30 June 2010

Three Years and Counting!

It was on this day in 2007 that my wife and I stood before God, family, and friends to begin a life-long covenant between one another. In his grace, we have been blessed beyond our wildest imagining. We have a beautiful daughter, Clare, who just turned 8 months old, and we have a life that brings us great joy.

We've also made it through a lot in those three years... from being robbed (via Spain) on the eve of our wedding to mondo-nasty sunburns on our honeymoon, from our apartment burning down to building our house... and yes, through pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting's early days. Yet, for all the stress that may have been present, God's grace and our love has abounded more and more.

All glory to God for his love shown to us; and, to my wife, all my love to you, and happy anniversary!

29 June 2010

No Pledge for Me

Fox News today ran an article about a school district in Massachussets which does not currently sponsor or mandate a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. You can read the article at this link.

Regular visitors to my blog will note my consistent objection to such displays, going back the decision of Indiana governor Mitch Daniels a few years ago to endorse requiring schools in the state to recite the pledge on a daily basis.

As the district in question in the article rightly notes, the Pledge can offend religious believers and thus, it should not be offered. This logic goes quite well with the barring of prayer, even 'voluntary' prayer in public schools. The state has no more right to offend or impose its beliefs on the children who are in the educational system than they have the right to push a particular religion upon anyone. If voluntary school prayer is illegal, than so must be anything that would infringe on the religious liberty of the students in those chairs. The Pledge of Allegiance is one such offensive activity.

As a parent with a young child, I will be facing, together with my wife, the very difficult decision (much sooner than I think!) of what to do about this matter when my child heads off to school. As much as we talk about the 'voluntary' nature of the Pledge, it is anything but - at least in my experience. If everyone else is doing it (since they pretty much are told they have to), the peer pressure to conform can be overwhelming. It is not unheard of for teachers to discipline students who refuse to participate. I recall that, during my own education, not only was memorization mandatory, but that we were actually tested on being able to recite it, as well as being able to sing the National Anthem, and engage in other patriotic activities. During grammar school, our citizenship grade was based 50/50 on how we treated other students and on how we 'respected' our country.

Nation-states deserve respect only on the merit of the concept of Rule of Law, as established in the Scriptures. The proper respect, according to the Word, is to pray for civil leaders, and to follow all just laws, not to afford the state the kind of devotion that should be reserved for God alone. Today, when I think of standing up, placing my hand over my heart, and 'pledging allegiance' to the flag and to the Repubic 'for which it stands', I realize that I was giving the kind of profession of faith in America that I should have reserved for God alone.

So, to this school district, I say "Kudos!", as I at the same time hope that others will follow suit.

All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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