Raising the White Flag
The banner hung in the gymnasium at Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, for 49 years before Jessica Ahlquist came along. A 16-year-old self-described atheist since age 10, Jessica took offense and sued for its removal. Predictably, the American Civil Liberties Union pressed the case, and on January 11 U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux ordered the banner removed.
Miss Ahlquist, who hadn’t noticed the wall-hanging until a friend pointed it out during her freshman year, said it made her feel ostracized and excluded. Here is how it read:
Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire to do our best,
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others.
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.
Teach us the value of true friendship.
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
The banner was a gift to the school from its first graduating class in 1963, and for nearly 50 years it offered students a menu of admirable aspirations no one found objectionable. Indeed, who could disapprove of the lofty moral, intellectual, and social ideals it upheld? No one—until a single student took umbrage to the words Our Heavenly Father and Amen.
And that is where the battle lines are formed. America is at war within, and the final consequences of this conflict will far outweigh any military or political contests currently confronting the nation. A war on God is raging. One by one, decisions being made around the country are surrendering this once great land to radical, militant minorities that rally their attack forces in liberal courtrooms to push their no-God-left-standing agenda.
Retreat or Surrender
Leading the retreat from traditional American values are people whom the Bible calls “blind guides,” egotists so clueless they “strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (Mt. 23:24). They believe no sacrifice is too great when trying to placate those annoyed with their existence.
The latest among them are the producers of new Bible translations claiming to be “Muslim friendly.” Their idea is to enhance Muslim-Christian relations by altering or eliminating terminology Islamists find distasteful. References to God as “Father” and to Jesus as “Son” or “Son of God” are reportedly being excised. Joel Richardson of WND (formerly WorldNetDaily), an independent news company, reported,
According to [Joshua] Lingel, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, the crisis in translation methodology is largely due to “a postmodern literary bias” that has crept into some translation circles in recent decades. Such translations would seem to demand that the divine author of the Bible change rather than the Muslim reader.1
“That the divine author of the Bible change rather than the Muslim reader” is the sticking point, a concession that will generate more contempt than compatibility. To believe that changing biblical terminology will promote harmony between the religions is either an incredible display of naiveté or a blatant disrespect for the sanctity of God’s Word.
Though many Muslims may wish to live in peace alongside Christians, the essential tenets of Islam eliminate that possibility. Islam is a triumphalist religion; it is not a compliant, pluralist denomination as we are accustomed to in America. The dream of Islamist purists is to make America and the West Sharia-(Muslim law)compliant and transform democracies into Muslim-dominated societies. No amount of cajoling or compromise will alter that fact.
A church leader in Bangladesh reportedly believes one of the problems with Muslim-friendly translations is they enhance the Muslim argument that Christians are liars who change their Bibles only to deceive Muslims.
Also at issue is the rise of a syncretic religion, Chrislam, in America. Born in Africa during the 1980s, the heretical movement proposes a union between Christianity and Islam that will put the Qur’an alongside Bibles in church pews and promote the teachings of Muhammad, as well as Christianity, from pulpits. Serious questions are being raised about the size and growth of Chrislam and the problems it will bring.
These leaps into a world of emasculated Christianity are examples of surrendering to expedience. We are mainstreaming dissident minorities at the expense of eternal values, and we will reap eternal consequences.
In a world devoid of absolutes, particularly regarding divine authority, the path of least resistance may seem reasonable. That path is inherent in the culture created by the radical religious “liberators” of the 1920s. Typical of Bible-hostile Protestant theologians was Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878–1969) who opined from his New York City pulpit in May 1922 that belief in the virgin birth was nonessential, the inerrancy of Scripture was not credible, and the literal Second Coming of Christ was outmoded.
Ecumenical conclaves were notable for sidetracking or forsaking essentials in favor of a convictionless harmony that accomplished little more than to record irrelevant opinions. Unfortunately, the consequence of spiritual leaders becoming militant, “religious,” agnostic secularists is devastating. In America it has opened the gates to a revolution that tolerates every radical eruption from the “God is dead” folly to today’s all-out war to expunge God’s name from every aspect of American life. Caught in the middle of this unbridled, hateful, anti-God fury are Bible-believing Christians—now being tagged as radical, dangerous purveyors of bigotry and divisiveness.
Two years ago I wrote about a cross that had stood in the Mojave Desert in the western part of the United States for more than 70 years. (See “The Cross in the Desert” in the January/February 2010 issue.) The Veterans of Foreign Wars had erected the memorial in 1934 as a tribute to veterans of World War I. But when someone objected to the cross being on public land, a federal court of appeals ruled in 2004 that it had to come down.
The matter went to the U.S. Supreme Court; and until the court overturned the ruling, the cross was boxed to keep it out of sight. It seemed eerily ironic that the Cranston High banner was also ordered covered while school officials decided whether to appeal. Imagine the effrontery. Because of the bigotry of two people—a high school student and a desert-drive-by atheist—symbols revered by millions of American Christians for nearly 250 years, as well as by Christians everywhere for two millennia, had to be covered and hidden from sight. The insult is obvious. Yet outrage over such trampling of sacred values is virtually nonexistent.
Compare the reaction to the deliberate desecration of God’s name here in America with the events in Afghanistan in February. The inadvertent burning of Qur’ans fueled an Islamic firestorm that led to murder and may-hem in the streets. Our Lord and His Book have brought Christians to a higher standard: compassion, mercy, and reasonable tolerance toward those who differ with us. However, there are limits to how long this will be the case if the crusade to dismantle our sacred heritage continues. The future doesn’t look promising. And we will do well to remember that once God is displaced, the inevitable result is chaos.
The Divine Caveat
Scripture tells us and history repeatedly demonstrates God is long-suffering. But it also warns us He is not long-suffering forever. You cannot make war with the sovereign Creator and win. The greatest of human errors is to believe independence from God will bring a better world.
The mood among dissenters might best be described as Babelesque. In the tower of Babel incident recorded in Genesis 11, the ancients made a calculated decision to go it alone and create a society forged on human independence, man-made religion, and humanly crafted self-sufficiency. It didn’t take God long to obliterate their efforts and leave them with the unhappy consequences.
In reality, all God deniers have ridden the wave of that philosophy. They believe in a sham Shangri-la that is merely a delusional declaration of independence and a one-way ticket to catastrophe.
How far things will go before God exercises His prerogative to set things right is anybody’s guess. But given today’s exploding tyranny of the minority, we may soon find out.
- Joel Richardson, “New Bible Yanks ‘Father,’ Jesus as ‘Son of God,’” January 30, 2012 <wnd.com/2012/01/new-bible-yanks-father-jesus-as-son-of-god>.