"Americans United" Oppose Posting of Historical Documents
In an article headlined, "American Heritage' Bill Appearing in States"1, Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned that "legislation that would permit public schools to post historical documents with religious references and passages from the Congressional Record is making headway in some states."
The bill, which has passed the House and Senate in Illinois and was pending before Gov. Jim Edgar at the time of the article's writing, would permit schools to post passages from the Mayflower Compact, proclamations of the Founding Fathers and other "historically significant" documents.
True to form, Americans United has expressed opposition to the legislation as "a backdoor effort to promote religion in public school." In a March 29 letter to Edgar encouraging him to veto the bill, AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn wrote, "This bill is a cleverly disguised attempt to display and promote religious information in the public schools. The bill's sponsors and the floor debates in the assembly clearly show that the intent for this legislation is to allow for unconstitutional religious teachings and proselytization. This bill would therefore cause parents who object to religious teachings to go to court in order to stop these religious practices."
The "American Heritage Bill" has also been considered in Mississippi, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and Washington.
Editor's Note: Teaching students, using primary historical documents, that our history is inherently religious, is forbidden only in the radical world view of those who despise truth. Americans United wants to be seen as a protector of the institutions of our civilization, but such actions as this belie their claim. The prickly alertness of AU does not protect our young people, it robs them of the opportunity to be exposed to truth. It is a fanatical notion that the Bible is dangerous, and our own historical documents are subversive. While there certainly is a great threat to our form of government, I submit that it is not the Bible and our documents that pose that threat. Perhaps AU should be renamed Americans United for Separation of Citizens and Sanity.
1 From Church and State, May, 1996, p. 3.
Teen Says NBC Behaves Badly
The following is a great example of one teen taking a stand when the entertainment culture conflicted with her values. It originally appeared as a letter to the editors of USA TODAY (9/16/96) and demonstrates what other teens might consider doing when this fall's TV line-up crosses a line.
"The idea behind NBC's new fall show, Men Behaving Badly, is to point out the brainlessness and stupidity of the male species.
The previews openly demonstrate the incapability of a man to communicate without being bribed by food or drink. His marriage exists only because his wife is sympathetic, but somebody has to keep this caveman company.
Is it just me, or does something seem wrong here? As far as I have observed — as a teenager — my parents' relationship is nothing like that. If the men on that show are supposed to be role models for men, may God have pity on their children. My father doesn't come close to being half as senseless as the men on that show.
If the roles were reversed, and the show were entitled, Women Behaving Badly, women's rights activist groups would be throwing around so many lawsuits it wouldn't be funny.
But of course, this is all in "good humor" and in the name of "equal rights." Rights? Did someone mention rights? What right do the producers of Men Behaving Badly have to portray the men of America as empty-headed idiots who are willing to be led blindly by their "independent" wives?
What right do they have to send the message to children that it is perfectly fine to think their fathers are dumber than a box of rocks?
Whose rights are being trampled now?"
From Entertainment Today, Weekly Fax report
Comfort Amidst Disaster
May 11 was a day that chaplains pray will never come. As news of the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 spread through Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, chaplain Denny Spear wondered how he would be able to comfort the families and friends anxious for information. But God had a ministry team — mostly laypeople — already at work.
Spear reflects: "I was admitted through a jostling crowd of reporters into a room — busy, yet stilled by caring people reaching out to families and friends awaiting detailed news of the crash. A minister from another city was present. He had been awaiting a change of flights and, hearing of the tragedy, had volunteered his help.
"News was scarce where we were. Nothing certain could be known of survivors. Airline employees, and others of us, stood with the confused until more could be known.
"There was little time in that room to think through what was occurring. I was only aware of the bereaved, feeling the caring of the employees and wondering how we could best help each other.
"Only later did it become clear to me that I had been among fellow Christians. I saw them bringing their faith to the scene of human need amidst disaster. The bereaved, the employees, and I as chaplain, were observing God at work in, through and beyond us."
From MissionsUSA magazine.
"Houston, We Have a Problem."
Driving through inner-city Houston, Ginger Smith's parents saw run-down neighborhoods, bars on windows, prostitutes seeking customers, youth walking aimlessly through the streets. Not a place for a young woman. Certainly not a place for their daughter. So their decision was final. No way were they going to let their child go to Houston to live for a summer.
Weeks earlier, Ginger had received her summer missions assignment and immediately began envisioning working with home missionary Mildred McWhorter. Ministering to children. Teaching Bible studies. Feeding the hungry. Her parents, however, were hesitant and went to see for themselves the place she would serve.
"I talked with Mildred, and she was so encouraging," says Smith. "But my parents had said 'no', so it looked as though I would be doing something else that summer."
But, while passing through Louisiana on a trip, McWhorter made a special effort to stop and talk with Smith's parents. "Your daughter will be as safe in Houston as she will anywhere," she said. "The kids are used to seeing young people like Ginger at the Centers. They'll know she's there to help." Confident of McWhorter's judgment, Smith's parents relented.
Smith went to Houston, and there she learned what love meant. "One day, some children came running up to me, saying 'I love you,' and I realized it was because I had loved them first," says Smith. "I couldn't preach or sing, but I could love. And that's what I did. I knew that inner-city missions was the place for me."
Recently, McWhorter took another trip — this time to watch Smith commissioned as a home missionary. Smith now serves as case manager at Brantley Baptist Center in the inner city of New Orleans.
From MissionsUSA magazine
Copenhagen Residents Welcome New Testaments
Half a million copies of the New Testament in Danish were given away — one each to about 98 percent of the households in Copenhagen — in an effort timed to coincide with the celebration of the Danish capital's role as 1996 European Cultural Capital.
Some of the leaders of the event had predicted that 10 to 20 percent of Copenhagen's households would refuse to accept a free copy of the New Testament. Morten Aagaard, general secretary of the Danish Bible Society, said those predictions were made during the project's planning stages, "but in fact we have just found out that only one or two percent of the households said 'No thanks'. Because of that, we had to print an extra 30,000 copies."
"You know, you can call your cable company and tell them to block out a channel. We have kids aged 2 and 4, and we block out MTV." – Dana Carvey, actor best known for his role in Wayne's World and Saturday Night Live (Parade 4/21/96)
From Entertainment Today, Weekly Fax report