Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ohio Teen Expects To Be Suspended For Trip To Prom

Thus reads the Associated Press headline, followed by:
"Sun May 10, 11:46 am ET

FINDLAY, Ohio – An Ohio teenager says he expects to be suspended from a Christian school for attending a public school prom with his girlfriend. Officials at Heritage Christian School in Findlay had warned 17-year-old Tyler Frost that he would be suspended and prohibited from attending graduation if he went to the Saturday dance. The fundamentalist Baptist school in northwest Ohio forbids dancing, rock music and hand holding..."

If Tyler has met the academic requirements for graduation, then there is no reasonable argument to deny him the graduation ceremony. The school can only deny him the activities of "dancing, rock music and hand holding" upon school grounds, as that is the limit of their authority over their students. In the real world, Tyler's rights are protected by our Constitution.

The Supreme Court has expressly recognized that a right to freedom of association and belief is implicit in the First, Fifth, and Fouteenth Amendments. The First Amendment protects his right to freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of expression. If he chose to associate with somebody who did not follow his school's doctrinal teachings, it is his choice, and his right to do so. (The doctrine of most "Fundamentalist" religions - and, there are several besides Baptist fundamentalists - tends to be quite restrictive, in the belief that sacrificing certain "worldy ways" gets one closer to what Jesus the Christ desires of us, were he physically here to ask it of us. Which may explain the growth of the less demanding Evangelical Christian movement in the United States.) I am not a "Bible thumper", nor do I claim to be a theologian or a lawyer. I'm just a normal person trying to understand why things are the way they are. But, as best I can recall , nowhere in the Christian Bible is there a passage that reads; "Thou shalt not dance, listen to rock music, or hold hands."

Dancing, since time immemorial, has been an expression of joy and exhilaration. Are Christians not directed to express joy at the coming of their Savior and thanks for His sacrifice for them? Is music not a means to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord"? Where is it written that the only acceptable music is psalms? And, music inspires one to dance, thereby doubling the expression of joy! Holding hands is a physical expression of fellowship with another person or persons. Are Christians not encouraged by the Lord to join in fellowship?

However... (I hate it when I have to do this) the school has it's rules and requirements, but they are only enforceable by the school within the boundaries of the school. The boy has apparently met all the Ohio State academic requirements for graduation - let him graduate with his class. If the school has a doctrinal grievance against him, then let them - through the church - disfellowship Tyler. Or, perhaps Tyler could ask for dispensation and Christian forgiveness for being a young American exercising his God-given rights.

This is an excellent example of where, when and how, Church and State should definitely be separated. A church supported school, teaching state approved curricula for secondary education, has one overriding, principal function: to provide sufficient education to allow their students to meet the minimum state requirements for graduation. Doctrinal issues should not be a consideration in education unless the student is attending a theological seminary.

There is a distinct possibility I could be wrong about this... does my personal position seem extreme in either direction to you?

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