The Gun in the Gumball Machine (and the Ten Commandments)

Boo put her money in a gumball machine and this was her prize:

She was wearing it when she and Mr. LBB walked through the door yesterday and I immediately asked her to take it off.   But then I questioned myself… You see, when I think back to my childhood….I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t have even thought twice about my wearing a gun necklace…..we would have associated it with cowboys, or a cap gun….not murder and violence. In the early 90’s, my mom, dad, sister, brother and I were going on a ski trip for Christmas and security flagged my little brother’s bag….opening it up they found a cap gun, a set of handcuffs and a bottle rocket.  My parents were mortified, my nine-year-old brother was confused (don’t people play war on vacation?), all of airport security was amused…but they confiscated it all…it was totally innocent. We knew right from wrong. But, could you imagine that same scenario today?

And so I looked at Boo….who has never played a violent video game, says “yes ma’am, yes sir” to be respectful, has family members in the military, whose parents own the same gun on her necklace and that gun is properly locked and stored….why am I making a big deal about a gun necklace? Oh, wait…maybe because a kid was suspended from school last year for making his Poptart into a pastry gun?

(Note: I worry that this young kid who ate a gun shape into his Poptart has been crushed creatively for life….I eat shapes into Poptarts all the time…it’s what artists do….I just don’t have the self control to not eat the “art” afterwards.)

I wonder how the world will be when Boo is older.  How long can I protect her from all of the madness and confusion? 

The answer: By teaching her to stand for something.

And so, in our house, this gun necklace symbolizes cowboys, police officers, our founding fathers, the 2nd amendment, gun safety and everything that is right with the world.

There’s so much darkness right now in the world. I can barely watch the news without getting upset. But….if I had to put a positive spin on it I’d say that the dark makes it much easier to find shining beacons of faith and hope and love.  And I always try to make sure and point them out to Boo.  I find myself in the car (where I always have her full attention) and I’ll say “let’s pray really quick for those firemen up on top of that mountain, okay?”….or “is there anything you’ve been worried about lately?” ….or “you know that hummingbird that was following us? Don’t you think God was trying to get our attention?” ….or “what would you do if…..?” And finding these teachable moments for her makes me be so much more attentive to what’s going on right in front of me.  And I try to find ways to teach her about God that will resonate with a little kid, in creative ways so she doesn’t even realize I’m teaching.  And I know that if I don’t teach her about God….sadly the world we live in today will teach her otherwise.

*****

As I was on a long drive to L.A. recently I was listening to a radio show about the removal of God from schools and one comment stood out:

Where was God during Sandy Hook?
God: I wasn’t allowed in the school.

And then they read this:

I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government, and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?

Let’s see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body was found recently) complained she didn’t want any prayer in our schools, and we said, OK.

Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school… the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

From We Reap What We Sow (full text here)

 

I was talking with my pastor about it (I do think God was with those children and teachers at Sandy Hook)….but I went on to say how worried I was for society with God being taken out of everything:

Me: And you don’t see the ten commandments anymore….in schools, in public buildings.  There’s nothing to reinforce what is right and wrong.
Pastor: Well, let me ask you this: do YOU have the ten commandments hanging up in your home?

Busted. No…..I didn’t have the ten commandments hanging in our home. But they are now.

 

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. – George Washington

 

I was in the thrift store this morning with Boo and I bought this random book because of the title: Standing for Something. I haven’t been able to put it down:

Men and Women of all denominations have helped settle this land Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Greeks, Muslims and Hindus. With few exceptions, those who helped establish this great country believed in and worshiped God, although their interpretations of Him may have varied.

They built for us a tremendous inheritance because they were men and women of faith and conviction. They had no government to fall back on, but they looked to God in every extremity and thanked Him for every blessing.

Our great concern, our great interest, must be to preserve for the generations to come those wondrous elements of our society and manner of living that will bequeath to them the strength and the goodness of which we have been the beneficiaries. To do so, we must retard and then halt the decay we observe about us, which comes of forsaking the God whom out forefathers knew, loved, worshiped and looked to for strength.

I think this passage spoke to me because my Aunt Sharon just told me recently that Boo’s lineage goes all the way back to the original 13 colonies.  That’s like Betsy Ross ya’ll. God bless America.

*****

When I was paying at the thrift store today, the cashier charged me a different amount that I expected:

Me: I don’t think that’s right.
Cashier: It’s $1.35….50% off.
Me: Oh, that’s great!
Cashier: Oh….wait….you thought I was undercharging you?  No one’s ever pulled that one on me before.

