Times have changed
Just last week when I went arrived at Hartselle High School and then again at F.E. Burleson Elementary School, I had to wait to be recognized and then someone “buzz” me in so I could enter the buildings.
Now I am not complaining about this procedure, I more than understand as well as agree that the doors to our schools remain locked from the outside during the time students are inside.
Unfortunately, for the safety of the students as well as the faculty, this type of security has been put in place. Due to instances, such as Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary, where students, teachers and other people inside the buildings were killed and injured, this security procedure is commonplace at many schools, not just in our city, but others as well.
In saying all of this, it also brings back to the mind how a few people have worked very hard to keep any mention of God out of our public schools and colleges. Just last week, requests were sent to several large universities, including Auburn University, requesting the chaplains be removed from the athletic department of the school. The request came from a group who claims to be focusing on the separation of church and state. They claim the chaplains cause a risk of discrimination for those outside of certain religious groups.
A high school band in Mississippi was banned from playing the hymn “How Great Thou Art” during a halftime show at the school. The school board banned the song due to the threat of lawsuits.
The process of removing God from public schools came over 50 years ago. I can remember when I was in school back in the dark ages, we had prayer every morning and recited Bible verses. We also said grace before lunch each day.
Those who say the constitutional rights of those exposed to Christian music and/or the chaplains are violated seem to be coming out of the woodwork in our present time.
I have never understood why someone who does not have a belief in God has such a problem with public prayer or other ways of expressing Christian beliefs. If one does not choose to believe, they do not have to participate. If one does not believe that God exists, why would it bother that person so much for others to express their own beliefs?
Going back to the opening of this column, during the days of school prayer and Bible reading, I do not seem to recall having to lock all of the doors at school buildings, metal detectors for those entering and the fear that someone would come into the buildings and harm anyone there.
Food for thought.
Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.