There is an interesting news story by WYFF Channel 4 TV about a prayer/political rally at People's Baptist Church in Greer, SC. Better than 400 folks gather to pray & protest the judge's ruling that outlawed the SC specialty tag that would have emblazoned "I Believe" along with a stain glass window & a cross.
The event was organized by pastor Arnold Hiette. Of course the politicians showed up too ... nothing like a good prayer meeting melded with some vote stumping to get the old money to flowin'.
All those folks were upset that a judge had ruled a few weeks ago that the tag amounted to an endorsement of a religion. The pastor & politicians say the tag was not an endorsement & that phrase "I Believe" & the stain glass window & the cross doesn't necessarily mean one religion is getting special favor. Instead, these folks say it is about free speech & that Christians are being told to be quite.
The politicians on hand, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer & Attorney General Henry McMaster, were quick to point out that Christians can't have a special license plate, even though other secular groups can. They claim that means that Christians are being denied free speech protection.
Problem is, no other faith group has a license plate directly voted upon by the legislature.
The 4 clergy members & 2 faith groups that brought the suit --- the Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers, Rabbi Sanford T. Marcus, the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Knight and the Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, as well as the Hindu American Foundation and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee --- were in the cross hairs of the faithful.
According to a report by Spartanburg’s Herald-Journal ... Red-faced and angry, shaking his fist alongside his Bible, Hiette told the congregation that the four complainants — especially the Unitarian — and one judge who took away the people’s right to witness via their vehicle tags "along with the ACLU, they’re going to burn in hell."
Wow. Godslingers at work. For upholding the equal protection of all people's right to have a gov't free from endorsing any faith, they are consigned to hell. Maybe Rev. Hiette should read the Bible more, 'cause I don't ever read where any political opinion ever sent anyone to hell.
And I would remind the Good Reverend that Jesus never once used the civil authority to carry out his mission. Paul reminded the church over & over again that we rely on the Power of the Spirit, not the Sword of Caesar to get the message out.
The only way my Christian faith can be legally protected is to make sure all other faiths are protected now. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Perhaps the politicians need to be reminded that the faith majority today is just a shell of its former self in a generation. That's what happened to the Puritans. It'll happen again. Today's minority is tomorrow's large voting bloc.
It should be a crime for religious leaders & political figures to use religion as a means to manipulate the faithful for political gain.
I'm sure those same politicians would have been at the Mosque saying the same thing if it had been a majority Muslim faith in the SC Legislature that just voted to have the star & crescent on a SC tag.
I'm just so sure they will --- that's where the money & votes are.
(See Americans United Blog entry by Sandhya Bathija for some good info.)