Kind of sad…..I thought walking away. That’s just being honest right? I guess I hope that I can bring Boo up in such a way…..that if she’s ever undercharged $1.35….she’ll speak up.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this. What do you teach your kids about guns? What do you think about God and prayer in school?

P.S. I’m working on scanning in those old letters from my great great grandparents when they immigrated from Sweden…the references and thanks to God in them during hardship are amazing.  God was their focus when they were in Kansas too. Famine, disease, death….nothing could shake their faith. I can’t wait for you to read them.

 

Read the follow up to this post here: Life Stinks. We Have a Pew for You.


 

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Comments

  1. 1
    theresa says:

    Awesome post…you shared what has been on my heart for a long time. Only much more eloquently than I could! :)

    • 2

      agreed.

      I grew up attending Catholic school my whole life. I don’t want the same for my child because I don’t like organized religion that enforces fear in good and doing the right things…. HOWEVER I do believe the ten commandments Ares common sense and NOT tired to Religion. in fact most religion including athiests would agree these are common sense values and morals that should be practiced in society. with the exception of number one…. the ” except me” part of who to worship that can be defined in many religions etc…all it means is that you shouldn’t be worshipping anyone other than you your temple your values regardless of religion…. not “a God” specifically. I think the ten commandments aren’t such a bad idea to bring back including pledging allegiance to the flag…. fir goodness sake we don’t even do that anymore in schools and we are in America.

  2. 3

    I’ve had the same thought about the 10 Commandments. And wouldn’t have an answer for your Pastor either. But you can bet I will be getting it up as soon as possible.

  3. 4
    monique says:

    That is a fabulous book, glad you have a copy.

    • 5
      Chryssi says:

      Second the comment about the book, helped me try to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be as a teenager. Gordon b. hinkley was an amazing man

  4. 6

    I will be posting the 10 Commandments in our home this week!!! Thank you for this post, Ashley! You are an PHENOMENAL mom and Boo is going to turn out to be an AMAZING person because of you!!!

  5. 7

    I’m a teacher, and I love this post. There is a FABULOUS chapter on children and guns in the book “It’s OK Not to Share” — a provocative title, but great book overall about life lessons for our kids. Essentially the author says that when our children wear eye patches and play with swords, we laugh, because what are the chances that they will actually grow up to be pirates? If we talk to our children openly about violence instead of using that energy to hide all of the guns, well maybe that’s a small step forward.

  6. 9
    Lindsey says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. God bless!!

  7. 10

    I think having religion in public institutions is very tricky. There will always be someone left out. And it is easy to say that this political correctness needs to go, but if Christian people were on the other side of things, maybe they would feel differently. Like I said, tricky. As a non-religious child, I felt very ashamed and excluded when I started at a new school where there was prayer. I was marked out as different because I couldn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer like the majority of other children and it was embarrassing. However, that doesn’t mean I wanted to be a part of that religion or that I felt I had been cheated out of a relationship with a god. It just didn’t seem fair to have to be a part of something that wasn’t shared by all. We all sang the national anthem because we were part of the same country, but the religion thing wasn’t the same. I think that for Christian people, they have the ability to seek out schools where god is a priority, and those of other or no faiths should be able to find a neutral zone at the very least.

    Also, on the topic of guns… I am not American and I have a great dislike of guns pretty much in every way. But I found that by banning toy guns, they became so much more intriguing to my son. So we have reasonable conversations about it, like when and how it is ok to play with them. For us, that was the best approach.

    • 11

      Thank you for that perspective Erica. I feel that way when I visit churches of different denominations honestly….like “how does everyone know this stuff?” As far as being Christian goes, I’ve never been offended by someone of another religion practicing something in front of me or my family….I actually have the opposite reaction…I’m usually intrigued….and always respectful. That would be my hope for all Christians. I’m sad that you had such a bad experience with prayer.

      • 12
        Michelle Wash says:

        I totally agree Ashley. I have also been to several churches just to learn from others and their outlooks on their beliefs. I find it amazing how they have been educated and have mastered some of the things they do while there. It is to me basically another form of art, and I find myself intrigued. The one thing I have noticed is that almost all religions have one thing in common; is that somewhere out there a greater power than ourselves exists. We may not all agree on what or who that is. But, the concept is the same.

