Saturday, April 29, 2017

Buster Singleton weighs in on the school prayer controversy from his 'stump'

George Buster Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “A time for war, a time for peace, a time for prayer” was originally published in the April 11, 1991 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

I see by the news that the school prayer controversy is once again becoming a large issue. I don’t profess to be intelligent, but I think this is a most ridiculous issue for our Supreme Court to consider.

I have felt for some time that I need to take a stand for the very thing that has made this country what it is today. So now, I will get on my stump and say my piece; if you feel like throwing something at me, please throw something soft – like a balloon or a bowl of ice cream. Remember, I bruise easily.

Let us go back in time to the start of the trouble in the Middle East. As our friend Saddam Hussein was rattling his saber, we began to see the need to muster our troops and make ready for possible deployment to the sands of the Saudi desert. As the days passed, our president made this decision and our sons and daughters were on their way. There seemed no way out, other than direct war with Iraq and their idiot leader, Saddam.

As our troops were loading on board the large aircraft and ocean-going battle wagons, the school prayer issue was on the back burner in the highest court of the land. But guess what happened? There was no way that one could turn on their television or radios or read a newspaper that the words, “Pray for our troops” weren’t seen or heard. We were doing once again what we had done in all four wars that I remember: We were calling on God to once again protect us from harm. The school prayer issue would have to wait for now; we needed God’s help.

Special prayers were held in all of our meetings; our president requested prayer each time he made a public appearance. Even some of the deadbeats in congress were asking for divine guidance. Everyone was afraid that we would be forgotten in our quest for victory in the sands of the desert. Even those who pushed the school prayer issue the hardest were bumping their knees. Once again we proved that we are a two-faced nation.

What is wrong with allowing our youth to pray in school? Do we want to use our greatest gift that this country has like a dose of medicine? If, by chance, there is someone in our schools who doesn’t believe there is a God, let them be allowed to leave the room during the time of prayer.

I have been many places during my lifetime. I have been a part of several experiences that caused me to look to the heavens and ask for strength and guidance. And not one time have I been turned down. Not one time. There is no greater feeling on this earth than to travel alone to the top of some high hill and raise your arms to the heavens and feel his strength flow downward, refreshing both body and soul.

We have just finished and won the shortest war in our history. Many of our sour-faced congressmen predicted that our casualty numbers would be over 10,000. But they didn’t know who was on our side. We lose more lives during a week’s time in some of our larger cities in homicides than we did in the Middle East fighting.

Let us not deprive our youth from doing what all our citizens should do. We are a God-fearing nation; there is no way that we could have accomplished so much in so short a time had we not had the blessings of our Lord.

As I get ready to step down from my stump, I will share with you my secret. I will share with you my source of strength. When I find myself in a tight place and know I cannot handle the situation alone, I know where to look: Isaiah 40:31.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not be faint.

If anyone who reads this has any doubts, make an effort to witness a beautiful eagle, with outstretched wings, sailing across the heavens. There is nothing more graceful and nothing more strengthening.

(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

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