Lyrics to “We Want America Back”

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As in the Steeles song from about six or so years back. Can anyone send them (the lyrics, not the Steeles themselves, please) to me or point me to the place online where they are? For some reason, my Google skills are letting me down on this one.

Update: This will sound unbelievable perhaps, but it didn’t occur to me until several hours after I posted the original entry here that bringing up the Steeles’ quasi-political activist lyrics was coming amid an intensely fought election. I was working on something totally unrelated to election day, needed some help with lyrics and in the process inadvertently brought Election 2006 to avfl. No problem, really, so long as things remain civil, of course. I’ll have a few more words to say about “We Want America Back” a bit later today or tomorrow. Until then, cry or celebrate as your political inclination dictates as this morning’s sweeping Democratic victories come into fuller view.

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  1. Lacey wrote:

    Hey, found these on a website. I’m not sure if it’s all there but it looked like it.

    We Want America Back!!!
    by Jeff R. Steele
    Stanza #1:
    Something is wrong with America.
    She once held the Bible as her conscience and guide.
    But we’ve allowed those who hold nothing to be sacred,
    Like Sodom of old, to push morals aside.
    Where are the men who once stood for right?
    And the women who championed their cause?
    We must return to the values we lost,
    Before this country we love is totally lost.
    We want America back.
    We want America back,
    From those who have no self-control,
    We want America back.
    This nation is like a runaway train,
    Headed down the wrong track,
    It’s time for the army of God to arise,
    And say we want America back.

    Narrative to be used (before singing Stanza#2):
    I love America. But I do not love what she has become.
    Our children are asked to attend public schools that in many cases resemble war zones,
    without even the most basic right of any soldier…the right to pray to the God of heaven.
    Many times a wild-eyed, drug-addicted, gun-carrying teenager is allowed to stay in school,
    while our Supreme Court decided to expel God from the classroom over thirty years ago.
    Something is wrong. Television daily bombards the senses of our nation with the idea that wrong is right,
    that the abnormal is normal, that the abhorrent is acceptable, and that what God calls an abomination is
    nothing more than an alternate life-style. And it’s had an effect. Thirty years ago, the number one television
    program in America was “The Andy Griffith Show.” Look what we have today. Something is wrong.
    When our government can pass out contraceptives to children is school with out parental consent,
    and yet the Gideons can no longer pass out the Bible on campus…something is wrong.
    When our leaders can tell your children and mine that premarital sex is alright as long as it’s safe…yes…
    something is wrong. And I for one am ready for a change. I will say to my government, “I’m not raising
    dogs at my house; I’m raising children…created in the image and likeness of almighty God.
    And I’m going to teach them the Bible. If the Bible says it’s right…it’s right.
    And if the Bible says it’s wrong…it’s wrong.”
    The only hope that America has is that Godly men and women will stand together as one might army and
    declare to the immoral, the impure, the obscene and the foul,
    “Your days of unlimited access the minds of America are over.
    The army of God, that has been silent for too long, is taking America back!”

    We want America back.
    We want America back,
    From those who have no self-control,
    We want America back.
    This nation is like a runaway train,
    Headed down the wrong track,
    It’s time for the army of God to arise,
    And say we want America back.
    It’s time for the army of God to arise,
    And say we want America back!!

    Credits: “The Steeles”.
    Author of Lyrics: Jeff Steele.

  2. Tara wrote:

    I can’t hear/read this song without my blood pressure going through the roof. As one of those….Heaven Forbid!…Christian Democrat all i hear when i listen to this song and the Jeff “talkie” part in the middle is a slam at me that i am pretty much going to Hell. Oh wait, I suddenly remember why i drifted away from Southern Gospel music. Anyway, lets hope you can shed some light on this classic :).

  3. Dean Adkins wrote:

    What Tara said!!!!

  4. Chris wrote:

    …and to think, my buddy and I used to get in trouble for playing a chihuahua barking in the background during the “I’m not raising dogs…” part when we’d play this on the radio. Ah, talk about Precious Memories…..

  5. RF wrote:

    Ah, yes. The angry Christian determined to be against everything that doesn’t fit their own value system. AS if the government should mandate Christianity…or our own special band. Regardless, that’s what made the United States special in the beginning–the right for everyone to think and believe they way we wanted whether or not I agreed with them. What a concept lost in the mirage of blue and red states.

    America is what you get with total freedom. I don’t have to like it, but I have to respect this country for what it is. If we wanted a society that mandated what we did at every turn, it wouldn’t be America. That’s what’s missing from that song or what some call a song.

    I hadn’t heard this for a long time and I certainly hope it’s a lot longer before I ever hear it again.

  6. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    I’ll admit that Jeff’s song may be a little overzealous but once again I have been reminded why our country has been on a downhill spiral for the past 40 years. It’s because Christians are voting for their financial gain and government handouts over moral issues. They make the age old mistake that these issues don’t matter but like a frog in a pot they don’t realize what they’ve lost until it’s gone. My faith was so ridiculed and looked down on in the public schools of the 70’s (imagine what it’s like now) that I determined that my children would not be subjected to the pressure. Four are graduated from Christian school (two more to go) and I couldn’t be prouder.

    I’m not advocating that the government should mandate Christianity, that would create a utopia and Heaven is yet to come, but they SHOULD mandate right over wrong. Doesn’t the scripture say that when the righteous rule, there is peace? Guess some people don’t care if they have it or not. Check out the rest of the world and observe what happens when other religions rule. Stark contrast. I still choose America, thank you.

    The issues mentioned in this song are:

    Prayer not allowed in school
    Homosexuality is ok
    Free condoms and promotion of safe sex
    (aren’t you surprised that abortion isn’t in the mix?)