  8. 13

    Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship. It’s a personal and intimate connection with God.
    I don’t think the Ten Commandments is “pushing” any kind of religion on anybody. I don’t think anybody would detest what the Ten Commandments would teach our young Americans in school.

    Honour thy father and thy mother

    -I’m sure all parents would appreciate that being thought to their children in school.

    I am a Christian, and I think that the Ten Commandments set a standard for young children. Why would any body detest the morals that they teach?
    The thing about the Ten Commandments is, they are real. They are truths that you would WANT to teach your children.
    They are not pushing “religious practices” on anyone. They set a standard for the way we are supposed to act, and behave. And I like the idea of them being taught in school.
    You cannot worry about what teachers teach your children about the bible in school. If you are a Christian, who wants their children to know the truths of the Bible, you should teach them at home. But for the unfortunate children who don’t have great standards and morals exemplified at home, the Ten Commandments are a great way to teach them how to act and behave.
    Thank you for the great post, Ashley.

  9. 15
    Mandy Allen says:

    The bible should be taught about in schools – and not necessarily to try to “convert” children to Christianity, but to teach them – all of them- about Christianity, as well as other religions and their texts. It is important for them to know the backgrounds of many religions to recognize the good in them and to understand the perspectives of many people. (An important part of this education being that the information taught is well researched and verified as what is truly taught and not based on myths and rumours.). In the process, virtues like honesty and integrity will likely be enforced, and religions will not be as feared. This goes right along with the gun topic – kids should be taught about guns and learn their appropriate uses and other appropriate information, so they don’t just get curious about them and have to find out about them under undesirable circumstances.

  10. 16

    I think people should believe what they like about religion, and hold to values of decency and respect for all regardless, but guns in houses- NO WAY! I don’t have an issue with toy guns, Nerf etc (two sons…) but I think of Columbine and I think of the statistics whereby more ‘innocent’ people are hurt by guns than ‘intruders’ and I can’t understand why anyone would want a gun in their house. (Unless they are hunters).

    • 17

      I note many people here talk about the right to bear arms for self-defence. Maybe okay IF YOU CAN GUARANTEE YOU WILL GET IT RIGHT E.V.E.R.Y. SI.N.G.L.E T.I.M.E. I thought the right of life and death was God’s alone.

      I wonder if that right to self-defence is much of a comfort for the parents of Trayvon Martin?

      • 18

        Generally speaking, people make right choices and wrong choices every day on this earth and consequences result from those choices and accompanying actions. People have agency and guarantees of outcomes from choices are not possible much less guarantees of a positive outcome from a bad decision. Accidents and bad decisions are part of the human condition. Forgiveness and love for our fellow man is one of the few things that mend wrongs and hurt feelings. There cannot be a perfect society with imperfect humans, even if some would like to attempt to create such by force or laws created by yet more imperfect humans. Freedom is important so that oppressive tyranny does not rule. There will never be earthly justice for every real or perceived wrong incurred by another.

        The right to self defense might be of comfort to George Zimmerman’s parents.

  11. 19
    Jenny Joy says:

    I full support the idea of having moral guidelines in our schools. But why do we have to use the Ten Commandments to do that? Couldn’t it be a more neutral set of rules that doesn’t single out a specific religion? Couldn’t those rules include verbiage like, “Use kind words,” and “Be respectful of others” instead? Isn’t that a compromise worth considering? Isn’t it the kind thing to do to try to honor everyone’s beliefs instead of the beliefs of the majority?
    In terms of guns, we would never celebrate them in our house. They may be considered necessary in our American society (even though I disagree.) However, we will never celebrate violence in any form.

    • 20
      christie says:

      Jenny, what religion does the TC single out? Curious.

      • 21
        Jenny Joy says:

        Christie, the TC are part of the Christian religion. Highlighting them would single out Christianity as being preferable over other religions… especially in a public school that is not supposed to favor a particular religion.

