Minister of Education Report
Lest We Forget Department
Four Years Ago in 1999
Time flies by very quickly. We scarce realize how quickly our lives are spent. During the past four years American freedoms and the liberties of Christians have been greatly eroded. But I have to remind you that we have been struggling against the “mystery of iniquity” for some time. The current struggles to maintain liberty and Christian rights were going full force four years ago.
On 31 August 1999, John Keyes a Liberty University student began serving a six-month jail term for sharing the Gospel and speaking against abortion on a high school campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. Among the many incidents that have happened, I want to remind you about this one because it stands as a prime example of the spiritual wickedness in high places we struggle against.
Keyes was convicted of trespassing even though 45 police officers testified that he and 150 other demonstrators were well behaved and left promptly when asked to do so. The police issued no citations and made no arrests at the scene of the protest.
Prosecutors said the conviction and sentence would send a “message” to future protesters. Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association’s Center for Law and Policy said the message was “Christians who dare to share the gospel at or near government schools will go to jail.”
The unprecedented harsh sentence was meted out by Judge Richard S. Miller who has allowed persons convicted of grand larceny, cocaine possession, and assault and battery to avoid all jail time. Court records reveal that he had given people charged with such things as felony hit and run and felony escape only 3 months of jail time. Evidently this judge considered preaching the gospel to high school students a greater offense.
The same year this was going on, the United Religions Initiative was launching its mobilization for peace project, with as many religions as it could possibly include represented. The twentieth century, called humanity’s bloodiest, was about to end. As in the courtroom, the URI minions gathered for peace would never consider tolerating those who follow Jesus Christ alone.
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