    If you don’t have a problem with the above then I can see why the lyrics would disturb you. Otherwise you may want to switch to a party that reflects what you believe.

  7. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    May I direct you to this news piece titled, Ted Haggard: Lessons For Christian Leaders .

    Enough said!

  8. jb wrote:

    Amen to Jim Davis…. If you profess to be a Chrisitian, why wouldn’t you want Prayer back in school and the other “hog-wash” taken out. I don’t want my kids or grandkids taught that homo-sexuality is alright or this “if it feels good” mentality. And Tara, why would your blood pressure go through the roof. This song is about Christian morals. It is not my favorite song, but, the words should be what is on the heart of all Christians today.

  9. Elisabeth wrote:

    Okay…i just have to post on here. I am a very conservative Holiness Pentecostal 20-yr-old, and I graduated from a Christian school, a fact of which I am proud. I spent one year in public school (5th grade) because my mother was unable to work & supplement my dad’s income enough to make school payments. When I hear people saying “Put prayer back in schools,” it raises MY blood pressure. Do you really want your children/grandchildren subjected to the kind of prayers that many teachers, administrators, etc. would lead? Let me remind you that prayer, per se, has gone nowhere. Students can still pray, and many do. What is not allowed is teachers, administrators, etc. leading the prayers as a school activity for all students. I for one thank God that this is so…I do not wish for my little cousins to be subjected to Buddhist, Hindu, New Age, and any & all other kinds of prayers their teachers may embrace…no matter how intolerant that may sound. Okay, blood pressure is calming. Thanks for letting me vent!

  10. dkd wrote:

    Good post Elisabeth! You sound more mature than 20 yrs. I remember when I was in Junior high school (public) and we had prayer every morning along with the Pledge of Allegience. That was back in the days before it was Politically incorrect to do so. At that time there was never an issue with either the prayer or the pledge and it was just everyday life. Our innocence and naivete
    are now a thing of the past and our kid’s and grandkid’s have to worry about issue’s and situations that did not apply back in the “Good Old Days”. That said, I agree that I really do not want a teacher or administrator leading a prayer
    that may or may not be in line with my or my family’s belief’s.

  11. Tara wrote:

    This song make my blood boil because I personally don’t want the America that Jeff Steele sings about. I don’t think that Politics and religion should be mixed. A person can’t do their best in political office when religious organizations are breathing down their necks. The thing that makes this country so great is the fact that I can have any religion I want and practice it without fear of being punished by the government. If i want to go down the street and worship a garbage can, I can do that. As a Christian, I believe one simple thing…and that’s that God loves everyone. God loves the murderer, the hypocrite, the criminal, the girl that had an abortion, and here is a shocker for you, he even loves your gay next door neighbor. Imagine that. A God that loves everyone, no matter what. He opens his arms and says welcome home. So if you don’t think i’m moral enough, or Christian enough…you can join the long list of Southern Gospel people who believe the same. Thank God, you aren’t the gate keeper to Heaven.

    And Thank God somebody in the country agrees that being a Christian and a Democrat is OK! :)

  12. Lacey wrote:

    I remember getting tired of this song fast when it came out, but that might have had something to do with it’s style or tone. However, I think there is one line in this song that everyone should agree on, no matter if you like or agree with this song or not. “If the Bible says it’s right…it’s right.
    And if the Bible says it’s wrong…it’s wrong.” I went to a Christian school from first grade on because my brothers, who were teenagers when I started school, begged my mom to get them out of the public school and this was in the early 80’s. But don’t think everything was sunshine and roses just because it was a Christian school, all the kids were still human and so were the teachers and I didn’t always agree with them. I agree with Elisabeth that staff lead prayer in public schools would probably be a bad thing since there is no telling what those prayers would be or to who. BUT I do have a problem when students themselves are prohibited from praying or reading their Bibles on school grounds because it might offend someone who doesn’t believe the way they do.
    If you believe that the Bible is talking about sex when it talks about a man and his wife “becoming one”, then that should tell you all you need to know to reason out the problems with having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse. How many people can you really become “one” with before you’ve really spliced yourself up majorly?
    Tara, I don’t see anything up there that says that God doesn’t love homosexuals. I know He does, just like He loves everyone, no matter what. Perhaps you are seeing something stated that I am not. My logic based opinion on the subject is this, the Bible states that sex outside of marriage is fornication and it is wrong. Several states just passed bills to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. So unless you live someplace that homosexual marriage is legal, it seems to me that homosexual sex would be just as wrong as straight sex outside of marriage. No matter if you happen to believe that homosexuality is an “abomination” or an “alternate lifestyle” there is still that pesky fornication issue to deal with when it comes to the actual sex of the matter.

  13. shanjenkins wrote:

    I am a Christian Republican who thinks that Tara makes a great point. Although I am conservative in my beliefs, they are just that…MY beliefs. I will not push them on anyone else. I will teach my children and try to influence them with what I believe. But, I do not want some teacher or administrator teaching that to them. And, I certainly don’t want the government teaching or mandating anything that has to do with religion. And, yes, I do believe that God loves all of those people that Tara mentioned…whether I agree with their lifestyle or not! Thank God none of us are the gatekeepers to Heaven.

    btw - Whatever happened to The Steeles? I couldn’t even find a current website for them the other day. Did self-righteousness get the best of them?

  14. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    That is one of the lamest excuses for banning prayer that I have ever heard. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and there wasn’t a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim anywhere wanting to pray in our schools. This was a clever scare tactic dreamed up by a lunatic atheist woman that all the “mature” Christians swallowed hook line and sinker. Very similar to the argument that abortion should be legalized because of all the women who have been raped when in actuality it represented a very tiny percentage of the demand for abortions. It’s simply the classic scenario of a few loudmouth minorities oppressing a hoodwinked silent majority. The supreme court had no business sticking their nose where it didn’t belong. This was a local issue that should have been determined by parents and administrations of each individual school.

    Taking second breath…

    So…now that you got your way and prayer has been omitted from education, please write a song (Jeff needs a rebuttal to put him in his self-righteous place) about our wonderful schools and how godly our children are now.
    No, Susie isn’t reciting the pledge and praying over her lunch - she’s praying her Dad and Mom don’t find out that the nurse took her to abort their first grandchild during geometry.

    I have the common sense to know that removal of prayer isn’t the sole cause of all the problems in our schools but if you have studied history, you will have to admit it was the first domino.

  15. shanjenkins wrote:

    “We want America back.” Well, in my opinion it was never “ours” to begin with. If you believe that this country was founded on TRUE freedom…freedom of religion included…then you can’t believe that it ever belonged to one religious group. Maybe I was a little harsh in calling the Steeles self-righteous…but, there’s also a difference in condemning and showing God’s love. For some reason, I just feel like the song is so condemning and judgemental. That’s just my observation.

  16. Damon from KY wrote:

    Unfortunately, I live in a community where the local SG radio station thinks this song is still fresh and plays it all the time. I will admit that I do not share the general political viewpoint of the song, but the bigger problem I have is the dishonesty and hyperbole that undercuts any credibility the speaker might otherwise have. Examples:
    1. Many schools resemble war zones? One or two violent incidents in the whole country each year hardly support this.
    2. Children do not have the basic right to pray to God? Every child has a constitutional right to pray and that has NEVER been denied.
    3. The gun-carrying teenager is allowed to stay in school? I challenge the author to show me a school where a student who brings a gun to school is not expelled.
    4. The Supreme Court decided to expel God from the classroom? This one burns me up every time I hear it. Is the argument that God is so limited that He is not present in the schools now? Keeping a teacher from leading her class in a formal prayer is hardly expelling Almighty God from the school.
    5. Not raising dogs? That’s just incredibly offensive.

  17. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Don’t forget their other classic “For the Sake of the Children”.

  18. Lacey wrote:

    Ok, just to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Respectfully Jim E. Davis, this isn’t the 60’s and 70’s anymore. The average college student graduating with a teaching degree this year is probably 22 or 23 years old. Which means that they were born in the early 80’s and were teenagers in the late 90’s. While some of these new teachers would be capable of saying a manditory prayer to begin each school day, what of the one’s that aren’t or would object to being told to say a prayer? What would be the point of having a person that doesn’t believe that there is a God at all say a prayer to Him? Or perhaps they believe there is a God and SHE is pretty cool. What if they believe that THEY are God and want the students to pray to them? What if there was a school where none of the teachers or staff were Christians? Who would give the manditory prayer then and to what or who? Do I believe that prayer should be ALLOWED in schools? Yes, on a voluntary basis by those who choose to do so. Do I believe that there are some people that push the issue of separation of church and state to the point of Christianity being banned from schools while other religions or beliefs are allowed? Yes, of course, even if you claim to not believe in something, that nonbelief IS what you believe. Which is why politics and religion will always be mixed in someway or another. Do I believe that in a society that allows freedom of religion one person’s right to practice their faith is going to bump up against someone else’s and cause friction? Oh Yeah! I also believe that the loudest and most persistant voice gets heard, no matter if they are right or in the majority. Which is why I believe that if Christians really believe that their rights are being intruded upon, then it is their responsiblity to make their voices heard in a manner that doesn’t give fuel to the fire of the popular idea that Christians are crazy. And then they need to give thanks at all times that they live in a country where they still have that right and aren’t being hunted down and imprisoned. It isn’t any mystery to me why I’ve always heard that the church age we live in is the one described in Revelations as “lukewarm”. We want to complain about our rights being imposed upon but we don’t generally care enough to do anything about it most of the time.
    But then since this is America, these are just my ideas and you don’t have to agree or even read them.

  19. CVH wrote:

    I can appreciate some of the comments that have been posted; some
    constructive, some predictable. Rather than weigh in with another personal opinion, I’d like to direct readers to this article, published in the current issue of The Christian Century. It expresses better than I can what I believe is the mindset of the songwriter as well as those who so stridently defend what it represents.

    Or you may want to read David Kuo’s new book “Tempting Faith”. Both the CC article and his book do an excellent job of framing the conversation. I spoke with him yesterday and the bottom line, as he experienced it, is, you cannot serve two masters. If your faith becomes so wrapped up in political ideology that you cannot separate the two, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.

    Y’all play nice.

  20. Tara wrote:

    I also would like to know what happened to the Steeles. I know they had other songs, but they had a few there for a while that were in this exact same style, like “For the Sake of Our Children.” They would sing and then Jeff would talk in the middle for like 10 minutes, then they would sing again.

    Question: Was “We Want America Back” the song that they sang on The Grand Ole Opry and then the New York Times wrote an article about it?

  21. Elisabeth wrote:

    Once again, I must bring up the point that I tried to emphasize in my first. Jim, prayer has not been banned from public schools. It is the act of administrators LEADING those prayers that has been banned. And while I agree that Buddhist, etc. prayers may have been used as a scare tactic in the 60’s and 70’s, they are VERY REAL today!! Damon from KY, great post! You covered several of my biggest objections to “We Want America Back.” Let me ask an interesting question here, which is basically rhetorical, but just to make you think: “Did ‘we’ ever have it anyway?” Hmm… Another problem I have with the song is the fact that he hold the Andy Griffith Show up as something to be highly esteemed. Don’t get me wrong…there were lots of values, etc. promoted on there. But it’s my understanding that one of the main characters was a homosexual (Jim Nabors?) !! Don’t contradict yourself, man!
    Just to make myself clear, I am all for preserving Christian moral values in America all that we can. Our country was founded on those principles. However, it was also founded on the principle of freedom of religion. I don’t want someone in the future telling me that I have to be Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, etc., so I don’t plan to tell them that they have to be a Christian and agree with me in order to be an American. This is not to say that I accept their religions as valid paths to God…CHRIST is THE way. Okay, enough ranting…interesting discussion, though.

  22. jb wrote:

    There’s alot of “food for thought” here. Some statements have given me another view on things. I was always of the mind that prayer was taken out of schools, however, if it is in your heart, it is never gone. We hit on this a little in Bible study last night at church, another thing that is slowly leaving our churches, but, if we are living and walking with Christ and we put on the armor of God every day, we can firmly stand. Doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted and tried, but, we will be true. Thanks for all the different opinions on here. We all have to search our own hearts, but, as Elizabeth wrote, Christ is the ONLY way. We shouldn’t condemn the Steeles for singing a song that maybe doesn’t fit us. My son is in his 2nd yr. of college and I must say that I was proud of him when he told me recently that they had a debate in class about Christianity. A Jewish boy asked him “I guess you believe in Jesus Christ and are a Christian” to which my son replied “I AM”. Sometimes you don’t have to say much, but, just stand. Our country seems to be in a spin cycle and out of control, but, thanks to God, we can just hold on to him for the ride.

  23. Wayne wrote:

    It should be understood that this nation, while establishing a secular government, is a Christian nation. Nobody should labor under the delusion that this nation is unbiased when it comes to faith. This is and has always been a Christian nation, and Judeo-Christian traditions have shaped every component of the nation’s social and economic structure, and I would argue that it has shaped it for the good of the country, its citizens and the world at large, as much of the world has at one time or another benefited from our generosity, our charity and our goodwill. Even our enemies call upon us in time of desperation, i.e., Iran after the earthquake in Bam. There has been an inestimable amount of charity that has flowed from this nation throughout the world, and it is the Christian underpinnings of this nation’s sensibilities that made that happen. If you do not believe that, do some research on how many hospitals, orphanages, relief organizations and charities that have been built by atheists and secularists.

    True American Christianity does not flow from the top down, as it does with Government funded and imposed denomination preferences. This type of Christianity is vain and superficial. Our Christianity flows from the bottom up, springing from the daily lives of the multitudes that view the teachings of Scripture as the best recipe for building lives, families, communities and nations. These convictions, which govern the lives of so many, are not disqualified from the public square, as many militant secularists would have us to believe. On the contrary, they helped build the public square and helped build the library of our freedom. Therefore, people of all faiths, and even those of no faith, owe a great deal to the consciences of those people of faith that built this great bastion of freedom between the two oceans. American Christians do not wish to silence those who disagree with Christianity, they are just unwilling to allow a minority of secularists to impose their preferences on public square. This is not the removal of the separation clause, it is rather the application of it. For all the bellicose blathering of the song in question, I think this was really the meaning it was trying to convey.

  24. dkd wrote: pretty much said it all in your comments. Kudos to you!

  25. Paul wrote:

    Okay, you guys hate the song, try singing it for 3 years It was a nightly EVENT to sing the song… Enough said… I was the tenor for The Steeles during the “We Want America Back/ For The Sake of the Children” Era. And to answer the previous poster’s question, last I heard, Jeff is pastoring in Alabama.

  26. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Pontificate all you want on the meaning of the word “banned” but the sum of the equation is still the same. Prayer is seldom heard in our institutions of learning. Madeline O’Hare was brilliant to use this argument in her successful crusade 40 years ago. She knew that if the teachers and administration were hushed, the children wouldn’t pray on their own. I know my eight year old son isn’t begging his teacher to have a prayer meeting at recess instead of kickball.

    So…did it stop at prayer? Of course not, one by one we have allowed the traditions and symbols of the Christian faith to be removed from Main Street America including Christmas carols and the Ten Commandments. And it amazes me how many of us can piously stand with the secular humanists yet we scurry our own children down to the nearest Christian School. I say if you make your own bed you ought to sleep in it.

    Yeah, I know. This is all so predictable and repetitious for some. But this highway goes both ways and so is the rhetoric from Elisabeth, Tara and Shane. Nothing new there either. Wayne’s observation was refreshing but I’m sure Avery will open a few more cans soon.

    Yesterday was the funeral for a 13 year old boy who was killed in an after school fight by a 14 year old boy in Fresno (25 miles away). This isn’t LA or NY. These things don’t happen here in the farmland of the USA. (that was for Damon – you can pull your head out of the sand now)

  27. Lacey wrote:

    Jim E. Davis, you are confusing me. Perhaps I misread your post but why would you say to send ANY child to a public school while being so vocal about how bad the schools are without prayer in them and criticize parents who “scurry their children down to the nearest Christian school”? Are you just condemning those parents for being hypocrites or are you condemning yourself with them or what? Did you really say that their innocent children should be condemned to pay for their parent’s “sins” and not be allowed to go to a Christian school? Are you saying that in a quest to turn the local public school INTO the local Christian school by adding prayer back to the classroom, present students should just look with hope to the time in 25-50 years when everything is all better and not be allowed any alternatives now? Do you honestly think that there really is a chance that the standard prayer that was listed in the article in CVH’s post or one like it will EVER be put back in public schools in the world we are living in NOW? Somehow I can’t see that change happening and your statement about “beds and sleeping in them” is very puzzling to me.
    I went to Christian schools all the way from first grade to graduation and I never remember begging my teacher to have a prayer meeting at recess. But as the saying goes, as long as there are tests, there WILL be prayer in schools. I honestly don’t remember anything about any prayers that were said to begin each day at school and they weren’t the “prefab” variety. The prayers I DO remember are the ones my mom would pray with us kids on the way to school everyday. Those prayers I can almost hear. I guess that’s why I figure it’s more of the parent’s responsibility to begin each day with prayer with their children, not a PUBLIC school that’s purpose is to just to provide a basic education, not religious training. (Even if the decision to pray and teach the “Christian” God did happen, whose denomination would He be? Trust me, it would be brought up. I ran into the “if you aren’t Southern Baptist, you aren’t right” with the kids at my school even though it was not affiliated with any church.)
    I am thankful that I got to go to Christian schools. It was not heaven on earth and we even had a boy expelled for bringing a gun to school to show his friends. They were full of human kids that made mistakes but I loved my schools most of the time. I liked the fact that I could take 4 years of Biblical studies as electives in high school, plus Bible class and Chapel every week, in addition to all my “normal” subjects. If I ever have children I will probably send them to a Christian school. Some of my friends plan on home schooling their children and using curriculum from Christian sources. I guess I kind of view it in the same way as choosing to go to a Christian college instead of a secular one, even if you aren’t studying to be a preacher. If you believe the verse “train up a child in the way he should go…” why not as a Christian parent send your children to a Christian school? I don’t see it as a “political” decision to make at all. I admire those Christian teachers and staff working in public schools. I hope their light shines bright where they are because I know that not everyone can afford a private school or is able to home school. But if someone is able to do better, why callously make their children “sleep in a bed of fleas” to pay for the irresponsibility of all the nation’s believers or their own failure to rank high enough on the point scale of taking action against all moral decline?
    Somehow I’m a little shocked at your statement.

  28. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    You misread the post. Hell will freeze over before prayer would ever be brought back into the public school like it was from 1776 until 1962. I’m aware that it would be a useless and costly battle to reverse that ruling. I’m only advocating that Christians should have never allowed it to happen. In congress it only takes 51% to have a majority but less than 10% can dictate how we run our public schools. By the time we realized the mistake the public schools had rewritten the history books and indoctrinated a whole generation.

    The majority of Americans are Christian and the public schools should reflect that. If that offends the atheists then they should exercise their freedom and form their own schools. As it is now, the majority is forced to exercise this same freedom thus spawning the huge and ever growing Christian and home school movement. I might add that it means so much to them that they gladly pay the bill along with their taxes to pay for public education also – but that’s another subject!

    I totally believe in Christian education and my six children will all graduate from our local Christian school. We can’t go back and change yesterday but we can do something about today. Lines have to be drawn somewhere and there are skirmishes in our courts right now that we can influence when we go to the polls. In Friday’s headlines, student leaders in a college on the west coast have tossed out the pledge of allegiance saying that it is uneccessary to pledge to a God or a country that they don’t believe in. These are the leaders of tomorrow. Will they fight for the freedom that 10,000 men gave their life to preserve in one day on Normandy Beach? I seriously doubt it – they don’t believe in it.

    America is great because of its Judao-Christian foundation. So to answer an earlier question, yes, America was “ours”. One only has to walk around Washington DC for a few hours or pull out a piece of currency to know that God and the Bible was everywhere in our government. If we continue the current trend we will join the European nations who went down this trail years ago. Frankly, I’m not impressed with the results. Great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

    The shame is that we are not united - therefore we lose.

  29. Elisabeth wrote:

    Interesting points made by both Lacey & Jim…as i’ve said earlier, I, too, graduated from a Christian school, and I am attending a Christian university with plans to graduate in May. So, I can appreciate and identify with the comments made along those lines.

    As I have read this discussion thread over the last week or so, it has brought to my mind the dilemma that I have pondered often. How do I reconcile my appreciation for our country’s Christian heritage with my appreciation for our country’s freedom of religion? To some, this may seem a simple question to answer; for me, it is more difficult. While I firmly stand against the beliefs and doctrines of those of other religions and even denominations, I do not feel a right or compulsion to force my beliefs on them. Didn’t work too well in the Crusades, and I doubt it works too well today. I agree that it seems that teachers’ religious rights are infringed upon when they are told they cannot pray with students, lead devotions, etc.; however, they are not merely their own persons when they walk through the school doors. They are representatives of their state and board of education, whose adoption of a particular brand of religion would be discriminatory at best.

    Does any of this resonate with any of you? As I’ve said, I’m just 20, and I’m trying to feel out what I believe about these things; discussions such as these help me to see different sides of the issues. Thanks for posting and getting your viewpoint out there, whichever “side” you’re on. Thanks also, Doug, for letting us take up space here & providing the kind of site that encourages such conversation. Keep up the good work!

  30. SM wrote:

    More food for thought.

