Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Give me liberty or give me death. The predominant theme in the news these days is with regard to what most of the country and certainly the media refers to as - "religious zealots", and the obvious threat they are to our liberty. Bill Marr recently said that: "Right wing Christianity is a greater threat to America than Al-Qaida". The fact that he would say such a thing doesn't affect me a bit. The fact that he would receive a standing ovation, does. The overriding (overreaching) fear seems to be, that if a Right-wing Zealot gets into the Whitehouse, he will immediately begin to cram his beliefs down everyone's throat. (I'm worse than that, I wish it were so). This couldn't be farther from the truth. When we came here, the great migration from Europe, the single greatest motivator for this exodus was to Flee Religious Persecution. There had been for hundreds of years, a Church Run State. Folks were taxed to support the Church, whether they believed likewise, or not. Beyond that, if you held a belief which was different from the State Religion and had the audacity to espouse it in a public forum you could be beaten, run out of town, or even killed. This persecution had the undesired effect of spreading reformed Christianity throughout Europe, and ultimately to The New World. We couldn't seem to get it out of our blood though, as in New England some Congregationalists established a theocracy through the Cambridge Platform of 1648, whereby citizens were taxed to support the Church.
Baptist had long been lobbying with regard to your religious freedom (whether you are a believer or not), and in 1802, President Jefferson with regard to the First Amendment, wrote to a group of Baptists in Danbury Connecticut: "BELIEVING WITH YOU THAT RELIGION IS A MATTER WHICH LIES SOLELY BETWEEN MAN AND HIS GOD, THAT HE OWES ACCOUNT TO NONE OTHER FOR HIS FAITH OR HIS WORSHIP, THAT THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT REACH ACTIONS ONLY, NOT OPINIONS, I CONTEMPLATE WITH SOVEREIGN REVERENCE THAT ACT OF THE WHOLE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHICH DECLARED THAT THEIR LEGISLATURE SHOULD MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF, THUS BUILDING A WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE". And what was the liberty desired? Was it to cram their theology down the throats of the masses? Was it offensive or defensive? The answer is: "AS THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST IS NOT OF THIS WORLD, AND RELIGION IS A CONCERN BETWEEN GOD AND THE SOUL, WITH WHICH NO HUMAN AUTHORITY CAN INTERMEDDLE, CONSISTENTLY WITH THE PRINCIPALS OF CHRISTIANITY, AND ACCORDING TO THE DICTATES OF PROTESTANTISM, WE CLAIM AND EXPECT THE LIBERTY OF WORSHIPPING GOD ACCORDING TO OUR CONSCIENCES, NOT BEING OBLIGATED TO SUPPORT A MINISTRY WE CANNOT ATTEND, WHILST WE DEMEAN OURSELVES AS FAITHFUL SUBJECTS" - (the Warren Association before John Adams, Samuel Adams, Robert T. Paine, and Thomas Cushing, in Sept. of 1774). What am I saying? Most non-Christians who probably aren't reading this anyway, think us a conglomeration of self righteous, dogmatic, narrow minded fairy tale chasers who desire to take everyone into captivity. Fasten your pew belt. If it weren't for zealous self sacrificing Christians, you would be subject to a State Run Religion. I don't know what it would look like, but every other civilization in history, has either succumb or is struggling/warring with such. When you get to curse God, mock Christians or God's Holy Word, you can thank a Christian for your right to do that. The Irony is that when a political candidate espouses his beliefs, (usually goaded into it) he is persecuted. Conversely, when a pragmatic candidate smiles at the camera and says: "I am a devout Christian, but I would never allow my beliefs to influence my decisions", I call hoyaa. Jesus is either Lord of all, or Lord of nothing. If I get to compartmentalize my obedience, He is not God, I make myself to be. Proverbs 3:5-6 = "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths". If this is true, and it is, then if I don't acknowledge His Lordship in All of my ways, I'm on my own, and what is the use. For over a hundred years, we Christians have circled the wagons, and drawn the shades, and I cannot. "Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." Psalm 94:17.