There is an old saying that says, “You can take a girl out of Texas, but you can’t ever take Texas out of a girl.” Being a born and bred Texan, I always thought this to be true. I have been very blessed to be able to see many other areas of the country, but I can’t imagine myself living anywhere but in the Lone Star State. If I ever had to do that, I know Texas would always remain in my heart as a part of me.
I believe this saying must be true in reference to God as well. Here in America, there has been an attack on God since 1925, some would say, when John Scopes, a young biology teacher, was arrested after defying a Tennessee law that banned the teaching of evolution in the classroom. Scopes was found guilty, but the verdict was later overruled on a technicality. Labeled \”the trial of the century,\” and \”the monkey trial,\” the proceedings were broadcast live on nationwide radio, and the press proclaimed the trial was a defeat for Christian fundamentalists. Fast forward to 1963, and we find that Madalyn Murray O\’Hair won a lawsuit against the Baltimore School System, which voted in her favor 8-1 to ban school prayer and label it \”unconstitutional\”. Though not all formal prayer was immediately banned from public schools at that time, it is today.
Some would argue that true Christianity is also under attack by even some of those who claim to be Christian. One of the many examples of this is given with the “Christian Left” or just “liberal Christians.” They believe that following in the footsteps of Christ means establishing social justice on Earth. This is really humanism, where the mission of the Church is supposed to bring about a form of paradise on Earth through doing good deeds. That attempt is more subtle than the two former examples. Regardless of when it started, or by whom it was begun, there is indeed a very real effort being executed to remove God from our country entirely.
One of the latest attempts I noticed has been from the United States Air Force Academy. According to Columnist Todd Starnes, the Academy admitted they removed the phrase “so help me God” from three oaths in the 2012 edition of their official cadet handbook. He reports that the revelation came after more than two dozen members of Congress sent a letter to Academy Supt. Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, demanding she explain why the phrase was removed. The lawmakers argued the 2012 edition of the Contrails Cadet Handbook excludes the phrase “so help me God” in the Cadet’s Oath of allegiance, the Oath of Office for Officers and the Oath of Enlistment. Starnes cites a letter drafted by Rep. Jim Bridenstein (R-Okla.) and signed by 28 lawmakers, which states, “The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion. However, the inclusion of the phrase \’so help me God\’ in an oath of service does not rise to this level.”
Bridenstein continues, “Editing the oath for all Academy students is extreme and unnecessary, and does a disservice to the countless individuals who wish to include the phrase as a solemn reminder that they are pledging their fidelity to God and country.” Spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal said that the omission was an oversight – a simple mistake. However, just a few weeks ago, the Air Force Academy was caught up in another controversy involving the phrase “so help me God” after deciding to make it an optional part of the Honor Oath. Lawmakers again asked Johnson why changes were made to the Honor Oath and why a poster displaying the words “so help me God” was removed from the Academy.
Johnson stated that the revision was made after a complaint was filed from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, specifically from the president, Mikey Weinstein. The revision did not go over so well with the lawmakers, who then asked that she, “restore the poster bearing the oath in full to its original location as an honorable reflection of the oath of service.” Starnes says that after the Honor Oath was revised, Johnson released a statement which affirmed the right of Airmen to “freely practice and exercise their religious preference, or not.” Starnes also spoke with Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. Crews said he’s received calls from concerned parents of cadets who were saddened by the change in the oaths. He said, “This phrase is a deeply-rooted American tradition, begun by George Washington as the first president of the United States and now stated by many who take an oath of service to our country. The removal of this phrase is a disservice to the countless men and women who wish to include it as a solemn reminder that they are pledging their fidelity to God and their country.”
U.S. Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is given credit for saying, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” Although it has been disputed as to who originated the saying, the twentieth and the early twenty-first century has proven this phrase to be accurate. Indeed, from the elusive “weapons of mass destruction,” to the more timely attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, misrepresentations reported are just as powerful weapons as AK-47’s and tanks, missiles and grenades. But in the broader sense, with an all-out war declared on God, which is the Truth (with a capital T), when He and It are annihilated, there is nothing of any real substance left. The irony here is that opponents of God in the mainstream want him taken out of everything because they only want to deal with what is “real.” But we Christians know that there is no reality without God. Therefore, here lies the conundrum that of which we the people are left. I am reminded of a quote from Charles Colson’s Kingdoms in Conflict, “God is dead not because He doesn’t exist, but because we live, play, procreate, govern, and die as though He doesn’t.”
Reflecting back upon my opening statement: “You can take a girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl,” I would alter it to say, “You can take the word \’God\’ out everything, but you can’t ever take Him away from our hearts.” Once you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within your solar plexus, He is there to stay. Romans 8 38-39 states, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”