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August,1999

Christians Revolt Against Their Own Best Interests
by Cliff Walker

Charley Reese, a columnist for the "Orlando Sentinel," wrote a piece called: "Revolution Brewing: Disregard Laws That Violate Conscience." He spoke of a "revolt brewing in America," wherein "a group of parents and students decided to pray in defiance of a court order."

This was the case where a judge said it is illegal and unconstitutional for a school to sponsor an event that includes a formal religious ritual of the Christian variety. Several in the audience "spontaneously" began reciting the Protestant version of the "Our Father" very loudly, so all could hear. (Was this pre-planned, or what?) An atheist lad, there to receive his high school diploma, stepped out to avoid this nonsense and was then detained by police.

Religious freedom, anyone? No one was detained for praying -- only for refusing.

Reese calls those who disagree with him "special-interest-group lawyers, using some sorehead as a token plaintiff." He says we persuade "political appointees in black robes to jerk Americans around."

Excuse me!? Who is jerking whom?

And what about the commandment to pray in one's closet, rather than praying publicly where others can see you? (Jesus, introducing the very "Our Father" prayer these jerks want the State to force upon unwilling bystanders, in Matt. 6:5-7.)

The real revolt, I think, is against that highfalutin religion originally established by the One who was "lying in a manger" and who was "obedient unto death" (or so the story goes). Christianity loses more and more credibility with each step that its more revolting members take.

But the "revolt" which Charley Reese so glowingly lauds seems focused against the very Jesus who (they tell us) had "humbled himself." It goes against the spirit and the letter of what he is alleged to have taught.

The apostle Paul, who lived during the most vicious persecutions that Christians ever endured from non-Christians, said: "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power [the State], resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation" (Romans 13:2).

Reese reveals his ignorance: "Furthermore, freedom means just that -- freedom."

Er, freedom from what? Freedom for whom? The word is meaningless without a context. This is the problem with most diatribes concerning freedom.

Most believers think religious freedom is freedom (from government interference) for religious establishments. Atheists say that religious freedom is freedom (for the individuals) from encroachments by the religious establishments. Some varieties of Christianity are very intrusive; thus, we seek help from the State to attain (just a little) freedom from Christian intrusion.

Allowing the state to endorse religion or host its rituals will not get Mr. Reese the religious freedom he claims he wants (which freedom he has already, if he'd just shut up for a minute and look around). If the State says to pray the "Lord's Prayer" at a graduation ceremony, Mr. Reese is no longer praying freely: he is praying in obedience to the State.

And what if the State institutes public prayer, and Reese gets around to reading Matt. 6:5-7 which forbids public prayer?

This is not religious freedom at all.

Graphic Rule

    • Notes:

    • See also: Disregard Laws That Violate Conscience
    • See also: The Tents Will Be With You Always by Cliff Walker

Graphic Rule
Copyright ©1999 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon