Students Keeping Faith

Geehring and Kinter reading their bibles.

Geehring and Kinter reading their bibles.

          17-year-old Cassie Bernall sat underneath the library table, the man’s gun pointed in her face. “Do you believe in Jesus?” he asked her, demanding an answer. She did not hesitate to say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus.” The man scoffed and let out the word, “Why?” yet did not give her the chance to respond. She lay dead at his feet.
          This scene could have happened in any number of countries around the world today where people are being placed into jails, tortured, and killed every day because they refuse to deny the name of Jesus; however, it happened at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
          Do you believe in Jesus?
          There’s bullying for weight, grades and clothes and it’s constantly publicized about how it leads to suicide, but what about the bullying for faith that has led to murder?
          Even at Southmoreland High School (and surrounding schools), the few Christians who are open about their faith and dedication to God get bullied, almost every day.
           Bailey Geehring, a freshman, knows exactly what this is like. She has believed in God her whole life, but her faith has just recently begun to grow and get stronger after beginning to attend Word of Life Ministries’s Youth Group properly entitled “Refuel”. While sitting in her science class, she is mocked for her beliefs.
          “It all started in science class when we started learning evolution,” explained Geehring. “I try to talk to the people who tell me I’m wrong and I tell them why I believe what I do, but I never treat them differently.
          Senior, Ty Kinter, went to Mount Carmel Christian School in Mount Pleasant for kindergarten through 10th grade. He then began to attend Southmoreland his junior year. While his experience is not as often as Geehring’s, he still is a victim of people trying to tell him he is wrong in what he believes.
          “It’s only sometimes, but people just kind of scoff at the idea of what I believe,” said Kinter. “It’s not that hard [to keep my faith] because of my personality. I tell people what I believe and I stand up for myself.”
          At Mount Carmel, students are exposed to both evolution and creation so that they are exposed to both sides of the story.
          Ever since the Supreme Court ruled it out, Religion has not been allowed to be taught in public schools. Districts are unable to share anything that is biblical or about God simply because the United States has banned it. Christians in the public school system think it’s ridiculous.
         “I don’t think its right. They say that they want you to believe your own thing, yet at the same time they completely shun the idea of God,” said Geehring. “People who are brought up as Christians start to disbelieve when their teachers are telling them God isn’t real.”
         Chris Mardis, a 19-year-old from Connellsville, was the victim of a teacher telling him he was ignorant for what he believed in Connellsville school district. He went to the school from kindergarten up through 8th grade, which was the year he was mocked, leading him to the decision that he was going to transfer to Mount Carmel.
          “My science teacher made the statement that ‘anyone who believes in creation is a moron,’” said Mardis. “It was a direct stab at what I believed.”
          Mardis then spoke with the vice principal and she suspended the teacher from teaching for a few weeks. To his knowledge, the teacher hasn’t been back.
          “I hope that he has come to know the truth,” said Mardis.
           Public schools cannot teach creation, which upsets the students who are firm Christians. This also leads to a high amount of bullying. An atheist isn’t constantly mocked, but a Christian is quickly shot down for showing up to school with a cross around their neck.
          Teachers and students around the country will fight that teaching creation is offensive to non-believers, yet at the same time, it doesn’t matter that evolution is offensive to Christians.
          “I like to think of a court,” said Mardis. “Both sides of the story are presented and the jury decides the verdict. It wouldn’t make much sense to only hear one side in a courtroom, so why are we doing it with creation and evolution? Teach both sides and let the students decide what’s right.”
          Kinter, Mardis, and Geehring all stand firm in their beliefs and make it a point to never back down and encourage others to do so as well.
          “Never give up,” said Geehring. “Jesus died for you- continue to live for him.”

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