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No Preaching and Leave Your Bible at Home?

Via Dispatches I found this story about a lawsuit against the Grossmont Union High School District. The suit alleges that the school forbade the student to bring his Bible to school or to preach. The district tells a different story, claiming the student was very disruptive.

I mention this story for a couple of reasons. The first is our tendency to jump to conclusions. My first response, I must confess, is to think the school is in the wrong, not because of freedom of religion (though I think that’s applicable) but because of freedom of speech. I understand that there are limits–substantial limits–to speech as a student in school, but I tend to think administrators overdo that point. Nonetheless, the more I think about this case, the less certain that becomes. It will be interesting to see what comes out in court, and just who is jumping to conclusions. If the facts were completely as alleged by the plaintiff it would be a slam dunk for them–which makes me wonder.

My second point is that we should, at the same time we teach our children their faith, teach them good behavior and courteous, open, and friendly ways of sharing it. This both provides a witness in their lives as they treat other people with respect, including not forcing religion on them, and it is also just more effective witnessing. We gain nothing through rudeness. I don’t know the facts of this case, just the allegations. But there are genuine cases in which Christians young and old diminish or even pervert their witness through the means they use to carry it out.

Please remember that I do not say this as a way of claiming that this young man did wrong. We don’t yet know precisely what happened. That is what a trial is for.

For this I refer back to my 2006 post, Witness without Being a Pest.

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