t eat in peace you have no right to interfere with their practice of their religion. n.h
#2 the first amendment is a two way street, Public school teachers cannot advocate a faith nor can they stifle it.
If you have Christian prayers before any state, county, city function. You must by law allow other faiths to do the same. Atheists doing this seem weird to me. By definition atheists do not have any faith, so how can you say an invocation. And Satanists, I am sorry, but it seems the reason why you are doing what you are doing is just a middle finger to the establishment.
I am an evangelical Christian and I believe that Satan as a force exists. I just believe he is most likely to be in a meeting on capital hill or a corporate boardroom.
My point is that when you want to have organized prayer in a meeting that isn’t 100% consisting of fellow believers. That can be forcing Christianity on people. You share your faith. You don’t force it down someone’s throat. You push something down someone’s throat and they will vomit it up and hate it for maybe the rest of their lives.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.