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School Calls Police on Seven-Year-Old Who Brought Bible Verses to Read at Lunchtime

Scary Thought: This really happened in our country? Yea it did. 

PALMDALE, Calif. – A seven-year-old first grader was recently reprimanded in front of his entire class and a police officer was dispatched to his family’s home because the child had brought notes with Bible verses on them to school.

Christina and Jaime Zavala live in Palmdale, California. In January, they enrolled their son in the first grade at Desert Rose Elementary School in the Palmdale School District, according to a recent letterfrom the nonprofit group Liberty Counsel. To encourage her son at school, Christina gave him brief notes to read during lunchtime. Each note included a Bible verse for him to read.

The Zavalas’ son, identified as “C” in the Liberty Counsel’s letter, began telling his classmates about his mother’s encouraging notes and began reading the Bible verses to them. Each day, several students would gather around C to hear the lunchtime notes and Bible verses written by Christina.

“After this had occurred for some time, one friend asked for a copy of the Bible verse, that he, too, could have,” the Liberty Counsel letter explains. “C relayed the request to his mother, who began to send a Bible verse for C, and one for his friend. Soon, five more students asked C for a Bible verse, and C brought additional copies for them, as well. The notes grew to include a short story providing context for the Bible verse, which C would read to the children.”

However, in April, C’s first grade teacher learned of Christina’s note-writing when a girl in her class came up to her one day and said, “Teacher, this is the most beautiful story I have ever seen—C gave it to me.” When the teacher saw that the “beautiful story” on the note was from the Bible, she told C in front of the other students that he was not allowed to share the Bible stories at school but would instead have to stand outside the school gate after the bell rang.

The teacher also called C’s mother to explain the situation.

“Please tell your son that there is a separation of church and state,” the teacher reportedly told Christina.

Christina responded by writing a letter to C’s teacher, explaining that C was only sharing the notes with children who asked to read them, that he was not interrupting class time, and that none of this was prohibited by the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

“However,” the Liberty Counsel reports, “despite the accurate information about student religious rights which Christina shared with her, when the students were lined up in the classroom the next day, in front of C and the whole class, C’s teacher again told C that he was not allowed to share the notes at school.”

So, in compliance with the teacher’s request, Christina (or, on same days, Jaime) and C began to share the Bible verses with C’s friends after school outside the school gate. This continued until May 9, when the school principal came up and informed them that their actions were “against school policy.” Later that day, a Los Angeles deputy sheriff knocked on the Zavalas’ door, saying he had been sent by the school. He reiterated that the note distribution was not permitted because “someone might be offended.”

In a press release issued on Thursday, Liberty Counsel described the school’s treatment of C and his family as “a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child.”

“I would expect something like this to happen in Communist Romania, where I went to elementary school, but cops don’t bully 7-year-olds who want to talk about Jesus in the Land of the Free,” opined Horatio “Harry” Mihet, Liberty Counsel’s Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel.

“It was outrageous and should shock the conscious of every freedom-loving American,” Mihet said, according to a Fox News report. “Apparently all the real criminals have been dealt with in Palmdale and now they’re going after kids who share Bible verses during lunch time.”

“If students are permitted to pass out Valentine or birthday cards at school or to talk about Superman and Captain America at lunch, they cannot be prohibited from sharing Bible verses and discussing their faith during their free, non-instructional time,” he added.

Liberty Counsel is representing Jaime, Christina, and C in this case and is urging the Palmdale School District to respect the family’s Constitutional rights.

“The District has a duty to correct the record, not only to C, but to these other future citizens,” the Liberty Counsel’s letter states. “If we do not receive this response, we will take further action to prevent irreparable harm to the cherished First Amendment liberties of our clients.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Christina provided her perspective on the situation.

“We are learning firsthand about our ‘rights’ as Americans and learning to walk in the grace and truth God has given us through Jesus,” she said, saying their family would continue to be “bold in love and truth.”

“God is awesome we give Him ALL the glory!” she wrote.

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A couple verses come to mind:

John 15

Disciples’ Relation to the World

      18“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23“He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25“But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

and

Matt 10

Sheep among Wolves

"16Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17But beware of men; for they will hand you over to their councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On My account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say. 20For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. 22You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. Truly I tell you, you will not reach all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher, and servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!"

and then there's this appeal to Paul that we can heed as well:

2 Tim 1

"6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us."

People throughout history have always tried to silence the life saving message of Christ.  But they can't, and they won't. 

1 John 4

Testing the Spirits

     " 1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

I think this is part of our powerful testimony...  that even their rejection won't stop us.  People hate to feel rejection because it hurts. 

1 John 4:5 really stands out for me:

"5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them"

We shouldn't be surprised when people from the 'world' speak as the 'world' speaks.

Blessings, Carla

Hi everyone, God bless you!

There are spiritual matters in the Word of God that will stand in any Court of Law. Such as the Matter of Korah which reads like an administrative law case. Or I should say many of our administrative law decisions read like the Matter of Korah. Where did we get the idea of law or commandments? From the Bible. The Matter of Korah is a study about rebellion, sedition and iniquity for anyone who has ears to hear. Korah thought more highly of himself than he should have and didn't want to do the job God had asked him to do.

I looked up a few current court cases. Yes, children have first amendment rights, however, it's not to the extent that adults have. And even if Christina's child has the right to speak, there's also a court case that says if there are children (or in this case parents) who wish their children to not hear it, they have that right too. That is also their first amendment right. Christina is not the only person with first amendment rights. I just feel Christina is not saying everything. The first amendment works both ways.

Just because somebody puts something on FB, doesn't mean it carries any authority or that it's good law. In fact, I would say FB is completely void of authority in this matter. The Word of God carries a lot of weight with me. In the Book of Acts, the church reached out to households. Maybe they talked to one person initially, but it wasn't very long they would reach out to the family. 

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord's people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, (1 Corinthians 16:15 NIV)

Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. (Romans 16:10 NIV)

And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. (Acts 10:25-27 KJV)

God's love,

Mary

I want to correct myself. The court case I'm thinking of the children did not want to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You have the right to not say something. It was a little early this morning. Sorry about that. Still another case, the school came up with a club room for the children where they could meet if they wanted to. They didn't have to go outside the school gates. I looked up Liberty Counsel and they seem like very nice people and Godly people.

Love,

Mary

I didn't get the report from FaceBook

Wow

The Zavala family contacted Liberty Counsel to help protect their child's constitutional freedom. According to Liberty Counsel, the school district's legal counsel in a recent letter came to the following conclusions:

  1. "C" may freely discuss his religious beliefs on the Desert Rose campus during non-instructional time;
  2. The Zavalas may distribute written material to anyone on any designated public forum, including the sidewalk a few feet away from the Desert Rose School gate;
  3. Mr. and Mrs. Zavala may continue to send a daily note to "C" in his lunchbox;
  4. "C" may freely read and discuss his daily note with his peers during non-instructional time;
  5. "C" may even verbally invite any of his peers to join him on the sidewalk after school for further discussion on the contents of the notes.

"We celebrate this victory that acknowledges that students have constitutional rights to free speech to distribute literature during non-instructional times," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement. "Now this young boy is free to share his Bible verses and stories with his classmates this year without hassle."

"The Palmdale School District acutely respects the religious rights of all students, parents, administrators and staff. This isolated incident seems to stem from a misunderstanding of existing rules and procedures designed to protect students, and not based on an effort to restrict religious liberties.

Amen

Troubled world

Yes it is

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