In this series, I have brought you many resources showing how the minority of the population is trying to silence the majority-the Christians. So what can you do about it? I have several things to share with you and I hope you take time to check out each of the resources, regardless if you home school or public school. There are ways that each of us can reach out to the kids in schools and reach out in areas where we are being silenced.
1. For kids who attend public school- Have you heard of “See you At The Pole?” Here is a description taken from their website:
What is See You at the Pole™?
See You at the Pole™ is a global movement of prayer which is student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led. It revolves around students praying together on the fourth Wednesday in September, usually before school and usually at the school’s flag pole. It involves student in elementary schools, middle/junior high schools, high schools, and colleges/universities across the globe. Adults often pray in support of the students on campus by gathering nearby, at their places of work or worship, or at city halls.
In 1990, when youth ministers in Texas first challenged young people to meet on a common day to launch their school year in prayer, one of the concerns was how to help those who wanted to pray together find each other. It was noted that virtually every school has a flagpole and the flagpole provided an easy-to-identify place to gather. Also, one issue that the teenagers were praying about was the spiritual health of their country and their leaders, in obedience to 1 Timothy 2:1–2. Hence, the location and name of the event!
See You at the Pole™ was inspired by the initiative of student in one youth group in Burleson, Texas, early in 1990. The teenagers felt led to go and pray at night at several area schools during a weekend youth group retreat. They had a profound time of prayer and their experience was shared with thousands of other youths from across Texas in the form of a challenge in June 1990 at a large conference. More than 56,000 students on 1,200 campuses in Texas and three other states were documented at the first See You at the Pole™ in September of that year. The movement continued to grow nationally and internationally from 1991 and on. For more information, read the See You at the Pole™ history.
The answer to this question is a firm “Yes!” The right of students to gather and pray outside of instructional time—while at school—is clearly a Constitutionally protected form of free speech. This has been affirmed in regard to “Equal Access Clubs” by the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Westside Community Schools v. Mergens. In 1995, President Bill Clinton directed then Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, to prepare guidelines for what the government deemed “appropriate religious expression on school grounds.” These guidelines were issued and upheld by the government several times since. In them, See You at the Pole™ is specifically named as legal, appropriate, and protected:
“Students may also participate in before or after school events with religious content, such as “see you at the flag pole” gatherings, on the same terms as they may participate in other non-curriculum activities on school premises. School officials may neither discourage nor encourage participation in such an event.”
It should be noted that among the legal groups which affirmed the legality of See You at the Pole™ by drafting the US Department of Education guidelines were the Christian Legal Society, American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League, National Council of Churches, National Association of Evangelicals and People for the American Way, as well as six others. For a complete list of the Drafting Committee and Endorsing Organizations, contact the National Network of Youth Ministries or call (858) 451-1111.
If students who are praying are told by someone from the administration (or otherwise in authority at the school) to stop praying during See You at the Pole™, we recommend that you obey that authority and move your prayer time off campus. See You at the Pole™ is about praying, not arguing about your legal rights. You may want to bring a parent, youth worker, or other adult with you to speak to the authority later. If necessary, you may want to contact a legal group who can clarify your rights for the school official.
Students of all ages—as young as preschool and elementary age through students on college and university campuses—have been the primary participants of See You at the Pole™. The largest groups have been at middle/junior high schools and high schools. Teachers and administrators have prayed for students at the same time in their own groups. We have had reports of adults meeting at retirement homes, military bases, corporate headquarters for multinational corporations, and elsewhere on six continents to participate in See You at the Pole™. Clearly, we believe God is honored by united prayer for people and the world He created and loves.
A second part of this question is, “Who should participate on school grounds?” There are at least two aspects to the answer to this questions—bear with me!
On the one hand, it is plain that God has honored the initiative of students who are concerned for their school to initiate, plan, and lead See You at the Pole™. This is all about young people, desperate for God, inviting Him to intervene and make “His kingdom come” among their friends, in their communities, and in our nation. We need to honor how God has led the movement to grow. The laws of the land also protect the legal rights of students to express their faith without adult control. While concerned adults should support students by praying for them, we recommend that they do not actively participate, and especially not lead, See You at the Pole™ gatherings on school grounds.
The other side of this issue is whether adults—including school employees—have a legal right to pray with students at See You at the Pole™, since the prayer time meets outside instructional time. The American Center for Law and Justice wrote this legal opinion about adult participation:
Can parents, and/or adults, participate in events such as See You at the Pole™?
Yes, with reservations. Schools have policies concerning visitors on campus. As long as those policies are not discriminatory against religious people they should be complied with. For example, most school officials require that visitors check in before they enter the campus. Even though See You at the Pole™ is before school and usually outside, it is important for adults, even parents, to follow the policies set up by school officials. School officials have a legitimate interest in knowing who is on their campus at any given time. Because of the early hour of See You at the Pole™, it may be necessary for you to notify school officials the day before. If school officials permit visitors they should also permit you to enter the campus and participate in See You at the Pole™.
Can teachers and administrators participate in events such as See You at the Pole™?
This is perhaps the most complicated of all the issues we have dealt with. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that teachers do not shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse gate. Since that time, however, courts have been reluctant if not resistant to state what rights teachers have on campus. The problem is on e of endorsement. Teachers are authority figures on their school campuses. They have specific official responsibilities; because of those responsibilities, students often view teachers as agents of the state. What this means is that students view teachers as government officials. Therefore, when a teacher participates in events such as See You at the Pole™, it is possible for student to confuse a teacher or administrator’s personal speech with their official speech.