        • 22
          christie says:

          But the TC were given to the Hebrew people—Jews, so they are for them too. Muslims worship the God of Abraham, the same God the Jews and Christians worship…the same God who wrote the TC. That’s just a start…but it seems pretty inclusive. And rules such as Do Not Kill, Do Not Steal, Do Not Lie….those are great rules to teach our kids and for all people to live by! (in my opinion.) There were no Christians at the time of the writing of the TC…it always baffles me that people think they were created for “only the Christian religions”

          • 23

            It seems inclusive, with respect, if you believe in Jahweh (or, if you stretch to believe that Muslims acknowledge Moses as a prophet of Allah and, thus, a giver of laws to a specific group of people before a newer prophet came along.) If you do not believe in Jahweh (or Allah), the very first commandment tells you all you need to know. The “rules” after the first commandment are not for all people in general; they are specific to people who worship Jahweh (or Allah.) I heartily agree that teaching our children not to lie, steal, or kill is a wonderful idea, but we can teach those things to our children without commandments given to a specific group of people. The Golden Rule (which is pretty much the second commandment, isn’t it?) pretty much covers all of those things, too.

          • 24

            I find this topic fascinating- truly. But this argument leaves out the fact that there were 600+ commandments given to the disciples by Jesus. Only the first ten are valid to Christians though. So to make it inclusive of Jews (which is still just two faiths), you would need to include all 600+ of them.

            The TC is a Christian thing. Period. The end. On top of that, a LOT of Christians, including myself, try hard not to ever call themselves by that word as it has such strong (in my mind) negative connotations. It literally makes me cringe- that word. It makes me worry people will think I am pro-hate in the name of Jesus or other crazy things that are a reality for many folks.

            I don’t think the TC have need to be in a public place. They are incredibly divisive and exclusive and the first one does in fact tell many people that they are wrong in what they believe.

            Goodness, morals, right vs wrong and kindness can be taught in so many ways that don’t include the TC. If you want them in your home, church, around your neck, tatooed on your arms, car bumper, etc…go for it. Your home, your body, your private place…your business. But they aren’t for everyone. And citizens shouldn’t be made to feel less than because they don’t believe the same or practice the same (which I think is more often the case) as the popular person in the room.

            KK

  12. 25

    I love this post, Ashley! It’s very thought provoking, but I’m disappointed that so many of the comments are negative or against your viewpoint, which is also a concern I have about the direction that our country is going. I totally agree with everything that you said and “Standing for Something” is a phenomenal book!

  13. 26
    Danielle Andrew says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you! What a great mom you must be! I remember reading that book years ago… loved it! I’m thinking we need to display the ten commandments in our house as well… God bless!

  14. 27

    It is refreshing to read such thoughtful responses to such a ‘hot button’ topic and to know that people can disagree without yelling and bashing and all sorts of nasty behavior. Ashley, I really appreciate your ability convey your thoughts and feelings in such a way that people read, react and respond with dignity.

  15. 28
    Tonia Wight says:

    This is a very thought provoking piece… so I just had to comment. Like Erica, I am a non-religious (recently decided I’m actually athiest rather than agnostic which is how I was brought up), non-US resident. I live in a country which is desperately trying to understand how to teach religion and more importantly in my mind, morals, in a multi-cultural society. I am not Christian but I do hold by Christian morals, although I would not go as far as saying I would teach the 10 commandments, except as points of reference for where modern society perhaps gains its moral attitude from. However, with such a diverse population this is actually proving very difficult. There is a constant furore over whether there should be ‘faith schools’ for particular denominations as apparently it instills the more extreme beliefs of whichever faith it is representing.

    I don’t have a fully formed idea of what I think is the correct approach to religion in schools, but I do know that I am far from an expert. One thing my country needs above anything else is tolerance of differences, in particular of different religions. So would teaching all of them work?

    sorry for the rambling… you made me think! But great post Ashley as always. I take my hat off to your parenting skills as well. If only we could have more parents teaching their kids that honesty at the checkout is the best policy!

  16. 29
    Jennifer says:

    I loved reading your post and I agree with you. There are guns in my house and my kids have numerous weapons that they play with.

    I find that I am more and more concerned with loss of freedoms – including children’s freedom to playing with guns – more than I have concern for whoever has most recently been killed in a violent way.
    I think political correctness is mostly to blame. There is an excuse for everything and personal accountability for nothing. The anti-gun movement is just another way to remove personal responsibility. I don’t think legal gun ownership is to blame for any of this. I think that people lacking the concepts of the ten commandments is the problem. When nothing is your fault or responsibility there is no consequence for your actions and no thought that anyone matters beyond self. There should be personal consequences to actions, starting at home and all through life. Depending on your actions those consequences can be good or bad.

    I’d also like to point out that we have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion and no State religion. The rabid movement of prohibiting religious expression in any form is becoming a religion of it’s own and very intolerant to those who don’t agree.

