Crowds of people gathered together on Saturday, August 10, 2013, in Cullman County to pray for their community schools and colleges. The reasons are crystal clear. At school after school, in crowds so large there was standing-room only, parents, grandparents, neighbors and children closed their eyes and bowed their heads for a common purpose.
The measure of the crowd was not determined by the stylish clothes they were wearing or the expensive trucks and cars they were driving. The measure of the crowd was determined by the sincere and earnest intention they all felt to ask for God’s blessings on the students, teachers, staffers and administrators who will soon begin a new school year in their communities.
Their intention was to exercise their power: to remove the bitter sting of laws their legislators created and Governor Bentley signed in Montgomery this year to take taxpayers’ money away from their schools and give it to rich people whose children go to private schools. Their intention was to ask God to empower their prayers to bring new, stronger leadership to Montgomery and to their local school boards.
Their heartfelt prayers were to remove weak, selfish politicians from office who take revenue from schools and colleges and give it to wealthy individuals and corporations who hoard it for their personal gain. Their prayers were to free them of corrupt leadership whose only focus is on disrespecting teachers and taking benefits from educators, bus drivers, school nurses and principals who sacrifice their own paychecks to protect their students, maintain their classrooms and sustain their schools.
Their prayers were extended to students and parents who are struggling in hard, harsh economic times. They asked God to give their local and state leadership the courage to ask the citizens of Alabama to participate in shared sacrifice—to insist that wealthy individuals and corporations that take natural and human resources from this state give back a fair share of their profits in taxes to generate real revenue for schools and colleges.
They asked that God guide their legislators in Montgomery to stop penalizing teachers with bad laws that rob public education dollars and asked Governor Bentley to stop colluding with greedy politicians by signing legislation that robs taxpayers, shuts down schools and kills good communities. Their pure and soulful intentions will not be ignored by the One who heard their prayers and will deliver them from the hateful scourge of weak leaders and bad laws. Those of us who were with them in spirit appreciate their effort, support their causes and join with them in asking that God heal our hearts, strengthen our leadership, embolden our educators and guide us all toward an unflinching focus on excellence in public education in Alabama.