(Tim) The joys of serving Church of the Good Shepherd are all around me, day by day, and my heart is constantly thankful to God for this privilege. Just one of my recent joys was reading the following statement written by several of our high school students a week and a half ago in anticipation of being ready to respond to the pro homosexual immorality Day of Silence held at our two public high schools each year on April 17th (last Friday):
By sending His son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins He has taken the punishment on Himself. If we trust and believe in Him, and give up our sins He is faithful to deliver us from the captivity of sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed…in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
But then, this past Thursday (April 16th), the students were informed they would not be allowed to hand this statement out to anyone on school premises the next day because it was "judgmental," "demeaning" of gays, and would violate the "separation of church and state" required by the U.S. Constitution. (Yes, that was what the administrator actually said.)
In the hallway after school the next day (which was the Day of Silence), two of our students handed out five to ten small sheets of paper with the above text printed on them. One of the school's administrators confiscated the papers almost immediately, telling the boys that they would be disciplined "later."
This week we've had several meetings with administrators to discuss the First Amendment in connection with our students' statement being barred from the high school campus. Preparing for those meetings, we came across the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969). After reading this decision, I thought how grateful I am to live in a country that could give rise to such an excellent opinion. It's very easy to understand and you'll not soon forget its content which one day soon may well come in useful for you or your children, also.
May I suggest you print out a copy and ask the students of your congregation to read it, afterwards leading them and others in a discussion of it? Neither you nor they will be disappointed.
And while you're at it, give it to the leaders of your youth group, parents, elders, and everyone else. This is stuff worth knowing and being able to quote in defense of our liberties and consciences.
Freedom doesn't defend itself. The Apostle Paul knew his rights as a Roman citizen, and when the time was right, he used them.