  17. 30

    i love that book so much. my favorite thought..if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. so many times these days i think i fall into the trap of just not speaking up enough. it’s good to let your kids, your community and everyone else know where you stand, even if its not the popular thing.

  18. 31

    Ashely- AMEN to your whole post!!! I thought it was great, and that you presented your personal feelings and opinions in a way that was not offensive at all to others. I love how you take those opportune moments to teach Boo about God and to have those conversations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  19. 32
    chrissi says:

    Thank you for this post. I happen to agree with you, but I appreciate any commentary that is thought out and strong. It is the middle of the road, pc correct commentary of life that drives me crazy.
    On religion, I like people to take a stand. My God, their God, I don’t care but have something. We all need something greater than us to cling to in the dark times, when we feel the most vulnerable and alone. Life would be so miserable thinking this is all there is. Or it is all about me. All of the time.
    As for Boo. I have enjoyed your blog for a long time. I have laughed with you, cried with you and prayed for you, yet the line from your blog that I will always remember is when Boo and your mom were talking about the Boston bomber and she asked if she should pray for him. You are doing great. Boo gets it.♥

  20. 33

    Oh Ashley I could have cried at this post! I so needed to read this, so encouraging. I am so grateful for what God has done for all of us and I believe we need God in our schools, in our grocery stores, in our televisions, and most of all, in our government. I have the pretty unpopular belief that while all people are equal (and wonderfu!) all religions are far from equal. They can’t all be true, because truth is just another word for reality, and there is only one version of reality, regardless of peoples perceptions of it. And Jesus himself said that he is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to God except through him. That’s a pretty intolerant statement, but when you’re God, it’s a fair one to make. :O) Sorry, I’m rambling! I guess I just wanted to say, thanks for glorifying God publicly. It encourages me! And I know He loves your example to us and to Boo.

  21. 35

    As an atheist, I take issue with some of your points. I don’t believe that you need God to develop a moral compass. I don’t steal, murder, etc. and I am honest at the cash register too. It would offend me if my kids’ school posted the 10 commandments. They could, however, display a common sense moral code.

    It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your child about your beliefs and morals, which you are clearly doing (props to you).

    • 36
      christie says:

      Sara, I wonder how the TC are offensive but a ‘moral code’ wouldn’t be? What if this moral code said, Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie. Love your mother and father. Love your neighbor. ? I am guessing that the TC, which were absolutely, 100% meant to be a “moral code”, is offensive because it mentions God? So if you already don’t believe in God you really don’t focus on that anyway, the rest of the TC are wonderful moral codes, would you agree?
      You might like this: jenniferfulwiler.com :)

  22. 37

    I concur with your thoughts, your fears, your convictions and your faith! I LOVE that you wrote this peice and opened yourself up to the obvious opportunity for criticism. I am personally fed up with the backlash that comes with having an opinion these days. Being unique and informed is frowned upon as not being ‘open’ to alternatives. But what are the alternatives when we have to tear down every aspect of society that is Christian to ‘make room’ for other faith practices? How is this adding to our culture. I fail to see how depriving a society of Americans the right to express their faith publicly is justified. For over 30 years in my husband’s birth city, they have erected a nativity scene on the street corner during Christmas. Well, now there is a HUGE dreidel and several muslim symbols and a sign promoting athiesm. With the exception of the jewish symbol (for which Hannukah IS a religious holiday celebrated at the same time of year), these objects are anti-Christian. The only reason to erect them during Christmas is to try and suppress or at least openly oppose Christian tradition. I find it disturbing that a country founded in faith in God (under God, indivisible…) can be so attacked for showing that faith. Now we’ve forced that personal faithful expression out of the very place where our society learns how to become responsible adults, our schools. We’ve been paying for private school up till this coming year. I pray that my children are not criticized in their public school for their beliefs. Of course they know about different faiths and of course they know not everyone believes in God (we have very close friends who are non-Christian). OK… gotta kiss fingers of my toddler and go play with my adorable kids. Thank you for being so brave and open with your thoughts and beliefs, Ashley!

