Scattered Thoughts on ‘Public’ Christianity

Posted on June 28, 2022


By David Ettinger

Major Ruling
On June 27, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a former Washington state public high school football coach who lost his job because he recited a silent prayer on the 50-yard line after games.[1]

You may read about this ruling on numerous news websites. Therefore, I – as a Bible-believing Christian – don’t wish to analyze the decision, but will admit that it roused in me some long-held thoughts I have regarding this and other related issues.

As such, I simply want to share some thoughts on the issues which make American Christians tick, and give my take on them. I refer to these issues as “public Christianity” as they deal with how Christians should behave in public, and what our realistic expectations should be.

I call these thoughts “scattered” as they touch upon various subjects. And by all means, feel free to agree, disagree, and/or give your take on these issues!

School Prayer
I’m not a proponent of prayer in public schools. I don’t believe prayer should be mandated to anyone, especially to those who don’t pray.

Regarding Christian children, parents should teach them that they can pray whenever free time is available, and for as long or briefly as they so desire. Parents should teach their children that God hears their prayers anywhere and in all circumstances, and they can do so walking from one classroom to the next, to and from the bathroom, and to and from lunch or recess.

But to mandate non-religious kids to pray is foolishness and coercion, and is more hurtful than helpful.

Regarding “removing God from the classroom,” this is another matter, but I can live with it, as there are homes and religious institutions in which to teach children. What is grievous however, is schools indoctrinating children with anti-God, anti-Biblical subjects regarding sexual behavior and gender preferences.

Public schools should be teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and other practical subjects, and leave religious and social matters to parents.

Coaches, Players Praying After Games
It’s fine if they want to do so, but also fine are the prayers of Muslim, Jewish, and other belief systems the players adhere to. It’s a public forum, therefore if one group of people can pray, so can all others.

In the case of the Washington coach, the principal mentioned he was worried about the security concerns involved. Whenever the coach prayed, parents would leave the stands and join him on the field. That’s legitimate. Therefore, ban all people who have nothing to do with the game from entering the field.

And here’s where my skeptical side comes in. Yes, sometimes public prayer can be a wonderful testimony to unbelievers, but oftentimes Christians use it as an in-your-face display of piety or “just try to stop me” bravado. Just curious, during the game, were these parents witnessing to the unsaved parents sitting beside them?

Christian Bakers and Florists
It is truly abhorrent for state and city governments to fine Christian bakers and florists for not providing services for same-sex weddings and other events. Christians do not refuse such services out of vindictiveness or cruelty, but because we believe in a Bible which makes clear what is holy and what is sin, and obey it accordingly.

This does not mean Christians hate those who practice sin (though we hate sinful acts). For instance, if a same-sex couple walks into a bakery and simply requests a “non-issue” cake – for instance , “Happy 40th Birthday, Don” – then by all means the Christian baker should fill the order.

And the same should apply to Christian consumers. For instance, if I walk into a Jewish-, Muslim-, or atheist-owned bakery and ask for a cake which says, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” these businesses have every right to decline my request. They should not be forced to do something against their moral and religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

Politics, Vaccines, Etc.
Christians need to remember that we are ambassadors of Christ and that our primary message is the Gospel. We are to be about the business of the Lord Jesus by explaining to unbelievers who will listen to us that they are condemned to eternity in Hell, but that God provided a way out.

If you want to consume yourself with hot-button topics, please do so graciously, if at all. Do you think the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump? Do you think the Covid-19 vaccines are deadly and a sham?

That’s fine if you believe it, but if you are going to write about it and fill your social media pages with it, you better make sure you’re right beyond a shadow of a doubt. And even if you are, are you accomplishing anything regarding the souls of unbelievers? Most of the time, your aren’t; rather, you are causing discord and driving them away from the Gospel.

How about filling your social media pages with what you know is Truth: That human beings are perishing in their sin, and that Jesus Christ can save them from their sins. This is what we are called to do. Let others take their deep-dives into politics and conspiracy theories.

There It Is
So, there it is, my scattered thoughts on “public” Christianity and related issues.

What about you? What are your thoughts? If you disagree with anything I said, please express it. Your thoughts – either way – are welcome!