Friday, August 14, 2009
Two Roads to Religion and Civil Law
Moderator's note: Below is posted the remarks of Jim Huff, executive secretary of the Oklahoma City chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (www.au.org) He and I attended the July Reclaim event in Edmond, and Mr. Huff attended the New Baptist Norman event. Decide for yourself which venue had a better representation of what it means to be religious, as well as supportive and understanding, of the necessity of maintaining a viable and meaningful separation of religion and civil law in the United States.
You can read my own summary of the Reclaim event at my own blog--
FYI: Those of faith convictions and those of secular convictions.
I attended the JULY 24-25 "Reclaiming Oklahoma For Christ" conference at the
Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond and the AUGUST 7-8 "New Baptist
Covenant" in Norman Embassy Suites Hotel. Oklahoma is NECK DEEP IN THE
CULTURE WAR. The DIFFERENCES in Christian responses to the social,
healthcare, political and economic issues of today WERE STARK AND SERIOUS.
Rep. Sally Kern and (Independent Baptist)Pastor Paul Blair ARE PUSHING HARD
FOR THEIR BRAND OF RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL INTOLERANCE AND THEIR PERSONAL
POLTICAL-ECONOMIC POLICIES. "R.O.C" sees President Obama as the anti-Christ,
poverty as laziness, the congressional healthcare reforms as socialism, the
Bible as the answer to ALL of the economic needs of today. Their list of
important issues are: stop the "gay agenda", promote Fundamentalist
"creationism" in science classes, promote militarism in the name of
Christian values, oppose socialism, reduce taxes and use tax dollars for
Those were not the multiple topics at the conference on "The New Baptist
Covenant." The sermons and speeches(J.C. Watts, Documentary Film-"Beneath
the Skin: Baptists and Racism", Wilford Brown (Native American, Pastor),
Ellis Orosco (Texas Pastor), Brad Henry, Jimmy Carter, Major Jemison (OKC
African American, Pastor), Wade Burleson (Oklahoma Pastor), were all focused
on: opposing racism, dealing with the health and daily needs of those
trapped in poverty, emphasis on the Biblical principles of "loving your
neighbor as yourself", emphasis on the Biblical responsibility to be
involved (there's work to do)in resolving the realities of cultural
injustices, defending the rights of all citizens BECAUSE IT IS BOTH
BIBILICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL. Religious tolerance is more than accepting
persons because you can't change them. Jesus' teachings and Christian
ethics involves respect for those having different views and values (both
faith related and secular related), and going the extra mile to protect all
persons from bigotry and violence.
The two different gatherings of professing believers in Jesus as the Messiah
WERE MILES APART IN THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF NEW TESTAMENT TEACHINGS ABOUT
CHRISTIAN PARTICPATION IN A SECULAR DEMOCRACY. The gathering in Norman was
by far the largest and the most ethnic and racially diverse. The gathering
in Edmond was the loudest and most flamboyant.
The booths at Norman were educational, informational, pro-persons. The
emphasis was personal religious or social convictions being put into action
outside of government. Learning how to live together with those who have
differing religious (Islam) or social views (the homosexual communities and
the abortion choice advocates). NO, not everyone there has reached the
place of religious and social tolerance. That was the point of the meeting.
Participants were not required to give up their personal convictions. The
attendees were encouraged to rethink the application of their convictions.
The separation of church and state was held up as a positive and valuable
socio-constitutional, Biblical value.
The speakers at "R.O.C." were focused on political electioneering
involvement(Janet Porter, Peter LaBarbera, Ret. Gen. Jerry Boykin and Dr.
John Morris). If you want more information on the issues of the speakers,
Google their names. The booths in Edmond were issue oriented, angry at large
segments of the social structure (public education, government at all
levels, Democratic Party political leaders, non-conservative political
leaders, government taxes at all levels.) The "R.O.C" agenda was angry at
being in the minority (kept referring to themselves as a remnant of the true
faith)and EMPHASISED GETTING INTO PARTISAN POLITICS TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR
GOALS. The concept of the separation of church and state was demeaned. The
participants were warned that they were not being faithful to their God if
they were not involved actively in the 2010 elections. And, that is why
candidates, Fallin, Brogdon, Calvey, Wesselhoft and others were introduced
as being supporters of the R.O.C. viewpoints.
At some point in the future, I'll set up meetings or conferences for the
general public to see and discuss the various "N.B.C." sermons, testimonies
and speeches. Being in a Republican Party dominated state is not the issue.
The issue is candidates that USE "CHRISTIAN" THEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL
PRINCIPLES AS THE BASIS FOR THEIR ELECTIONEERING. That's bad. The general
public needs to see and discuss those Christian theological and Biblical
principles of a large segment of Oklahoma's citizens THAT DIFFER from Rep.
Kern and Pastor Blair.
The differences must be examined and candidates and elected officials
Posted by Jim N at 1:23 PM