  23. 38
    christie says:

    With all due respect, I am so tired of hearing that “someone’s” religion will be “left out”…that the Ten Commandments belong to a “particular group of people”. God gave the TC to the Jewish people—they were not ONLY for the Jewish people otherwise Christians would not be following them today. Now, having said that….we homeschool our children for many reasons. A major one is so that we can have prayer and faith in every school day. But even if my children went to school we’d still pray together before they left the house. Sadly, many families don’t do that—many children don’t have respect and love for others. Perhaps if we stopped thinking as the TC as “belonging to this or that faith” and saw them as what they were meant to be, RULES TO LIVE BY, we’d have a happier, healthier, safer country! Some people have come out and said that they disagree with Ashley’s feelings that taking the TC out of public places is a possible negative thing….I ask; how many of those people do NOT teach their children 1) Do not love God, 2) Do not lie, 3) Do not steal, 4) Do not kill….? Do you oppose these rules? Do they offend you? We.Are.Way.Too.Politically Correct.In.This.Country! I mean, in so many places you can’t even put out a Creche (manger scene) at Christmas time!! Hello? Christmas is ALL about Christ’s birth! Maybe that’s not how some celebrate it, but that doesn’t change the facts! After all, Santa Clause is really fictional (hope I didn’t spill the beans for anyone) ;) I’m not saying don’t also celebrate other faiths….but how can we be offended by Christianity but not when the creche is taken down but a Mennorah is still allowed in public for Hanukkah?
    Sorry to have babbled…I had a totally different answer, Ashley but then I read other comments and THIS spewed forth! You are right though—you teach Boo from the very beginning! Eating a pop tart into the shape of a gun is NOT cause for suspension. It’s sad to sometimes have to explain to children that adults make bad choices too. My oldest is 15…it breaks my heart the reality I have to explain to her! :(
    Christie

  24. 40
    Daphne in Orange says:

    Hi Ashley,

    I have been reading this thread with interest. My children are probably older than you as they are mid-40s. I did not allow my kids to play with guns although I had fond memories of playing cowboys and indians with my brother in the 50’s. I was quite proud of my cowgirl suit.

    I am not religious in the typical way. I love and honor what I think of as God. I took my kids to a variety of churches and exposed them to many religious beliefs. Neither of my kids have been in trouble and they are good providers for their families.

    I would like religion in schools. I would wish that all religions were taught and required in high school.

    I think parents are responsible for their children and I think you are doing a good job with Boo.

    Daphne in Orange

  25. 41

    Beautifully written! Thanks for having the courage to share :)

  26. 42

    I am a long time follower, but I never comment. I had to today because this is one of my favorite posts you have ever written. Thank you for your courage to write it. I agree with everything you said.
    Love and support from Idaho

  27. 43

    Admittedly, I haven’t taken the time to read all the comments left before mine. But I find it very interesting that some people get their panties in a wad over the Ten Commandments. The only reason is because we know these are presented in the Bible. Couldn’t it just as easily be labeled the “10 Golden Rules”? Or what if these 10 life instructions were repeated in a different book of religion? Even something that seems so straight-forward as #1 could be interpreted another way. It doesn’t say “Do not worship any gods other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth”. Seriously, people. Chill out. You aren’t going to get “saved” against your will because the 10 Commandments are on display.
    To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where I stand on the whole teaching-religion-in-school topic. I think it would be nice to learn about religions in a history class, or as a cultural study of sorts, because that leaves little to argue about. But there is a fine line. Not for the teachers, but the parents. What I mean is, why can’t parents take responsibility and teach their children something so meaningful instead of depending on getting such vital lessons from their local public school? When are parents going to step *back* up to the plate and teach their children something of worth? Someone commented something along the lines of “If we don’t teach them, someone will.” That’s true. And God or the universe (whatever or whoever you want to call him, her, them…) gave us the best gift ever when we became parents. Surely we can take responsibility for teaching them our theology before expecting teacher Mrs. Smith to do it and do it perfectly.

    • 44

      You can pretend the name is something other than the TC until the cows come home but the thing is…that’s the title. They were given by Jesus. And are in the Bible. And as you said, panties are in a wad, because they are a cornerstone of a religion. They are important to so many because they were given by Jesus and are about God.

      I believe in them and find it incredibly offensive to see them on government property. They are EXclusive, not Inclusive. They are a good set or rules. But only if you can get past rule #1.

      Would you be peachy keen if similar posters went up but were instead taken from other non-Christian teachings? (For the record, I personally would not be OK with that either. For me, faith is so very personal. I don’t need it to be on public display or force it upon others. But again…that’s just me._

      KK

  28. 46
    Charity says:

    Ashley,
    I read pretty often, and rarely comment… I too am thrilled with your witness here. You are an amazing Mom, and I have loved watching as you are more and more open about the Lord. As we walk in the days that we are in there is SO much more resistance to the things of God. It hurts my heart, as there is but one true God, and only one way to heaven… Jesus is THE way the truth and the life. I pray right now for every one of your readers, that they will have ears to hear (ummm, eyes to read?!) what the Spirit of God is saying. I believe God has a call on your life Ashley, and I am loving watching that be cultivated. There is more to come… SO many people need to hear… need hope, joy, peace ect. I Pray and speak Gods richest blessings over you and your family, I thank Him for the plans and purposes He has… I ask that He continues to take you to new levels in your walk with Him, that you would experience an encounter with His presence that will rock your world! :-) There is nothing. better. ever. This world has nothing to offer that can touch the fullness of the presence of our awesome Lord and Savior! ♥
    Much love to you… thank you for using that gift of encouragement you have… your a blessing! ♥
    Blessings & hugs,
    Charity <

  29. 47

    I agree with your post. I tried to reply to Christine West Garcia but couldn’t b/c I don’t use FB, etc. She behaves in a way that she sees as moral. There in lies the problem. Her avatar “Stand With Texas Women” means that she supports abortion. If her daughter is upset with guns and stuff how would she react to abortion and stuff? I read all the comments and hers were the most upsetting for me. She has eyes but can not see; ears but can not hear. I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch her heart and open her eyes and ears.
    I believe God will honor you and your family for teaching your daughter His ways.

    • 48
      TX woman says:

      There is no such thing as “supporting abortion.” There is supporting women’s rights and the rights to make our own decisions about our bodies in conjunction with our doctor’s best advice. “Stand With Texas Women” means to stand with Texas women. It does not mean to condemn them and condescend to praying the Holy Spirit will touch anyone.

  30. 49

    This was an excellent post!

  31. 50
    Badminton Queen says:

    When the angels sound their trumpets, signaling Jesus’ return, I pray for all of the non-believers. I have no doubt that heaven exists and that those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will be accepted into the kingdom. I can’t imagine living life not knowing this! It really does set you free! I am saddened for those who do not believe this and even more so that anyone would find this offensive.

  32. 51
    Georgie says:

    I personally do not follow any one religion but would also not put myself under the atheist header either. (I guess this makes me a religious drifter?!)
    So its really interesting for me to read everyones comments and opinions on this subject.
    I have to admit to leaning towards the argument against having the 10 commandments in schools. And for one reason only, the first commandment!
    We live in the UK and my children attend a very multi-cultural, multi-religion school. And I would find it hard to see those words on the wall knowing the message it sends to a large majority of the children attending there.
    I think we need to find a way to have religion in schools in a non-biased way. Tricky I know!
    Our school celebrates lots of religious festivals and teaches the children about them all. I like the respect this gives the children of others beliefs. No one (appears) to hold the belief that they are right and others are wrong and I think in the world we live in today, this can only be a good thing.

    On your gun control topic. If I am honest, I find it unbelievable. Coming from a country where guns are illegal and our gun crime is ridiculously low (especially in comparison to yours) I just do not understand why Americans are still fighting to be allowed to keep them. I find the whole thing truly amazing, but perhaps this is a cultural difference?

  33. 52
    Shannon says:

    I read your post and all the comments. It breaks my heart for our nation. I prayed before I posted a comment, because my words are so insignificant. I picked up my Bible and opened it…I landed exactly on this scripture. Acts 1:7. It says…”It is not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” For everyone that reads this scripture may you be blessed, we will always pray for you. Thank you for your witness, may we all stand strong and hold on tightly to what we believe. At His feet, Shannon

  34. 53

    Ashley – as a fellow Presbyterian I understand your feelings and agree with you that God WAS with those innocent children and school staff at Sandy Hook. I was very happy to watch The Bible that Roma Downey and her husband produced earlier this spring. I found that I had to turn the sound off at times because there was just so much killing and at age 63 it bothered me. I don’t know if it would have bothered me at a younger age. My daughter is 27 years old and when she was a toddler if she was watching the Flintstones she would cover her eyes with her precious little hands and leave the TV set for another room. I was proud that violence bothered her rather than excited her and in her innocence she removed herself from watching it. My point is that violence has been a part of our planet in biblical times as well as growing up in the 60s. We no longer require folks to slaughter animals to paint their blood on our door frames for religious reasons. I used to tell my daughter to talk to Jesus just as she would talk to me as we were driving to the school bus stop, whether is was about a school concern or a family concern because she would verbally say I want to be a child of God to me. As an adult she is very into her spiritual growth and has great interest in learning and developing insights into why people feel the way they do about their faith. This is something that she takes very seriously on her own. No one forced her into attendance or study of religion…she attended our Presbyterian church and participated in their programs, she attended Vacation Bible School some years, and also a christian summer camp. I think if you offer children guidance and display regard for others through even through the girl scout motto, they pick it up if their hearts are open to it. I think the Sandy Hook killer just had a heart that wasn’t open to these same teachings because he was excited by violence at some point perhaps. I personally do not want to own a gun but I did grow up with guns on our farm for hunting and also if an animal had to be put down for various health reasons. I could never kill an animal however even though it was done by family members for food. I can’t even go fishing because I would never put a hook in my cat’s mouth so why would I put one in a fishes mouth? My point here is that I was around all of that as a youngster and took it forgranted as a part of our life, however, as an adult I don’t condone it and neither does my daughter. Your daughter has a “good heart” just like my daughter and she will keep her “good heart” as an adult, you’ll see. My daughter tells me that she always knew she was loved and you know your daughter for sure knows she is loved.

  35. 54

    I have followed you for a couple of years now, but have never commented on anything. I needed to today! It has been very interesting to read all the comments, and what surprises me the most is all the positive comments. It fills my heart with joy that so many people feel the same way I do. Thank you for posting this thread today and saying what you said.

  36. 55
    Krista Hansen says:

    I love that you stand up for your faith! It’s part of you, just like mine is part of me. That is a great book you picked up! We like to take it a chapter at a time (usually over a month) and teach that virtue in age appropriate ways to our kids.

  37. 56

    I am an atheist and have very strong morals. I am a school teacher. I teach the Golden Rule.
    I am tolerant, pro-choice, pro-Earth, pro-human, and I’m against guns and wars… A person does not need God to be a great human being.
    Why are there so many Christians who do not live by the Golden Rule? They think that only some people deserve to be treated as they would like to be treated. Honestly, it’s disgusting.

    • 57
      TX woman says:

      Also an atheist, but I must say here: amen, sista. There are so many other things to fight about – must we fight about something no one can be 100% correct about? Let’s stop arguing about all this stuff and just be decent human beings, shall we?

  38. 58
    Charlene says:

    Thank you for your post. This morning, my friend and I were discussing how our religion, and the way we live our religion encompasses more than just Sunday service. It is a “lifestyle” we choose to follow, and how living that lifestyle has influenced our lives and our families. She told me she made a conscious decision to teach her children about religion and God her way, because if she didn’t, the world would teach them otherwise.

    I do think each and every human being can learn integrity, morality, honesty, and kindness, with or without religion. I need to be free to teach my children these character traits in whatever way I feel is the best to do so, and the way I choose is through religion, and adherence to the principles taught to us through our religion.

    Each person has free will, and can make choices for themselves. Yes, that includes my children, once they reach the age where they are mature enough to make those decisions for themselves, realizing the consequences that each choices bring. And, I will do my best to train them in their youth to be decent human beings, to have faith in God, and hopefully they will continue along this path as they then begin their own families someday.

  39. 59

    I’m looking forward to seeing those letters! :)

  40. 60
    Stefanie Jensen says:

    I’m not very religious, but I do preach two basic rules of life to my children. First is the golden rule,” Do unto others as you’d have done to you”. It’s so simple and it speaks volumes. Also it applies to every life choice.
    Second I tell teach them the old saying, “To each their own”. We go boating on Sunday, most of our neighbors go to church. Neither choice is right or wrong. We just need to be respectful of the choices of others.
    It all comes down to being a kind tolerant people and hoping that other will return the favor.

  41. 61

    Two things i want to say: As long as there are tests in school there will be prayer right before they start… and what about all those white crosses and stars of david on the side of the publicly owned roads, should we take those down as well??? or are the just reminders of where an accident killed someone??

  42. 62

    I have that book it is amazing! So glad you found it!

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  1. […] don’t even know where it’s heading. I don’t even know how the Ten Commandments became part of that last post. It’s not like I woke up and decided: hey, I should write a post on guns and religion! It’s like […]

  2. […] she could come up with an illustrated piece of art that I could hang in my home after having that discussion with my pastor on the 10 commandments.  Stephanie always come through with something […]