No Neutral Ground

Recently the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) called the performance of Lake Hamilton High’s Marching Band unconstitutional since its performance was, “showing favoritism towards or coercing belief or participation in religion.”(1) The performance in question was entitled “Revival” and included banners of crosses, fiery images and signs that said, “Sinners Beware.” According to the Lake Hamilton School District Director of Communications and Public Relations, the program drew inspiration from the great depression era. (2)

At the heart of this ongoing controversy in America, oftentimes referred to as the separation of church and state, is a collision of worldview. Even embedded within the name of the FFRF is a mistaken notion. You cannot have freedom or separation from religion, at all. Religion is a “set of beliefs regarding the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe…often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” (3) True it is that “religion” is most oftentimes associated with those who believe in God. However, those who do not believe in God are just as religious. They live their lives according to a set of beliefs that stem from their understanding to the cause, nature, and purpose of the world.

The idea that an educational institution could somehow be neutral when it comes to the cause, nature, and purpose of the world is naive. Schools are to teach, Science and Math, English and History, all of which are deeply influenced by what one believes as to the cause, nature, and purpose of the world. One simply cannot avoid these consequences. There is no neutrality in any realm of life. It matters in every part of life whether you are a believer in God, or anti-God.

Let’s take the topic at hand, performances of marching bands and the songs they play. Many marching bands are known for playing pop songs. Believe it or not, pop songs have messages that are based on either a God-ward worldview or a god-less one. Each of them are religious. Each of them are teaching a certain way to view the nature and purpose of the world, and of humanity. For instance, if a band decided to play the song, “So Much for Stardust,” by the group Fall Out Boy, would anyone object on religious grounds, or on the basis of the songs message influencing or showing favoritism towards one particular religion? I doubt it, even though the song promotes a nihilistic philosophy (everything is meaningless, including life). There really is no neutrality.

What’s the point of all of this? The point is to understand that you are constantly being asked to believe someone’s religion. You cannot escape it, not even in school. So you have to ask yourself, “Will I allow a secular worldview be the primary messengers to me, my children, my family? Am I mature enough, are my children mature enough, to fend off attempts at their heart and soul? Will I actively engage in the shaping of their heart and soul towards a God-ward, Christ-centered, gospel saturated direction, or will I let the ever-cascading tides of pop culture crash upon the shore of their heart with no protection?”

1 accessed on 12.12.23
2 Ibid.
3 accessed on 12.12.23