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Kentucky Prayer Caucus

Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Craig Hodester, who commented on the article by Berry Craig, "Kentucky Prayer Caucus Wants God in Schoolhouses.

This effort by evangelicals reeks and has been ongoing for decades. It’s nothing new including their strategy of cynically playing the victim card. Now its come to Kentucky even if belatedly.

“The liberals took God out of our schools!!” “Christian children are being punished for praying!!” blah, blah, blah. In fact the opposite is true.

20 years ago when I was teaching in a public high school the evangelicals had taken over the school board and their first order of business was to see to it that every classroom was required to have an “In God We Trust” poster on the wall.

20 years ago when I was teaching in a public high school the evangelicals had taken over the school board and their first order of business was to see to it that every classroom was required to have an “In God We Trust” poster on the wall. I posted mine next to a picture of Jesus laughing.

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Evangelical students participated in the annual “Prayer Around the Pole” exercise created by extremist Rev. Dobson which included faculty members too. The school sponsored a “Bible As History” class taught by faculty; Young Christian Athletes who prayed before games with faculty; prayer circles in the hallways before classes; bible study groups after school; a faculty member passed out small models of fetuses in opposition to abortion; ad infinitum. Meanwhile claiming that the atheist liberals had taken God out of the school. And it was all done with the illegal participation and encouragement of evangelical faculty members since the Supreme Court had ruled that government workers (faculty) couldn’t promote any particular religion.

Meanwhile those students who weren’t evangelical or who practiced Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion were proselytized, shamed, denigrated by the same evangelicals. Yes, contrary to what evangelicals think, there are many other students in the public schools including Kentucky who practice religions other than Christian. Where was their prayer circle? If anything the evangelical agenda is very divisive.

Now after having retired from teaching and staying in contact with former students I’ve learned that many of those who were influenced to participate in such evangelical activities on school grounds have left Christianity entirely. After leaving high school and entering the world at large they’ve come to the realization that they were manipulated and used for the evangelical agenda. In the end, it seems that the evangelical movement has accomplished the opposite of what they intended. Be careful what you wish for.

This effort by Kentucky evangelicals to promote their religion as a state religion through government edict will eventually end in the same failure that has happened in other parts of our nation. And in the process they will manage to turn off a significant number of students to their agenda.

There’s a reason that our Founders separated church and religion. When you join politics and religion at the hip, as the GOP has done to the point that the GOP base is evangelical, you corrupt both.