  31. shanjenkins wrote:

    Elisabeth, you are not alone. It is not an easy thing for me to reconcile either. I think we have to respect everyone’s freedom if we are to truly have a free country. In an earlier post, I said that this country was not “ours” to begin with. I think it depends on how you look at it. We are and always have been considered a Christian nation because Christians are the majority, not because our government mandates Christianity. When government begins mandating prayers and religion, it seems to me that it becomes a dictatorship no better than Communist Russia or Nazi Germany. There is no freedom there. We all know that our forefathers started this country to get away from being told how to worship. So, if it is true that their vision was freedom of religion only if you worshipped their God, then it seems to me that this great country of ours may have been built on a lie. I don’t want that to be true, but maybe it is. I believe I live in a great country, don’t get me wrong. I guess my question is…Were our forefathers so firmly based in Christianity that they could not even envision a future where some would not accept their religion? When they said “freedom of religion” did they mean “as long as you believe in our God then you are free to worship Him however you wish?” Did they really mean to open this freedom up to Atheists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.? I don’t know the answer to these questions. That’s why I’m asking. I have done a little research on some of our forefathers, and I know that not all of them were the great Christian men they are sometimes portrayed as today. I also know that several of them had some skeletons in their closets that would certainly make for some HUGE scandals in the Southern Gospel industry. I guess some things never change.

  32. CVH wrote:

    To Jim Davis:

    Jim, I have read your posts with interest. I’m wondering though if you read the article in the Christian Century that I linked to my post (#19) above. It addresses a number of the points you make and I’d just be curious to know your reaction to it.

    Honestly, all I’ve seen you post is variations on the same tired old arguments; the kind of rhetoric that only prolongs a conversation, it doesn’t help to lead it anywhere constructive. This website/blog is usually blessed with somewhat more inspired dialogue…care to engage?

  33. shanjenkins wrote:

    CVH, wow, what a great article. I had not read that yet. Thanks for the post.

  34. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    I did indeed go to the website and I found it to be the same tired old arguments that only serve to prolong the discussion. No surprise that the first attack would be on the credentials of the author. Good thing Jesus didn’t inspect the backgrounds of Peter, James and John. They were a nice addition to the New Testament.

    It all boils down to who you choose to believe. I always lean toward the truth and commandments of the scripture. Sometimes the truth can be construed as tired and old but it still remains as constant as the law of gravity. You get the same results every time you jump off the Empire state building. Boring but true.

    If you want to go one step farther then I will identify what I believe to be the problem. “Public Schools” are really not public. They don’t belong to the community because they receive their marching orders from the federal government. Learning is not just a process of opening books - teachers and administration play an enormous part of the education process. Their influence cannot be squelched whether they are Christian, Muslim or atheist. I believe education should be given back to the people and let the schools be accountable to the community. This will result in true freedom of choice in education. The Christians school enrollment would increase to reflect the percentage of the population who would desire a Christian education for their children and yet the rest of the population will still have the opportunity of a school without influence of religion. Each institution can hire teachers who reflect the philosophy of the school. Parents, teachers and students would all be happy.

    Our Christian School is 30 years old now and an established educational icon in our community. They have fought for this freedom over the years which required the intervention of lawyers several times. There’s no going back for them anymore than there is a return to prayer for the public schools. So, there has to be compromise between the church and the government to solve the dilemma.

    To make these drastic changes would be a monumental task but how long will we throw money at a defunct system that keeps on producing failure after failure? What amazes me the most is the apathy of Christians when it comes to their children’s education. If all Christians would remove their children from the system, then the government would be forced to correct the problem. Sadly, this will probably never happen because we want our kids to play sports, be cheerleaders and have prominence in society. Life is all about choices and our selection process not only determines the quality of our own life but the lives of the next generation as well.

  35. Damon from KY wrote:

    Jim, I really appreciate your input. I know you speak for many Christians and I do value your opinion. Here’s a couple of areas where my opinion differs:
    1. It’s a convenient argument to say that the moral degradation of society (which I doubt any of us would question) is related to the banning of teacher-led prayer in school. The last 40 years have seen sweeping changes in technology and culture, far beyond the bounds of America. Would MTV exist if not for the SCT’s decision? Would the values of the European countries (where you say you would not want to live) have stayed across the Atlantic? Would the internet/chat/emails be only in non-Christian homes? My point is two-fold: 1) the sources of moral decay are vast and cannot all be attributed to that one event (and may not be related in any way to that event), and 2)
    the idea that a Christian teacher will lead a theologically-acceptable prayer to a classroom of eager public school students without opposition in 2006 is a little naive. Look at the statistics on how many public school teachers are under the age of 35 and then look at the stats on the religious beliefs (not just the religion’s title) of that age group. The earlier post that talked about not wanting kids to be exposed to non-Christian prayers is valid. Even if the teacher goes to a Christian church, there is a very good chance that his/her beliefs are far from what you would approve of, Jim.
    2. Like Elisabeth, I wonder about the balance between respectful of others while embracing our country’s Christian heritage. In the end, I think our founders knew what they were doing. They were Christians and they voluntarily created a nation where they could be free to worship. When writing the documents that still frame our laws today, though, they refrained from allowing any form of organized state-sanctioned religion. As society has grown more diverse both in religion and culture, this restraint seems appropriate. If a 30-student classroom has 16 Christians and 14 Jews, should the state-employed teacher be permitted to boldly bless the day “in Jesus’ name”. Jim would seem to say “Yes”, but that actually strikes me as closer to what the founders fled than what they created.

