But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:17-18
Henry M. Jackson High School in Everett, Washington, believes in separation of church and state.
And the superintendent of that school really believes in the separation of church and state.
That's why, when some seniors asked to play "Ave Maria" at their 2006 graduation, the superintendent said, "No. Graduation should be a strictly secular service."
Separation of church and state, you know.
When the seniors said, "But this is not the Ave Maria everybody knows," they were still told, "No!"
When the seniors protested: "But there are no words being sung to this tune!" the answer remained a definite, "No!"
The case was taken to court, and the court also said "No."
One of the judges said the title of the song alone was enough to make him say, "No."
Other judges, more or less, agreed.
When I heard that verdict, three things occurred to me:
1. How far will the state go in its burning desire to erase religion from the lives of the young?
2. The seniors should have asked to play "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." That way, when they went to court, they could have made a case they were only playing a beer-hall tune. (The story goes that Luther based the hymn on a familiar drinking tune.)
3. I'm going to have to pray a lot more for the younger generation. I'm going to have to pray they be given the courage to be faithful when the world says to them, as it did to the first disciples, do not "speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus," so they may they do the right thing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, today I pray for a nation that feels it can, without repercussion or consequence, erase You from the lives of its citizenry. May these leaders see how much they really need Your grace. I also pray for the young of our country who will be paying the price for this anti-God attitude. Lord, grant courage, commitment, and faith to these our children and grandchildren. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries