Friday, December 14, 2007

Roger Williams, You're Da Man

I remember Roger Williams from my seminary days, learning he was the first Baptist in America. Of course, he spoke out. Prayed on his own. Questioned the establishment. Did Bible studies without the Congregationalist Pastor present.

Naturally, he was kicked out of Boston for being "unchristian" & a heretic when he disagreed with the majority politics.

Then there was good ol' Thomas Helwys. It is never a good idea to write a treatise about how the Government shouldn't control the church or the conscience, and that religion should be a private matter not supported by the state. Helwys was a real Baptist: he signed his name to it & sent it to the King.

Naturally, he got his head chopped off for being "unchristian" & a heretic when he disagreed with the majority politics.

I have learned much over the last 72 hours, mainly that politics is a blood sport & those who participate in the sport will do anything to anyone to gain political advantage, even if it means destroying another's reputation. It may not be the same as chopping off a head, but character assassination is still murder.

In the last 3 days I've been called everything from a "Godless Heathen" to an "unchristian" heretic, to a "Commie Liberal" to the Most Hated Man in Paulding County.

I certainly understand, to some degree, how Roger Williams & Thomas Helwys felt.

I have been accused of wanting to take Christ out of Christmas; destroying Tradition; wanting to remove any emblem of Christ from our Nation; & even taking down Nativity Scenes.

Let's set the record straight: I do NOT want the nativity display taken down. I want it to remain. But trying to mediate in the role of a peace maker is not easy, even when there is a legitimate complaint. When tax payer money is used to decorate the area around the Mayor's church, there is a problem. It is wrong. It is unethical. It smacks of establishing an official church, the Mayor's church, & The Honorable Mayor gets to bestow his church with a Most Favored Status.

It is also clearly illegal and I don't believe it is going to stand.

Let it be known here & now: I offered to purchase the Nativity Display from the city of Dallas, GA, when I met with the city manager so as the display could remain. That would remove what I believe to be a legitimate complaint.

No response was given & after a week of the city's non-returned phone calls, I forwarded the complaint.

Honest disagreements about politics & the role of the government's relationship to the church are legitimate political questions. We don't, however, persecute for having an honest disagreement.

And we don't assassinate character because we do disagree.

Baptists have always valued dissent --- until recent history. Now I get the feeling that the majority-minded Christians no longer want anyone to disagree with them on any political or religious issue. The dissenter is told to "leave & go to some unchristian country."

Naturally, these people will later be kicked out of our nation for being "unChristian" & a heretic when they disagre with the majority politics.

Sometimes following the command of being a peace maker will mean the guns get aimed at peace maker too.

Sad when Christians devour their own when their own disagree on honest issues.

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