Survey on Freedom of Religion

The huffingtonpost.com has an article about a man who was fired for praying on the bus he drove and invited students to pray with him. The article states, “School bus driver George Nathaniel III was fired last week for inviting the children on his routes to pray with him each morning, despite being repeatedly asked by his company to stop, reports CBS Local.” The article explains that he is a pastor and he believes that being fired for this was wrong. The man explained that he was not “coercing students into religious observance. Furthermore, he said, “We start out with a song, then each person will pray if they want to pray. If they don’t want to pray, they don’t have to pray. Then I will pray and ask them if they want to join me in prayer. Just give them something constructive and positive to go to school with.” Nathaniel states that this is his right to freedom of religion. “They are trying to take away every right the Christian has to express our Christian belief in this supposed to have been Christian nation.”

After reading this, I asked a group of 10 different people what they thought about it. I asked if they thought what this man was doing was wrong. 4 out of the 10 people said yes, that he violated the First Amendment by having prayer on a public school bus. But then, I asked if they would be upset if it was their child on this school bus. 0 out of the 10 said no. Not one of them would have had a problem with their child praying on the bus before going to school. I asked if they thought this man should be fired. Once again, 0 out of the 10 said no. I asked if they thinks rights of christians, or people of any religion, are being taken away from them. 9 out of 10 said yes. And I agree with this. I feel like slowly things that were once normal and accepted are no longer. Suddenly people have a problem with prayer, and certain things that I do, or that christians do are somehow taking the freedom away from other people. Or somehow I am attacking people with my religion if I pray. And i think this is wrong. In our world 10 years ago, what this man was doing on this bus would not have got him fired. I hate how rapidly people are turning away from God.

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Jesus and Tattoos

In the huffingtonpost.com there is an article that talks about tattoos. The article says, “For many inked individuals, tattoos are a way to commemorate a spiritual journey or a means of expressing one’s internal self. The body becomes the canvas for a diverse array of religious inspiration through this artform.”

Furthermore, “Though cultures and religions differ in their official teachings with regards to tattoos, it’s undeniable that many people find them a meaningful way of expressing their personal faith and spirituality. Judaism and Islam have historically discouraged tattoos, citing scripture and hadith. Others see tattoos as a unique way to evangelize, proudly showing off their faith with their adorned bodies.”

I love tattoos. I think they’re beautiful (most of the time), and can be a great way to tell people about Jesus. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having scripture on your body. I might not do it but I think it’s awesome that people do.

Taking Christ out of Christmas

Todd Starnes wrote an article for foxnews.com says a New Jersey school bans christian music. “The angels will not be allowed to hark their herald nor will the little Lord Jesus sleep on the hay after a New Jersey school district announced a ban on all religious Christmas music. Constance Bauer, the superintendent of the Bordentown Regional School District, posted a message online stating someone had been questioning recent musical selections for the elementary school Christmas concerts.”

“Pardon me, the school district calls them “winter” concerts. Religious music should not be part of the elementary program(s),” Supt. Scrooge wrote in her anti-Christmas screed. So songs about Frosty, Rudolph and mommy making out with Santa Claus are fine, but harmonizing about round yon virgin will get you put on the naughty list.”

And here we are again. People taking Jesus out of anything that they can. Another person taking Christ out of Christmas. This just makes me sad. These kids are going to sing songs about yes, silly, fun things, but they won’t get to sing songs about the person behind Christmas…which is Jesus.

Hillsong

I loved reading this article in huffingtonpost.com by Sarah Pulliam Bailey about Hillsong. She wrote, “The ubiquitous praise song ‘Shout to the Lord’ can be found in many churches across the U.S. on any given Sunday. What fewer people realize is that it comes from a church in the outskirts of Sydney, with a Hillsong brand that is spreading across the globe.”

I love Hillsong United, the band that leads worship at Hillsong. This article was just all about the church, what scandal’s have come out of it, their band, challenges the church has been through, how they fund themselves, and how they are global. Hillsong is all over the world. This church is doing amazing things for the kingdom.

Prayer in Government Meetings?

Lauren Markoe wrote for religiontoday.com saying,In a case that could determine restrictions on expressions of faith in the public square, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (Nov. 6) will consider religious prayers that convene government meetings.”

Holy cow. Why? Just one more thing to bring people away from God. Stuff like this drives me crazy. 

Billy Graham is Ready to Speak

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Colleen Jenkins wrote for the huffingtonpost.com saying, “Evangelist Billy Graham’s voice is softer and his body weaker, but the man who helped transform Christianity in America and counseled U.S. presidents will reach out to the nation on his 95th birthday in an effort to revitalize the church.”

“Graham, who has not preached publicly since 2006 because of frail health, has filmed a public message to air on national television on his Nov. 7 birthday, giving fans a rare and possibly final opportunity to see the man dubbed ‘America’s Pastor.'”

“‘Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening,'” Graham says in a program titled “The Cross.” “With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth.”

I agree with this last statement Graham said. Our country, and this world, need a spiritual awakening. I’m happy Graham is seeing that and wants to speak out about it.

Pastor’s House is Too Big?

An article in huffingtonpost.com states, “Elevation Church’s pastor Steve Furtick came under fire earlier this week for his multi-million dollar mansion, raising questions about his financial profits from the success of his church and subsequent book deals and speaking engagements.”

“In his comments, he thanked God for his blessings and described the big, beautiful house as a gift from God. The Charlotte Observer reports that he told his congregation, “It’s a big house, and it’s a beautiful house, and we thank God for it …. We understand everything we have comes from God.”

I don’t understand why people care about this. If this man has a big house it means he has to be stealing from the church? or doing something wrong. I think that’s wrong…for people to assume bad things about this pastor.

Oprah’s God?

Senior religion editor for thehuffingtonpost.com, Paul Raushenbush, posted that, “Recently two celebrities offered us mirror textbook cases on how not to talk about the belief — or lack thereof — of another.”

“On a show that aired on Oct. 13, Oprah Winfrey hosted Diana Nyad who has recently completed a historic swim from Cuba to Florida. In the now famous exchange, Nyad, who is an atheist explained her beliefs to Oprah:”

I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.

“Well, I don’t call you an atheist then,” Winfrey said. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is. That is what God is. It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

“Oprah came under a heated attack by atheists who thought they deserved an apology for her lack of understanding.”

I think Oprah is completely off base. Believing in God does not mean you believe in the “awe and the wonder and the mystery,” no, that is not God. God is a personal Savior. He sent His son to die for our sins and rose three days later. He’s not a mystery? I think Oprah is confused. You don’t get to say you believe in God because you believe in awe and wonder, that’s not how this relationship works. At all.