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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Brent Walker & BJC Discussed At The Daily Kos

Fred Clarkson of Talk2Action has written an exellent diary at The Daily Kos entitled Confronting Lies About The Separation of Church And State. He quotes extensively from Brent Walker's popular sermon Answering The Top 10 Lies About Church And State delivered in September, 2005 at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta.

Clarkson's diary comes on the heels of heated discussion between himself and several Democratic consultants.

Clarkson begins...
It has recently become fashionable among some Democratic Party consultants to advise candidates not to talk about separation of church and state. Among their publicly stated reasons is that the phrase is not in the Constitution, and it raises "red flags with people of faith." I have written about how such thinking is identitical to that of the religious right. I was called a lot of names for pointing this out, but the facts remain. I also pointed out that many religious people are not in infact, concerned about the cause and the language of separation, what's more they embrace it.
And here is how he ends...

So the next time you hear Democrats mouthing the slogans and Conventional Wisdom of the religious right, you might suggest that they take it up with the Baptists.
Check out Clarkson and if you haven't already, read Walker.

Below I have included Walker's Top 10 Lies Concerning Church And State...

1. Our nation's Founders were born-again, Bible-believing evangelical Christians, or our Founders were Enlightenment rationalists who worshipped the "goddess of reason," or our Founders were Deists who posited a watch-maker God and were suspicious of religious "enthusiasms."

2. We don't have a separation of church and state in America because those words are not even in the Constitution.

3. The separation of church and state comes from mid-19th century anti-Catholic bigotry and 20th century secularism.

4. The U.S.A. is a Christian nation.

5. Church-state separation only keeps the government from setting up a single national church or showing preference among denominations or faith groups, but not from aiding all religions on a non-preferential basis.

6. The First Amendment only applies to the federal government, not to the states.

7. The Ten Commandments form the basis of our legal system.

8. God has been kicked out of the public schools.

9. God has been kicked out of the public square.

10. The Baptist Joint Committee cares more about No Establishment than it does Free Exercise.

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Anonymous rc said...

I believe (like the daily Kos guys) that a vigorous separation of church and state is vital for the survival of an open constitutional republic like the US.

Unfortunately, the effects of a growing government necessarily box out efforts and ministries traditionally within the domain of churches. So if a church wants to open a food bank and take part in the subsidies or funding helps that the government offers, there are all sorts of blocks set up in the way.

When you consider that subsidies and federal helps are set up for activities which the govenment wants to encourage, these roadblocks and miles of red tape end up being outside the best interests of the government, the church, and the people. Look to hurricane relief to see how dependant the gov't is on church ministries.

Yet, those blocks and tape still might be necessary. That's unfortunate... though I don't think folks like the DailyKos guys seem to care.

Maybe they would, if they considered this perspective:

Most folks say that the roots of the separation of church and state come from a Virginia law to that effect, written by Thomas Jefferson. Wish I remember what it was called. Anyway, during debate, they settled on a language that said (basically)- because our Creator made us with free will to choose Him, the State must extend that free will to its citizens. There must be no compulsion of religion.

It is also noteworthy that a generic word for God was chosen, rather than Christ. This was intentional- to be as agreeable and applicable to as many worldviews as possible. But interestingly enough, God was still the basis.

This 'God gives free will' notion should not be new to any of us, but its use reveals an important point: freedom of religion is not protection from Christianity, it's a logical extension of what Christians believe.

I wish Christians would keep this in mind more when they rail against the separation. And I really wish nonChristians would keep this in mind when using separation as a bludgeon against Christian beliefs.

7:54 AM


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