That Violate Conscience
Here is the original exchange between Promise Keepers member Ken Alexander and myself, which led to my August, 1999, column, "Christians Revolt Against Their Own Best Interest." We stumbled upon this and posted it long after the fact.
Shortly after joining Promise Keepers, Ken stopped our discussions and simply included us on his list of people who received forwarded material written by others. He admitted, toward the end of our friendship, that my exacting counter-arguments could jeopardize his willingness to continue being a member of Promise Keepers (I had earlier talked him out of stumping for Alcoholics Anonymous, though I don't think he was ever a member). We finally got tired of receiving this forwarded material and placed a block to prevent us receiving material sent from his address. Like all our carefully prepared responses to his forwarded material, this one elicited no reply from Ken.
Ken is the same Promise Keepers member featured in my March, 1998, column, "The Tents Will Be With You Always."
Published in The Orlando Sentinel on July 1, 1999.
There may be a revolt brewing in America. It seems to be happening in that part of America so mysterious to the political and news-media elite -- the areas that surround, like interstellar space, the elitist strongholds in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
There was a hint in Utah a year or so ago when audience members at a school event defiantly sang a song that some federal judge had commanded that they could not sing. More recently, on the East Coast, a group of parents and students decided to pray in defiance of a court order.
The American majority may be fed up with special-interest-group lawyers, using some sorehead as a token plaintiff, persuading political appointees in black robes to jerk Americans around. Somehow, an idea has arisen that a minority may dictate to the majority.
That's a perversion of custom. The majority respects the right of minorities to dissent, but minorities must also respect the rights of the majority.
Furthermore, freedom means just that -- freedom. It does not mean that Americans must pray only when and where they are told to do so by a government increasingly more concerned with control than with freedom. It is the government, not the people, which is violating the Constitution and making a mockery of the Bill of Rights.
The plain meaning of the First Amendment is that the federal government should simply butt out of religious matters altogether. The only restriction is that the federal government may not establish an official state religion. That could be done only by congressional action. The fact that religious people express their religion while they happen to be standing on federal property or attending some state-financed event does not establish a religion.
And that would be clear if federal judges were really intent on interpreting the meaning of the Constitution rather than just using it as an excuse to legislate their own biases. After all, the same Congress that passed out the First Amendment also established chaplains and opened its sessions with prayers.
I hope that America's young people will take up the challenge issued by Darrell Scott, whose daughter was one of those killed at Columbine High School. Scott, invited to appear before a congressional subcommittee, no doubt sharply surprised the politicians by attacking them.
"What has happened to us as a nation?" he asked. "We have refused to honor God, and, in doing so, we opened the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs, politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA [National Rifle Association]. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that continue to erode away our personal and private liberties. Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answer."
Scott, by the way, told the politicians that he was not a member of the NRA nor a hunter, and did not own a gun. His point was simply that the NRA and gun legislation had nothing to do with the tragedy that occurred. The problem, he said, is spiritual and not legalistic or a matter of hardware.
"We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgement that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God," Scott told the politicians. He issued this challenge to America's young people:
"Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your conscience and denies your God-given right to communicate with him."
Now that is the true American spirit. Patrick Henry is surely smiling.
[Posted 06/30/1999 5:10 PM EST]
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Ken Alexander"
Subject: Re: Revolution brewing: Disregard laws that violate conscience
Date: Thursday, July 01, 1999 4:00 PM
The American majority ...
Not the majority by any means. Not even the majority of American Christians. Check your statistics. This is nothing more than emotionally charged buzz-language. "The American majority" my ass!
There may be a revolt brewing in America.
If "Congress shall make no law establishing religion," then why are we being required to support and practice the Christian religion against our wills?
The real revolt is against that high-fallootin' religion originally established by the one who was "lying in a manger" and who was "obedient unto death." Christianity loses more and more credibility in America with each step that some of its more "revolting" followers take.
I suspect that the "revolt" you describe is likewise against the one who "humbled himself." It certainly goes against the spirit of what he is alleged to have taught. This does not surprise me, considering the history of the followers of Jesus, who burned us in "obedience" to John xv. 6., who burned us slowly (instead of killing us quickly) to give us more opportunity to repent, and who enforced their religion upon us, generally, in obedience to Luke xiv. 23.
I am not making this up, these are actual reasons that the inquisitors used to justify killing us and confiscating our estates in the name of the one who said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Study Christian history and watch it repeating itself right before your eyes.
Then study the history of the United States of America (established July 4, 1776) and see why we say, "Never Again!" See why a small group of men developed a Constitution that protects the minority against the "tyranny of the majority" (Alexis de Tocqueville [1805-1859], "Democracy in America" ).
After you have studied the History leading to the development and establishment of the United States Constitution (1789), reverse the roles. Pretend that a group such as the Muslims became the majority, and see what happens to your Liberty to practice Christianity. I promise that in such a situation you would instantly become an extremely patriotic American and would probably defend the United States Constitution -- rather than trample it and despise it as you do with your little "revolt" against it.
Remember that the Christian "historian" David Barton of WallBuilders has admitted falsifying United States History in the name of Christ, for the purpose of propagating Christianity. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, was no different when he said, "What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church ... a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them" (cited by his secretary in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., "Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmüthigen von Hessen mit Bucer," vol. I.). Luther was merely following a long-standing tradition of "pious frauds" that date back to St. Paul: "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" (Rom. iii. 7).
Please reconsider what I strongly urged you years ago, when I suggested following truth wherever it may lead.
Furthermore, freedom means just that -- freedom.
This is anarchy, not Liberty. Liberty always carries with it the concept of responsibility. An anarchist is "free" to force me to practice the Christian religion against my will, but nobody has the Liberty to do this, as such behavior goes completely against the concept behind the word Liberty.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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