Life in the Valley of Riches

Mary and Joseph might be able to attend, but Jesus is not allowed in the mangers during the 4-H fat stock show and the subsequent sale.
Back in January, during public comments at the county commissioners’ weekly business session it was brought up that children were not allowed to wear a cross on their 4-H club shirts. I’ve never heard anything else about it so I assumed it wasn’t true or had been dealt with.
Apparently, the kerfuffle with religion and 4-H is based on two groups: Faithful Farmers and JOE’s Place.
In the first instance, the “t” in “Faithful” was designed to be a cross.
The second one is even more egregious: JOE’s Place stands for Jesus Over Everything. JOE’s Place is a group that feeds children a few times a week at the River Valley Restaurant in Cave Junction. Group founder Darron Williams said during a January 2023 community meeting that it was determined that nearly 20 JOE’s Place livestock group members could not participate in 4-H fat stock shows as a religious club.
Something about banning Jesus from the manger seems ironic.
“Separation of church and state.” I hear this often, but there is nothing in the Constitution that stipulates that.
Thomas Jefferson, along with many of the Founding Fathers, are said to be deeply religious and did not hide their convictions while working in government.
“First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
What this means is that with each new president we won’t have a new religion or punish others like what happened in England.
Jefferson’s phrase “separation of church and state” comes from a letter he wrote Jan. 1, 1802 to a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the commonwealth of Connecticut.
“ … American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. …”
In the end, allowing children who want to participate in 4-H, while giving glory to their God, is not a First Amendment issue.
Isn’t it time to let children be children and let parents parent their own children the way they see fit? Certainly, there are worse ways to raise a child than encouraging them to have faith in a higher power whatever that might be.
Thank you for picking up this week’s paper. Enjoy!