My father, a fundamentalist baptist Minister, opposed, (no he was actually angered), by public events that included pray. He based his opinion of such acts on the verses which you can check out here: http://bible.cc/matthew/6-5.htm and here http://bible.cc/matthew/6-6.htm and here http://bible.cc/mark/12-17.htm and here http://bible.cc/john/9-31.htm. He agreed with Billy Graham that what these verses made abundantly clear was that ” Sin erects a barrier between us and god. Until that barrier is torn down, God can’t answer our prayers.” and therefore God would only here one pray from anyone not already “Saved” and that was the prayer to be saved (see the reference to John 9.31 above) and therefore unless the person offering the prayer was such, the so-called prayer at a public event was a mockery of prayer and further, that if the person was such he would obey the command that he do his praying in secret. In my father’s opinion these so-called prayers at public events not only mocked prayer and God but directly violated the commandment to Render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what was God’s. My father’s biggest complaint about Martin Luther King Jr was not that he was trying to end segregation, but that as an ordained Baptist Minister he had no business getting involved in political affairs but should be rendering unto God that which is God’s…namely working to bring the lost to salvation…and leaving the affairs of Caesar to Caesar. He would have been appalled that a “so called Baptist Minister” (those are the words he would have used) would run for Governor of Arkansas, and that he would then run for President would have left him beside himself and Gov. Perry’s assertion that God has “Called” him to run for President would have left him so angry that he would have been speechless. This is not something I’ve imagined. He specifically and more than once made these views clear to me. I am very proud of my Dad for having bequeathed to me his absolute devotion to the separation of Church and State. Those who believe in freedom OF religion but deny the right to freedom FROM religion are in full agreement with the Taliban and others of their ilk that religion (theirs) should be forced upon everyone. This is NOT what the founding fathers meant by freedom of religion. In fact they never used that phrase in the Declaration of independence or in the Constitution. As thomas jefferson put it “…religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate 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 an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Those are Jefferson own words and they were written to a BAPTIST congregation. My father believed in them with all his heart and soul. I guess this is the reason I am so adamant about the subject and why the “so-called” Christian right makes me so angry. It’s not because I have rejected the religious beliefs of my Dad but that these “so-called” Christians would never have been recognized as “Christian” by my father who’s Christian faith was the totality of his existence. He WAS a Baptist. and “…as Baptists were founded on several guiding distinctives among which are the following: priesthood of all believers, autonomy of the local church, soul competency, and separation of Church and State.” Remember the Inquisition. Remember the Holocaust. Remember 9-11. Now tell me you really believe that Religion and Politics should get mixed together.
I apologize if I have offended anyone by expressing my views, but I will never apologize for being an American and being devoted to the principles of our founding fathers…and my own father.
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