Serving the community since 1922

EDITOR'S NOTE: God, where art thou?

When my grandparents were in school, prayer was a regular part of the school day. But little by little, God has seemed to be squeezed out of the school system. I do agree with people who say that they shouldn’t be required to pray if it is not part of their lives. There are many different religions, belief systems and cultures in the United States, and I think that all of them have a right to practice their religion, as long as it doesn’t impede on someone else’s rights or beliefs.

I covered a story a few months ago in which a number of graves at the Shafter Cemetery had been vandalized. When questioned, an officer at the Shafter Police Department said that it was a case of someone practicing their religion.

Well, it turned out that it was a case of vandalism because it caused harm and involved people who did not believe or practice that religion.

For Christians, we have fought hard to keep our children, and now our grandchildren, God-fearing, loving people. But, it seems that more and more, we are fighting against entities that we never thought we would have to fight against, such as our schools.

Recently, Mayor Chad Givens was barred from speaking at a commencement ceremony at GROW Academy because he refused to remove a reference to scripture that he had included in his speech. It was a wonderful speech that was both inspiring and encouraging.

There is no telling how many parents and students missed out on hearing this speech that would have loved it. I don’t think that the inclusion of the scripture in any way offends anyone or forces a certain belief on anyone else.

It is amusing when I think of the many times I have covered events at the elementary schools and the high schools in which there were mentions of different beliefs and cultures, “preaching” an attitude of tolerance and acceptance. At this year’s Richland Junior High graduation ceremony, Cain Maldonado not only quoted a Bible verse, he also spoke at least a paragraph of how God had created their children, and he even quoted,” God created you for a purpose and made you in His own image.” And this was an eighth grade graduation, same as GROW’s, but so much different in that respect.

I am not against tolerance or acceptance, but it really seems hypocritical when agencies or groups champion for freedom of speech, but only if they are speaking for their cause.

I applaud Givens for his decision to stand up for his beliefs and taking a stand for it.

Jamie Stewart is editor of The Shafter Press. The opinions expressed here are his own, and may not reflect those of the paper or its management.


Reader Comments(0)