  36. Lacey wrote:

    Ok, Jim E. Davis, you mentioned Christians’ tax money being used to fund public schools. Am I correct in thinking that you believe that that is not right considering the condition the schools are in these days? Ok, how about this? There are many people in this country that do not have children. Why should their tax dollars be used for schools? They aren’t using this service, just like the Christian parent who sends their children to a private school. Taxes are used for many, many things that some of us will never have any use for or probably wouldn’t agree is a good use of the money. So what should be done? While it is said that you should vote on Election Day for the people that you believe will be the best leaders, how much does that really change anything? Maybe we should each demand that each of our tax dollars be used only for the things we agree with or use and not other things? Perhaps at the beginning of each year the government can send us each a bill for the amount of our taxes and a list of the things we would like to fund and we could just choose. If you don’t drive, there is no need to fund maintaining the roads. If you are a man then there is no need to fund any research on female health issues and the same goes for women. The list could go on and on and on.
    So if control of the schools was turned back over to the communities, would that mean that each school would only be funded by local money? Because you can bet if the federal government is not in control they aren’t going to be sending any money. So if the federal government was not a part at all would that also mean that there were no set national requirements when it came to education? Not that I agree with the present situation of teachers having to teach to pass a certain test but having no set requirements could cause a lot of problems too. Somehow I see problems with this “solution”.
    I do not believe that if all Christians removed their children from public schools the government would do anything much really. They’d probably just use that surplus tax money to give themselves a pay raise! But that would depend on all Christian parents being able to afford to do it.
    Don’t get me wrong. I know there is a problem. But which solution would really realistically work? Who knows!?! All I know is that I am enjoying this discussion.

  37. Matt wrote:

    I agree that there are Christian Democrats and Republicans. To suggest that one party owns the Bible or faith is ignorant and wrong. The best way to allow all children, of all faiths, to begin their morning in prayer is with a voluntary moment of silence. Public schools are financed through taxes taken from everyone, Christian…Muslim….atheist, etc and to suggest that we can mandate our religion to others is just not realistic.

    I believe in public schools and think that children are worth fighting for. I was educated in private schools but would not do the same with my children.

  38. Lauren wrote:

    Matt…only you would tell me to check out a blog at 2am!! AMEN TARA, I am proud to be a Democrat and I am proud of my faith in God as a Christian.

    I am sure the Republican right are so sad that the strong moral leadership of Tom DeLay and Mark Foley has been swept clean from their disgusting control of capitol hill.

  39. CVH wrote:

    Shan, you’re welcome. Just food for thought.

    Jim, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but somehow I don’t think that was the intent of your first paragraph. And the comparison you attempt to draw between the
    credentials of the subject of the article and the writers of the New Testament is simply fallacious.

    Yes, the laws of gravity are true, unless you’re in a zero-gravity environment. God’s truth is immutable, far beyond the laws of physics which can be ‘bent’ by human means.

    With regard to public education, of course there are bad examples of public schools - teachers, administrators, facilities, school boards, budgets, etc. But God forbid we turn it completely over to local governance; I doubt 10% of the local communities in the country would be capable of doing a better job than the present system.

    Your negative characterization that we continually throw money “at a defunct system that keeps on producing failure after failure” is not true. Public education regularly produces success after success. And beyond whatever issues may be associated with public education, the most important component is the involvement of the child’s parents. If you want to point a finger, start there. Regardless of the pros and cons of either approach, I support good quality education, whether that’s in the public school system, Christian schools or home schools. There is true freedom of choice right now.

    But I would caution you to rethink your philosophy on at least two points. First, you say, “If all Christians would remove their children from the system, then the government would be forced to correct the problem.” Not true. First, all Christians would have to agree that religious education alternatives are better and affordable and that is simply not the case. Your Christian school may be a shining example, but many are not. Besides, even if all the ‘Christians’, however you define that (which may be different than how I do) pulled their kids out of public schools, you’d still leave 80% of non-Christian kids in the schools. Is it really responsible to abandon the schools and remove the Christian influence from them? If Jesus called us to be ’salt and light’, how can we do so when we flee the mission field?

    The second point is, your philosophy completely undermines the work being done by the literally hundreds of thousands of Christians who work in the public schools…as teachers, administrators, superintendents, aides, janitors, bus drivers, etc. Have you noticed how many Christian universities have degree programs in public education? Are you suggesting that believers who feel the call of God on their lives to serve in education are wrong? That they’re squandering their gifts? Wasting their careers? Producing no fruit?

    ‘Leave It To Beaver’ was a nice show fifty years ago, but even it did not wholly reflect the culture of the time. So the sentimental, “Gee, I wish things were the way they used to be” mindset will gain nothing. Nor will the militaristic, “American love it or leave it, right or wrong” mentality. Which leaves us with a pluralistic nation filled with opportunitites and challenges.

    You talk about freedom of choice in education. I trust that extends to your own kids. Because truly, when they grow up and decide where to send their children to school, I hope you’ll respect their freedom to choose between public, Christian or home schooling. But it all starts with knowing you’re free to choose.

    I don’t want to impose on the good graces of our host by prolonging the dialogue, especially on a tangental conversation. Thanks.

  40. Wayne wrote:

    Shane & Elisabeth:

    A proper understanding of the Separation Clause might help bring this into focus for you. The clause simply states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. What is so often forgotten in the discussion of the separation clause are the first five words of the clause itself, “Congress shall make now law….” The separation is a prohibition to Congress, not to any other entity. It simply prohibits Congress from enacting legislation that establishes a particular religion or prohibits the practice of a certain religion. It is amazing how this simple directive can be so warped as to include what can be done in a classroom, what can be placed on public property, what can and can’t be said at a High School football game, and what symbolism can and can’t be used by the public sector. Simply put, if Congress isn’t trying to make a law, the separation clause does not apply.

    I believe the intent of the founders can further be illustrated by the fact that the author of the separation clause, Thomas Jefferson, who many modern secularists hold to as their ideal founder, often attended Sunday morning church services during his Presidency. The unique aspect of this is that these services were often held in such places as the U.S. Capital Building, the U.S. Treasury building, and even on occasion, the U.S. Supreme Court Building. During his presidency, he also mandated that the D.C. public school systems use the Isaac Watts Hymnal and the Bible as their primary texts for teaching school children how to read.

