Spiritual Warfare for Public Schools
Many of the charismatic preachers, particularly those involved in the New Apostolic Reformation, claim that they are in the midst of taking control of the Seven Mountains of society: arts and entertainment, business, the church, education, the family, government and the media, through a mix of political advocacy and spiritual warfare. As Kyle has noted, we have already seen large prayer rallies with “the purpose of swinging elections, ending abortion, fighting marriage equality, converting Muslims, and even launching a presidential campaign,” and there is even a brand new effort to take dominion over Hollywood.
Now, there is a new spiritual warfare effort targeting public schools to bring about the return of government-organized school prayer.
Many Republican politicians and right-wing activists regularly and quite falsely assert that prayer has been outlawed in schools. As K. Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee writes: “Students, too, are free to pray voluntarily at various times of the school day, absent school involvement or disruption to others. There is simply nothing constructive to be gained from official prayer that advances or harms a particular religion. On the contrary, such prayers threaten individual freedom of conscience and violate the First Amendment’s promise of religious liberty for all.”
Brian Barcelona said he started a group called “the Christian Club” in a California public school that grew to hundreds of members and that thanks to his club “teachers have been healed of incurable diseases” and “students no longer have to turn to the counselors for advice.” He calls for students of all faiths to come together under Christianity:
This is a movement that is not about a denomination or a church, but a DEMONSTRATION of the Kingdom of God. Signs, wonders, and miracles have broken out amongst students and teachers alike. Teachers have been healed of incurable diseases, and students no longer turn to the counselors for advice, but the Christian Club for prayer and support.
A movement that doesn’t care if a student is a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Atheist, or anything in between, all are invited to encounter the Love of Jesus and what He has to offer.
He goes on to say that a series of Supreme Court decisions have resulted “in the effective banning of prayer and Bible verse recitation in public schools” and dramatic increases in teen pregnancy, STDs, divorce, cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, violent crimes, abortion rate and a decline in SAT scores.
Of course, if this were true his “Christian Club” and thousands of other clubs in the U.S. would have been shut down. But it’s not and that’s why students are allowed to pray as they choose to, rather than have the government dictate and lead students in organized prayer.
As. Dr. W. Kenneth Williams of the Baptist Joint Committee points out, government-compelled prayer “violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and offends the consciences of those would not choose to participate in the prayers” due to their faith or lack of faith” and “many believers consider watered-downed, generic prayers to be deeply offensive.”
Most of all, Barcelona’s own example proves that students are not prevented from engaging in voluntary prayer, and surely he or others involved in his version of charismatic prayer may find vapid, government-written prayers offensive just as many students may not want to participate in a government-sponsored charismatic prayer.
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