By Diana Erbio – Presidents and elected officials of the United States often close their speeches with “and may God bless America.” It never spurs calls for legal action because of separation of church and state issues that I am aware of. If it has, our public servants have wisely ignored them. However, most efforts to bring God back into our communities via school, town square or other public place are often met with controversy. Recently New York public school teacher Joelle Silver was ordered to remove a quote posted on the wall in her classroom from former President Ronald Reagan which read in part — “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
School prayer has been banished from our schools. Even a moment of silence has been questioned. So why have we, as a Nation, become afraid to pray openly for God’s help, when we do not hesitate to ask publicly for God’s blessing?
The horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school has brought us to a tipping point. I believe we as a nation understand something must be done. As President Obama said “These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change.” Unfortunately our president believes the change is to place restrictions on the 2nd Amendment, when what we need is a less restrictive interpretation of the 1st Amendment.
There are calls for metal detectors in schools, malls and other public spaces. There are calls for heightened security. There are calls to arm teachers and principals, or perhaps to have an armed police officer at every school. There are calls for better funding and more awareness in the mental health arena.
Some of these ideas have merit and can help, but deep down we all know we cannot prevent all future murderous rampages no matter what protective measures we implement. We know at the root of these monstrous acts there is an element we cannot control. That is what truly scares us.
Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Joy Scott — a student killed in the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado — made a speech during testimony on May 27, 1999 before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee. Darrell Scott has since delivered similar talks on the subject and developed Rachel’s Challenge, a program used in schools around the country to teach students to be compassionate towards each other
The following excerpts are from the transcript of Darrell Scott’s speech. Now, in the deep dark shadow of the killings in Newtown Connecticut, is the time for Americans to reflect on some of his words.
“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good& evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.”
In calling out for solutions, Darrell Scott points out the need to acknowledge that evil exists. We all have free will, although many who are mentally unstable may need our help to combat evil. Darrel Scott went on and said…
“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. “ Mr. Scott added that, “As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school.”
I ask that as we seek solutions to prevent future atrocities like those at Columbine and Sandy Hook, can we leave our 2ndAmendment rights intact and rather strengthen the interpretation of our 1stAmendment by allowing ourselves as a nation to not only ask to be blessed by God but can we bring God back into our public square and openly ask for God’s help to triumph over evil?