In 1963 the reading from the Bible was banned from public schools. What’s the impact now 46 years later?
Well, last Saturday evening I attended a very fine local production of Godspell, a 1970 musical that in 1971 started a long running success as an Off Broadway production. The structure of the musical is that a variety of Jesus’ parables (mostly from the Gospel according to Matthew) are interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, like “Day by Day.”. In the 1970’s everyone who was educated knew well the parables of Jesus, even if they were not believers in Him. For many in our culture the Bible was good literature. Notables, who were never baptized, used the Bible frequently in their speeches and writings, like Abraham Lincoln, for instance.
This local production of Godspell was put on by a director and producer of a children’s acting troupe here in
During the intermission I got to visit with the director/producer. She has worked with helping children and teens become grounded in acting for 40 years, so her experience is long and her protégés have reached some success in the acting world.
She told me that she was surprised that most of the children today had no frame of reference for any of the Bible stories or parables. In fact, so many of the parables in Godspell made no sense to them at all and had to be explained. It made me proud indeed that the one who did the explaining was the graduate from our school.
So, 46 years after the banning of the Bible from public schools it is now two generations of Americans who have grown up without the common grounding in the values and stories of the Bible. Whether people believe or not, the memory is no longer within our society. No more memory of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, King David and Bathsheba, Ahab and Jezebel, the prophets Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, the Babylonian Captivity, John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles, the parables, the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Paul and the foundations of our Church. It’s all gone!
Look then at what a gift our parish’s school has to bring to the future generations. Not just a memory of all that has made us the people we are, but also a living faith that is sent to be yeast in the dough and a light shining on a hill.
Consider supporting our school, or any Catholic school, even if your children are already raised. Helping struggling families by supporting of scholarship fund would go a long way in helping spread the Gospel to another generation!