    Again, we have a secular government, but this is a Christian nation, and these Christian underpinnings are a benefit, not a detriment, to the entire population of all religious preferences. No matter how much the militant secularists want to force their preferences on the public square, these facts are undeniable

  41. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Well said, Wayne. But be warned, those are worn out and tired arguments. Thanks for hammering it out again. The truth must be repeated over and over to thwart the constant barrage of humanism (and yes, that is an age old religion that has its roots in the garden of Eden) that we are pelted with from television, radio and sadly also our public education system.

    Lauren, you made me smile. In light of recent history, Democrats should refrain from calling out names of misconduct and moral depravity of any other party. In fact, I’m chuckling out loud.

  42. Damon from KY wrote:

    Not so well said, Wayne, when it comes to your Constitutional analysis. You correctly provide the words of the text of the First Amendment and maybe you believe it should be taken literally, but it has not been applied only to Congress for more than 100 years. Even the most extreme “original intent” judges will not say that it only applies to laws passed by Congress. If it were read literally, your local government could order your church to close its doors, put you in jail for criticizing their decision, and execute anyone who tried to write an article in the newspaper about it. Thankfully, the first amendment’s protections of religion, speech, and the press apply to all governmental bodies and actors.

  43. Lacey wrote:

    I want to think everyone that has contributed to this discussion because it has given me a lot to think about. I will admit to enjoying the “what if” devil’s advocate thing, if for no other reason than it helps me sort out what I really do and do not believe, not just what I’m “supposed” to believe because it’s what everyone else believes. I am THAT female that looks at males in churches like they haven’t quite thought it through when they say women should only wear dresses because they shouldn’t wear men’s clothing. I’m quite happy to point out that all of my pants are made for women, dresses do have that pesky tendency to fly up on windy days or when you bend over and in Bible times men wore robes…isn’t that like a dress??? :) So with that attitude I started pondering who “we” represented when it came to “Christians” wanting America back and I found this website.
    And while it did list “Christianity” as the largest religion in America with some 76%, it was interesting to me what showed up later when people were asked specifically about denomination affiliation and church attendance. Check it out; see if your specific denomination made the top ten list. Made me wonder which “we” would get control if “we” got America back. I wonder how many of us would really like going back to the “good old days” when teacher lead prayer was permitted but so were a lot of injustices that we would view with horror today? Perhaps it is time to stop looking back with fondness and start looking forward with purpose.
    I agree with what Damon from KY said that it is an easy thing to blame all that is wrong with our country on prayer being taken out of schools, but it is not realistic to think that ALL “bad” today traces back to that one thing. It is like blaming a “war tactic” for casualties instead of the one directing the war itself. It is just a tool that Satan has used in his fight against God and His people, one of many over the years. But CVH is right, just because teacher lead prayer is not permitted in schools doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christians in those positions influencing the students with their basic day to day actions. Why should they leave? Am I wrong in viewing those people in the same category as any other employees, at any other company? There are many, many jobs in this country and I’d have to guess it is a very small fraction of them that start each day with a “company” wide prayer, even those that are owned by Christians. I guess I just believe that people are usually more influenced by what you DO, not just what you say.

  44. shanjenkins wrote:

    Well said, Lacey. Keep thinking for yourself and asking those questions to determine what YOU believe. I’ve always felt that “blind faith” is just as bad as having no faith at all. With that said…I think I’m done with this discussion. It has certainly been an interesting one.

  45. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Agree with shanjenkins. This has been an intriguing conversation that has been challenging and fun. I appreciate the fact that there are over forty posts and everyone has remained civil even though our opinions are from opposite ends of the spectrum. Thanks to Avery for the soap box. (still drumming my fingers for his entrance into the arena)

    Here are a few parting observations…..

    I like what Lacey said in her parting line. We influence more by what we do than what we say. Let’s apply that to the founders of our great nation. If you want to know what they really meant in the Bill of Rights and the constitution….then judge it by what they did. They were not afraid of prayer, church or the Bible in all facets of daily living including government and education. I’m afraid they would be scratching their wigs in bewilderment if they were to walk into our schools today.

    Also the adherents website was an eye opener. If only we practiced what we preached. The Catholic Church is vehemently opposed to abortion which brings me to the conclusion that this would be a non-issue in America today if only half of their members would have taken a stand.

    The idea that our children should be missionaries in the public school sounds noble but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect young impressionable minds to understand this concept and act accordingly. I attended public school all the way to graduation and although I was a strong Christian who was not ashamed to stand up for my faith, I could name you ten others who did not. You take a precarious risk to assume that one hour on Sunday morning and the few hours we have with our children during the week will compete with the 40+ hours that they are enveloped by a system that has been stripped of Judeao-Christian traditional values.

    Some of you misinterpreted my facetious statement to abandon the schools. I heartily encourage Christians to enter the schools as teachers and administrators – now those are the true “missionaries”. Several of my friends and members of our church are faculty at public schools so I am well aware of the battle being waged in this country for the minds of our children.

    CHV and I do agree on this: Parental involvement is powerful and is probably why private education is so successful. When we have to pay for something, we tend to be more concerned that we are getting the value for our money.

    I didn’t come to these conclusions blindly. In 1992 I had the opportunity to travel two weeks into Russia and the Ukraine. With my own eyes and ears I experienced a culture that had excluded God from government and education for 75 years. The results were devastating but I was encouraged with this fact. The church was alive and well and the land was ripe for revival. The gates of hell will not prevail and as Gold City’s new single proclaims….His Truth Is Marching On!