Teens support Christian values

By Bill Stough

HILLSBORO, Mo.--Sixteen students and two mothers gathered around the flagpole of Hillsboro Junior High School to pray before school on the National Day of Prayer, May 6. Just a few days before, it seemed uncertain whether the school would allow the gathering.

Sarah Harding, a 14-year-old who attends the Church of God Sabbatarian in St. Louis, helped organize the event. Sarah said she was willing to be expelled from school if necessary rather than back down.

"Some people in high school got expelled for expressing their views about hating people, so we were concerned that if we were expressing our beliefs we could be expelled too," she explained. "But if we don't stand up for right things then who will? Some teachers have asked us to be quiet while we are trying to talk together about what we believe. It's happened to me."

Sarah said some teachers believe that the principle of separation of church and state dictates that no religious beliefs may be expressed on school grounds.

"But I was willing to be expelled or put into detention for praying around the pole. God has said He'll never leave us or forsake us, so I'm going to trust Him."

She commented on why public prayer is of value: "For one thing, it helps us hold onto our American rights of freedom of religion and expression. If we don't stand up for it, evil will prevail.

"Also, there are kids in school who are Christians, but they don't want to speak up about it. So if we're really strong in our beliefs then they might be too. The early New Testament church prayed publicly often."

She continued: "I'm finding that the more open we are about our Christian beliefs the more people are willing to talk to us.

"People want to talk about God, morals and values. So they open up to us.

"Next year when we are in high school we hope to start a prayer group before or after school."

She continued: "I'm glad the forefathers of America founded this country on God and religious values. There is pressure on people to be quiet about their religious beliefs in the school. Apparently God should only be talked about at church."

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