“The love of God comes to us through Christ crucified so that we can see what our sin really deserved. It is morally impossible to be proud at the foot of the cross. And so for those who don’t want to humble themselves before God, the cross remains an offense and a scandal.”
– Rev. John Piper
Scandal is a good word to describe what happened a few days ago in a Massachusetts classroom. On December 2nd a 2nd grade teacher asked her students to draw pictures of things that remind them of Christmas. One little boy decided to draw a picture of Jesus on the cross. Any sane person, even a non-religious one, would respect the boys sketch as an expression of his faith and move on. Sadly this was not the case.
Instead of lauding the boy for creative expression, the principal of Lowell Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Massachusetts decided that the boy had violence issues and suspended him. To make matters worse, the school told the boys father that a psychological evaluation, at the parents expense, would be required before the boy could return to school. The superintendent of the school district defended the actions claiming that the district has safety protocols that it must follow when they have concern for a child’s safety.
I find it troubling that a school teacher and superintendent find it necessary to protect a child from the cross of Christ. Yet, the concern expressed by the school district serves as a perfect illustration that the message of the cross is offensive. People who will subject themselves to all manner of abject violence in a movies theater or in front of a TV suddenly get squeamish at a pencil sketch of a cross. Only slightly less offensive is a Christmas manger scene. Newspapers all over the country document cases of people trying to sue government agencies for displaying manger scenes. The rationale used to defend such hubris is a gross misinterpretation of the “establishment clause” of the 1st amendment. Which, by the way, does not include the phrase, “separation of church and state”.
While I am disappointed by the actions of Superintendent Julie Hackett of the Taunton, Mass. school district, I am not surprised. The cross is offensive to those who refuse to take responsibility for their sin and seek the grace and forgiveness of Christ. I feel sorry for Ms. Hackett and any other people who seek to remove the cross, or a manger scene or any other symbol of Christ from our society. They do a harm to themselves and deprive us all of a timely reminder that God sent Jesus so that we could have victory over sin, death, and evil.
Authors Note: If you would like to respectfully express your concern over this incident please feel free to use the following information:
Concerned individuals may e-mail Maxham Elementary School or call Principal Rebecca Couet at (508)821-1265, or fax to (508) 821-1274. The Taunton Public Schools district office may be reached by calling (508) 821-1100 or e-mailing Superintendent Julie Hackett.
HT: World Net Daily