Navigating Faith in Public Schools
March 6, 2023
Does your child go to public school? If so, are you familiar with HOW their faith can be part of their school day? With phrases like “separation of church and state” being thrown around, it can be confusing to know where faith and school come together.
According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 53 million students attend public school in the United States. That’s a lot of kids — and ALL of them need Jesus! And, Jesus is shared through relationships. But how can your children live out their faith in school and develop these relationships if everyone believes the falsehood that children can’t express their faith in school? In this blog, we want to kindly educate you so that your children can feel comfortable expressing faith in public school.
What does the law say?
The misconception of separation of church and state came from a comment taken out of context that Thomas Jefferson wrote. In reality, what Jefferson said is the state can not dictate to or establish a church. The First Amendment in our Constitution states that students are free to exercise their religion voluntarily before, during, and after school. Therefore, the public school’s role in faith is solely to protect religious freedom of students and not prohibit it.
According to our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, children in public school CAN:
- Pray at school
- Wear religious clothing and jewelry
- Talk about God in class assignments
- Start a religious club on campus that receives the same rights and resources as other clubs
Can your child FREELY express their beliefs?
YES, they can! Anyone who says that students can’t freely express their religious beliefs is mistaken and not following the law of our land — the U.S. Constitution & The Bill of Rights. Our founding fathers designed our government to protect religious freedom with the First Amendment! They put it first for a reason —it’s important for our well-being and our children’s well-being.
God was NOT taken out of public school!
Many people believe that God was taken out of school. But the truth is that He was NOT. There are 3 ways public school children can hear about God: Bible Literacy, Bible Clubs, and Released Time Bible Classes. We believe that Released Time is the most impactful because we are able to reach all children, DURING their public school day, so it is convenient for parents to sign their children up. This is why programs, like Bible2School, exist, to serve parents who want their children to learn about God through His Word
As parents and caretakers, it’s important that we educate ourselves and kindly educate others so that we can confidently make sure our children enjoy freedom given to them by the Constitution to learn about God and share their faith in the public school environment. Want to hear more about this important topic? Listen to our podcast episode with Matt Sharp from Alliance Defending Freedom, Religious Freedoms in Our Public Schools. Also, be sure to check out this story of what happened after an 8-year old’s candy with a Bible verse was sent to the Principal’s office.
Relevant Bible Verses
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:11
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God”
– 2 Timothy 1:7-8
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:16