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Oklahoma Mandates Teaching the Bible in Public Schools

April 30th, 1789 George Washington's Inaugural Bible was open to Genesis 49

On Thursday, June 28th a memorandum issued by the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ryan Walters, stated that all Oklahoma schools are to incorporate the Bible and the Ten Commandments into their curriculum. "It is crystal clear to us that in Oklahoma academic standards under Title 70 on multiple occasions , the Bible is a necessary historical document to teach our kids about the history of this country, to have a complete understanding of Western civilization, and to have an understanding of the basis of our legal system," Walters said. Every classroom in the state from grades 5-12 must have a Bible and all teachers must teach from the Bible in the classroom. A similar law passed on June 19th in Louisiana required all public schools in the state to display the Ten Commandments. A group of Louisiana parents and civil rights organizations are suing the state over first amendment issues and a violation of Supreme Court precedent.

That loud noise you hear are all the ACLU lawyers sharpening their pencils to get ready to pounce on the state of Oklahoma to overturn this decision. "True religious freedom means ensuring that no one religious group is allowed to impose their viewpoint on all Americans. The vast majority of people of faith in this country reject these dangerous, intimidating efforts to force a Christian nationalist agenda into our schools, our courts and our government," stated Interfaith Alliance, a national organization that seeks to protect religious freedoms. 

First, we have a Constitution that protects our religious freedoms and has done so for over 200 years, we don't need the Interfaith Alliance to do so for us. Secondly, they have set up a straw man to attack. No one is forcing a Christian nationalist agenda onto the public schools. What Oklahoma is doing is trying to teach history without leaving out the influence of the Bible on western civilization and to the foundation of our republic. These are facts and truths that like it or not are indisputable. To rail against it, obfuscate the truths, that should be passed down to each generation, is dangerous. We will lose our purpose and the ties that bind us together as Americans. Truth is worth fighting for.

We Are Already Gone

Ever since Beverly Heights left the UPC, I have taken a great deal of interest in following in the news of other mainline denominational issues. Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptists, Presbyterians and all the various off-shoots of each are struggling or have struggled with the same issues we have and are now. Here we are, once again, in a similar position with the EPC.

Liberal Protestantism began in the 18th. century out of a perceived need to adapt Christianity to a modern intellectual context. With the acceptance of Darwins Theory of Evolution and Enlightenment philosophy, we have ushered into the church a demand for new ways of thinking about the relationship between religion, culture and science. By the early 1960's mainline churches had reached a zenith in growth, membership and the long slow decline had begun and continues to this day. The proud protestant tradition that was instrumental in the founding of our country, its laws and the fabric of our constitutional republic, has been lost. Church bells ringing on Sunday mornings have been replaced by rainbow flags in front of empty cathedrals whose stained glass windows use to rattle with the preaching of the Word of God and the singing of hymns. There are many reasons cited for this decline. I would contend that the rejection by the church of Scripture as God's Word, as His external calling to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is paramount to its decline.

Where have the leaders of the EPC been, while this history has been playing out before their eyes? Have they had their heads in the sand and now that they have surfaced, what do they see? They see racism in the church, they see "white privilege," Critical Race Theory and future rainbow flags flying in front of their EPC churches? They must be thinking, "Shouldn't we be woke like our brothers and sisters in the Mainline Churches?" I see history repeating itself.

We cannot leave this broken denomination fast enough. For the past year and a half we have seen their true colors exposed and it isn't pretty. They have been dishonest, rude, conniving, and unjust in their dealings with our congregation. Even after signing an agreement in front of a Judge they have tried to renege on it. How about letting your yes be yes, and your no be no? (Matthew 5:27)

I have been to several Presbytery meetings and I walked away from each shaking my head in disgust with how things were being run and presented. The only movement out of its members besides raising hands to vote in agreement with the leadership, was the thundering herd when L-U-N-C-H  T-I-M-E was announced.

Well, I heard some people talkin' just the other day
And they said you were gonna put our church out on a shelf
But let me tell you I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out it's true
And then you'll have to eat your L-U-N-C-H all by yourself
'Cause we're already gone! (Eagles, Already Gone,1974)

Memorial Day 2024

Sfc. Randall D. Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sfc. Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicoper during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sfc. Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sfc. Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sfc. Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sfc. Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sfc. Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sfc. Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while travelling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sfc. Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. Sfc. Shughart's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

The above is the official citation for Randy Shughart's posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor he earned deployed with Task Force Ranger, 3 October 1993. You may know of the battle from the movie Blackhawk down. It was to be a snatch and grab of two highly valued targets by Delta force operators. Army Rangers provided on ground cover for the Delta operators, while they assaulted the building to capture the targets. They were all dropped on the target by fast roping from helicopters to surround the building.The attack involved 19 aircraft , twelve vehicles and 160 men. What could go wrong? The answer, EVERYTHING! At 3:32 pm they launched the attack in broad daylight right into the center of the Warlord's stronghold. It was like poking a hornets nest. The streets soon filled up with AK and RPG toting, hyped up khat chewing militia, shielded by non-combatants. The streets were barricaded so that vehicles intended for egress from the target site were blocked so they couldn't evacuate. The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) made up of 101st Airborne were likewise blockaded out. Two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down by RPG's (rocket propelled grenades) and quickly surrounded. Survivors of the crash were in an intense firefight with the odds stacked against them. This is when Randy and another sniper volunteered to be dropped into one of the crash sites to help. They had to fight their way in and then fought valiantly to hold off the enemy. When they ran out of ammunition they succumbed to enemy fire. The pilot was captured and later released into US custody.

To date there have been 3,460 Medal of Honor winners, 378 of whom are from Pennsylvania. The first MOH was awarded from the Civil War. Randy Shughart was form Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Never forget Sfc, Randy Shughart sacrifice. 

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