In order to determine if a teacher has a right to participate in events such as See You at the Pole™ then, we must evaluate several areas. At what time of day is the event occurring? If it is during what is known as “noncontract time,” it is possible that the teacher could participate without violating the constitution. What role is the teacher or administrator attempting to take in the event? If the teacher is merely showing up to observe the event, it could be constitutional.
On the other hand, if the teacher is leading the prayer, or participating in the prayer, it could violate the constitution.
If you need more information or have further questions about legal issues related to participating on campus, contact The American Center for Law and Justice or one of these other public law interest groups.
There is no sponsor for See You at the Pole™. The students at each school initiate and lead this event. A student-led Christian club, Equal Access club, or other recognized organization on campus may choose to make See You at the Pole™ an “official activity” of their club.
At the same time, it is important for concerned adults to support and encourage the student leaders of See You at the Pole™. Many have stepped up to do so. A diverse mix of approximately 100 church denominations, nonprofit ministries, and other organizations are listed as “Supporting Ministries” who promote, endorse, or otherwise support See You at the Pole™.
Among these groups, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. owns the trademark for the See You at the Pole™ name and event. Student Discipleship Ministries in Burleson, Texas, creates and distributes the promotional materials, videos, etc. The San Diego-based National Network of Youth Ministries coordinates the promotion and media relations.
In keeping with the student-led nature of See You at the Pole™, it is important for students to prayerfully plan how they will use the time during their See You at the Pole™ gathering. In fact, the event itself was born in a time of prayer by one youth group that dared to follow God’s leading to pray for their schools.
Many gatherings have included student-led worship, Bible reading, prayer in large ad small groups, and even a message by a student leader. Most have placed a high value on participation by those attending. Some have decided that 7 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday in September did not work best for them—Australian youth meet in May, which is the beginning of their fall term, and others choose a more convenient time, according to what works best for them. Whenever you meet, be sure to let others know!
Check out this video on “See you at the pole” :
2. For Moms of Public School kids: Have you heard of “Moms in Prayer?”
It is a wonderful organization. When we lived in MD I was blessed to be able to attend a PWOC conference, during the conference I was able to attend a workshop put on by Moms in Prayer. Yes, even as a homeschool parent, I do like to keep up on the schools and also, I am ALWAYS praying for the students and staff! I also like to have resources to pass along to my friends who have children in public schools. Moms in Prayer is one I would highly recommend. So what is it? Click HERE to check out the history and HERE for their fact sheet. Moms In Prayer is their main website. You may want to begin a chapter at your school!
3. Since I posted in part 1 about this state limiting kids from having a Bible club I have had to ponder and pray about how, other then the above mentioned resources can kids be reached here. I also asked my friend Reina who has 4 wonderful Christian kiddos who all go to public school. She said to make sure you are getting to know your neighbors, homeschoolers this means you too :). You can make a huge impact by inviting other kids into your home. There you are free to share your beliefs kids. Be the mom everyone wants to hang out with and feed their souls as well as their bodies! Having your homeschool kiddo involved with activities outside of school. For instance our kids are involved in Tae Kwon Do and while it is hard to share Bible verses on the mat, you can show the kids a Christian attitude and as you get to know the kids, you can share your faith as well.
4. As for Christ being taken out of the schools, kids getting in trouble of silly kid things like eating a pop tart into the shape of a gun, singing Christmas Carols with religious words, telling kids they cannot have a Bible at school and the list goes on…..STAND UP for JESUS. Stop allowing the minority to silence the MAJORITY! Christians if your kids are in school…speak up and SPEAK LOUD!!! Let your voice be heard.
5. Start a Bible Club at your local school: This is a GREAT thing for a homeschool mom or a public school either one to do! As a homeschool mom I am always looking for ways to get my kids involved in the community. What a perfect opportunity. There are Good News Clubs ALL over the country and they are legal. Personally, from what I have heard about the clubs back in my home state, my friends children LOVE them! I know of several who this year alone have been saved through the Good News Clubs at schools. Click HERE for more information how to get involved or even start your own club!
6. In situations like with Pastor Saeed, you may thing it is hopeless and there is nothing you can do. My friends there is a lot we can do! Do you blog? You can use that as a voice! If you do not blog or even if you do, have you called your representatives and voiced your concern of Pastor Saeed? Have you wrote letters on his behalf? Have you tweeted and face booked about him? Do not be silent! Stand up for someone who cannot stand up for himself right now, be his voice. Do not let him be forgotten.
7. As a military wife I have been left speechless many times at how certain ones are trying to silence Christians. I have been on my knees a lot this last year as it seems there is constantly something on the news regarding this. Thankfully, it seems that publicity-negative publicity in this case is helping to keep this to a minimum for now. This will not be forever though so what can you do? First of all pray. Pray for our military who sacrifice each day to give us freedom, freedom that should not be taken from them. Pray that the ones who are trying so desperately to yank freedoms away, in the name of tolerance, will be stopped. Pray for the military serving who are Christians to stand firm in their faith and not back down. Do not be silenced! Speak LOUDLY no matter the cost! I have heard stories of Christians this year getting in trouble that serve for their beliefs, folks and military who may read this…we have to be prepared no matter what it costs us to STAND FIRM in the word of God and not to waiver at any cost. I know it can be scary and in the military when those articles are waived in our face we tend to hide: do not hide your faith. Do not hide your beliefs. YELL and YELL loudly. Remember the lashings Jesus took for us? Can what we have to suffer be any worse then his torture, for all of us?
My friends those are just a few ways that we an stand firm and be “intentional” when the world wants us to be politically correct. I would love to hear from you on any suggestions you have to not hide your light under a bush, but to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
“As soon as a child is capable of being lost, [he] is capable of being saved.” – C.H. Spurgeon