Calvary Calls in the Cavalry on Prayer
The Freedom from Religion Foundation may like to pick fights with local school districts – but Chino Valley Unified is no ordinary place. Unlike a lot of schools boards in the country, this one isn’t afraid to stand up for what it believes—including the Christian faith that several members practice. A majority of the board’s members attend the church of a good Watchmen pastor friend of ours: Jack Hibbs’s Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH).
Yesterday, I had the privilege of once again preaching the Sunday services at CCCH where I encouraged them to live their lives as followers of Jesus with no fear. And that is exactly what they planned to do. They have no plans to retreat from the challenge of any anti-Christian organization. “Whether people like or not,” Pastor Jack has said, “religion is part of the fiber of America. And we encourage our congregation to speak the truth in the public square.” That courage starts at the top and has continued through the church’s 10,000-person congregation.
So when FFRF sued the school board for opening the meetings with prayer and reading from the Bible, it shouldn’t be a surprise that members of Pastor Jack’s church didn’t back down. With help from the Pacific Justice Institute, the board’s Christians refuse to give in to this secular arm-twisting and have taken their convictions to court, where they argued that the Supreme Court’s recent Greece decision about public prayer not only applies to local legislatures but school boards as well!
Last week, a judge disagreed, temporarily ordering the board to stop injecting faith into meetings, claiming it was an “unconstitutional endorsement of religion.” For now, District Judge Jesus Bernal is banning the members from “conducting, permitting, or otherwise endorsing school-sponsored prayer.” Well, FFRF may have had the last word, but they won’t have the final one. Chino Valley Unified is vowing to fight the ruling — and even defy it, if necessary. “No law is going to stop people from praying,” Pastor Jack vowed. America would be a different place if there were more churches like Calvary Chapel Chino Hills – unafraid to use their religious freedom to preserve their freedoms and touch the lives of those living in their communities.
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