By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
More than a half century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision declaring prayer as being unconstitutional in American schools.
Since then, numerous attempts have been made to remove the exercise of Christian worship from not only schools but also government buildings and businesses.
That, according to many across the country, has led to a decline in the nation’s morals, and with recent attacks on the Christian faith, including military personnel being told they cannot exercise their faith through prayer, a lot of Americans now feel a country which is commonly believed to have once belonged to the Lord is being taken away from them.
National efforts are now underway to take America back, and on Saturday, June 21, one such event will take place locally as a group’s way of declaring Liberal as belonging to Jesus and God.
Tobias Park at Fifth and Lincoln will host a Liberal march for Jesus, and coordinator Janice Diaz said praying will take place throughout the day for city and county commissioners, police officers and for leadership to make decisions that are in the best interest of the community.
“Basically, we’re just declaring God has hold of this city,” she said.
Diaz said worship will start around 10 a.m. June 21 to get everybody in the atmosphere of the event, followed by prayers from various leaders in Liberal. The march itself will kick off at 11 a.m.
“I have a committee with different churches coming together and different people pitching in different things,” Diaz said.
A similar march had taken place in Liberal in 1990, and Diaz said this year’s event was something the Lord put into her heart to do, believing local churches would come together and God is about to do something in the community.
“I felt the Lord was telling me He was about to bring a breakthrough in the spiritual realm in our city,” she said. “I just thought it was the time to do it again. We’ve never done a Liberal march for Jesus.”
Diaz said she is hoping the march for Jesus is something that will take place every year.
“We’re hoping for every year just to be bigger and people come and make a stand for Jesus,” she said. “It’s not a denominational thing. It’s just people who love God and love Jesus and want to see this city be under God and His authority.”
In the past, many churches of different denominations seem to have been divided when it comes to working together, but Diaz said she has seen more recent unity between local churches.
“Back then, it would’ve a little bit more difficult to get all the churches together, but I think churches are realizing we need to come together and just forget about our differences,” she said. “It’s not about denominations. It’s about Jesus. All the churches are coming together, and they’re excited. They’re all wanting to do something for the event.”
After the march, there will be time to give praise to Jesus, along with a live band.
“We’re hoping to get balloons and as a finish, just throw them up in the air and build the ‘Liberal for Jesus’ or something like that,” Diaz said.
The coordinator added she is happy to see the excitement from local churches to become involved in the march.
“We built a committee,” she said. “We have people from the Baptist church. We have people from the Assemblies of God church and just different denominations. We have extended the invitation to everybody.”
The hopes of the march, according to Diaz, is to serve as an example to other communities.
“Maybe, they’ll start doing a march to take their city for God,” she said. “That’s the purpose of this. We’re literally taking our city and saying, ‘Although the word of God has been taken out of government and has been taken out of the courts, we’re declaring this city still belongs to Jesus. Even if people high up in the government don’t want to realize that, as a city, we’re coming together.”
Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer recently gave the go-ahead for the march, and Diaz said the group putting on the event has “backup from God” as well.
“We’re not doing something legal without permission,” she said. “We’re hoping this to be an example for the other cities if they want to see the crime rates go down and they want to see our governors make better decisions. America right now is not in a good state.”
Diaz said no matter what happens to other cities, on June 21st, Liberal will be declared to be under God and belonging to Jesus.
“God’s going to protect it because we’ve made a stand for him and not taking him out,” she said.
The hope of the group, Diaz said, is that smaller communities in the area will take the ideas of the march and run with them.
“We’ll be willing to help them,” she said. “We’re starting small, and maybe in the future, they’ll be Kansas for Jesus.”
Diaz added many people living in those surrounding communities see Liberal as their hometown.
“We’re hoping we can get to them through letters,” she said. “We’re hoping to reach more communities. We’re asking them to bring their church vans, their cars, put a sign on it, just something fun.”
The march not only impacts different faiths throughout the community, but different cultures as well, according to Diaz.
“We have other cultures we need to involve with the event,” she said. “A lot of times, the city does events or churches do events, but it’s just them. We need to get other cultures when it has something to do with Jesus. These other cultures, they want to participate, and they’re just excited we got them involved.”