"It's A Wonderful Town"
February 21, 2012
(The LORD said) "My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold." Jeremiah 50:6
In the 1940s, Frank Sinatra made a song popular. That song begins this way: "New York, New York, it's a wonderful town; the Bronx is up but the Battery's down."
As far as I can tell, the Bronx and Battery are still as described, but I'm no longer convinced that New York is a "wonderful town."
Here's the problem: New York rents school space to hundreds of organizations, including dozens of churches. For budding congregations, for financially strapped churches, for denominations deciding where to place a parish, renting space from the city has always been a blessing.
Sadly, the City of New York feels this is a violation of church and state. That's why, since 1985, they have been trying to get these churches out of the schools. Last year, a federal court agreed with New York and now the Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from those churches.
Simply stated, the churches are being turned out.
Ms. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, "... freedom for a church to take over a school and convert it to a house of worship is not what our Constitution stands for."
I wonder what the courts and Ms. Lieberman would say if, next election day, all the churches which are used for voting would decree, "freedom for the government to take over a church hall and convert it to a polling place is not what our Constitution stands for."
My friends, the truth is this: buildings don't get converted. For a church to rent an unused school building for a few hours on a Sunday doesn't change the complexion of that building. The children won't come in on Monday and say, "Ooohhh, I feel strange vibrations; there must have been a cross in here."
How sad. Once again political-correctness-gone-amuck has had its way, and a relationship which has been beneficial to everyone is over. Once again it appears that "Their shepherds have led them astray. They have forgotten their fold."
All the more reason for us, who have been washed in the Savior's blood, to lift up our nation in prayer. Let God's people let Him know there are still some who remember His help and handiwork.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are places in this richly blessed country which don't want You. Send Your Holy Spirit to change those hearts. Let them realize what You have done and still do for us as a country, for us as individuals. May the story of the Savior's life, death and resurrection be openly shared everywhere. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries