By Greg J. Dixon
On this date thirty years ago, a dozen squad cars and eighteen sheriff’s deputies and state police officers converged on a small church in Louisville, Nebraska, nestled in the cornfields, halfway between Omaha and Lincoln and proceeded to carry 100 men, mostly preachers of the gospel, out of the church sanctuary. The preachers had gathered from as far as Denver on the West and Virginia on the East to stand with Pastor Everett Sileven and the congregation of the Faith Baptist Church over the issue of the State licensure of their educational ministry. They had a wee Christian school in the basement of their church, numbering the colossal threat to the State of Nebraska, of a total of twenty students. But Satan couldn’t allow any to escape from being indoctrinated into the philosophy of the New World Order. This is what is really meant by “No child left behind.”
Two books have chronicled the events of those halcyon days. The Day They Padlocked The Church by H. Edward Rowe and The Story of America’s First Padlocked Church And It’s Jailed Pastor by Dr. Everett Sileven. In his book Ed Rowe explains the dramatic events that preceded the raid of the 18th, two weeks prior. “It happened on “Black Friday” Sept. 3, 1982. On that day Cass County Sheriff, Fred Tesch, acting on a bench warrant by Judge Raymond J. Case, drove out to Louisville, Nebraska, and arrested a man of God while ministering in the pulpit of his church. They locked him jail with common criminals and later padlocked his church. The man of God was Pastor Everett Sileven.
This is his story and the story of the valiant members of the Faith Baptist Church and the students of Faith Christian School. It is the story of struggle and survival in the midst of a rising tide of state tyranny in America. “
Pastor Sileven spent over two-hundred days in the Cass County Jail at Plattsmouth and seven fathers who had their children in the school, who refused to remove them, spent ninety days in jail. Nebraska’s case against Pastor and Mrs. Sileven, Faith Christian School and seven teachers and officials, started in an action filed by Paul L. Douglas, the Attorney General for the State on April 24, 1979. The charges included the following nine violations of Nebraska school laws:
All of these are unbiblical and unconstitutional. The school would no longer be a church school, it would be a state controlled and operated school, teaching sex Ed, evolution, socialism and preparing the children for the New World Order, etc.
After several years of intense struggle the battle was finally won by Faith Baptist Church when the Nebraska legislature changed the law, allowing churches to conduct schools unapproved by the state. A great debt of gratitude is owed to Pastor Everett Sileven and his wife Tressie. Some years later Pastor Sileven changed his name to his birth father’s name of Ramsey and Pastor and Mrs. Ramsey now reside in Vista, Missouri where Bro. Ramsey is still active in preaching and writing.