This week's edition of "The 3" points to a legal challenge to a ban of a religious musical piece from a graduation ceremony. Also, a number of parents were concerned about the political implications of the President's speech to school children this week. Plus, the 8th Anniversary of 9/11 brought a number of prayer-related events and services.
3 - "Ave Maria" ban upheld
A Washington school district ruled out a performance of the musical piece, "Ave Maria" from a 2006 graduation there. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the school district's decision was constitutional. USA Today had this report.
In his dissent, Judge Milan Smith, saying the ruling violated the students' rights to free expression, cautioned the taking of excessive measures and highlighted the rich tradition of religious music in America. Here is the San Francisco Chronicle's report.
This is still another example where the courts' interpretation of the constitution limits the free expression of religion that is guaranteed by the First Amendment. In this case, the school district took an extreme act of attempting to limit such expression, fearing a backlash if the performance was allowed. Unfortunately, there are quite a few public officials these days that would rather risk stifling students' rights than to allow constitutional religious expression. A number of Christian legal organizations offer clarification on such matters; now, it's important that information is disseminated.
2 - School kids' message stirs concern
As CitizenLink reported, President Obama made a speech to children in schools across America this past Tuesday. There was some initial concern about the content of the speech, based on the Department of Education's lesson plans that had been posted on the Internet. There were districts across America, responding to the concerns of parents, that did not allow the message to be seen. And, there were a number of parents who did not allow their kids to view the webcast.
The curriculum had been revised, focusing less on how students could serve the President, and more on taking responsibility for staying in school and following their dreams. But, with an Administration that has made national service a priority, and with legislation that could lead to mandatory service to the government, parents can be none too careful.
Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family Action came on The Meeting House on Friday to discuss that speech, as well as his "Stoplight" video coinciding with it. There was also discussion of the President's health care speech on Wednesday night. It can be downloaded from www.meetinghouseonline.info/download. You can view his "Stoplight", entitled, "Critical Thinking", at www.citizenlink.org.
1 - 9/11 anniversary marked by prayer and other activity
This past Friday represented the 8th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, which took the lives of over 2,700 people. The attacks themselves motivated Christians to be in prayer for our nations, and the commemoration continues to be an occasion for prayer and remembrance. The Awakening America Alliance organized its Cry Out America gatherings, and the Presidential Prayer Team hosted an online event. Information on prayer initiatives surrounding 9/11 can be found at The Christian Post.
Also, the evening of September 11th, author and journalist Joel Rosenberg was featured on a webcast coinciding with the DVD release of "Inside the Revolution". The purpose of the program, which was scheduled to be viewed in over 600 churches across the U.S., was to call attention to the rise of Islamic terrorism and its threat to Israel and the world, and to encourage Christians to support Israel, following the Scriptural admonition to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
More information can be found at www.insidetherevolution.org. The "townhall" event can be downloaded from that website, as well.
"The Nines" brings Christian leaders to the Internet for 9 hours of 9-minute messages on 9/9/09
Christian music rocks Orlando at 2 theme parks