By J. D. Longstreet The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€
My old Pappy used to say that the persecution of the early Christian Church was the greatest thing to happen to the church since the Resurrection. It forced the church to spread through out the modern world of that era. In doing so, it spread the Gospel, the â€œGood Newsâ€ of the newly formed Christian church and sank its roots deep into what had, until that time, been pagan soil.
Judging from the news coming out of San Diego, California, itâ€™s a mighty good thing they donâ€™t have coliseums and lions there. For if they did, well, you get the picture.
Wait a minute! You don't get the picture! Havenâ€™t you heard of the strident measures the government is taking there to squelch religion taught in the home? Apparently, many of you have not.
Well, now. It would behoove me to fill you in so you can have a solid foundation upon which to build your opinion of what is going on in this particular part of California.
To get a good grasp of the situation you need to go HERE. The piece is titled: â€œHome: No place for Bible Study.â€ Drew Zahn wrote it.
It seems that a San Diego pastor and his wife were questioned by officials from the county and told that they would be fined if they continued to hold Bible study courses in their home. Yep, thatâ€™s what I said: â€œTheir HOME!â€
The incident dates back to the Good Friday before Easter when a county government employee paid them a visit. According to the couple they were asked a number of questions about the Bible study they were conducting. Among them were questions about whether or not there was hymn singing and the verbal expressions: â€œAmenâ€ and even â€œPraise the Lordâ€ spoken aloud.
It seems the county has this permit that they refer to as the ''Major Use Permit,'' or the MUP. The pastorâ€™s wife says she was informed that she and her husband MUST have an MUP before they continue to hold those services in their home. Now, a MUP oft-times involves lots of money. Depending upon the activity, they may require a traffic study, and/or an environmental study. Plus, the applicant for a MUP must comply with parking and sidewalk regulations, as well. Weâ€™re told that the costs for all this often runs to ten thousand dollars, and could exceed that.
We have warned a number of times about the complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution by some elements of government today, and the shredding of the Constitution by others. It seems to us that this is a good example of simply ignoring the law of the land and making up law on the fly.
Of most concern is the obvious ignoring of the U.S. Constitution--the First Amendment that makes up the Bill of Rights, no less.
While some may argue that the First Amendment only applies to laws made by the Congress of the United States, the Supreme Court has interpreted it as applying to the executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government, as well. And during the last century the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the limitations of the First Amendment to each state, including any local government within a state.
Now, as if that is not enough, along comes something called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. This one is SO bad it prompted a Texas minister to write an open letter to the U.S. Senate asking ANY senator to filibuster the bill! The minister, Rick Scarborough, of Harvest Point Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, and founder of â€œVision America,â€ refers to the recent congressional actions as a "maddening march to the destruction of our First Amendment right to freely practice our religion."
In the outside event that you donâ€™t know, this bill would provide special protections to homosexual people while leaving Christian ministers open to prosecution--if their teachings were to be linked to any subsequent offense, by anyone, against a homosexual person.
Now, to understand the import of this bill to a Christian church, one must understand that the Christian faith teaches that homosexuality is a sin, one of the gravest of sins. As the vast majority of Christian churches teaches that the Bible is the â€œinfallibleâ€ word of God or, at the least, the â€œinspiredâ€ word of God, then a Christian minister is bound by his/her faith to teach the same and, from time to time, will be led to preach against homosexuality as the sin that he truly believes that it is.
Under this law, as I understand it, a pastor preaching such, from a pulpit, will be liable (would be in violation of the law) and subject to imprisonment, a fine, or whatever the court and the law decree, should one of his parishioners, or simply a listener, go out and commit a â€œhate crimeâ€ against a homosexual, especially if that perpetrator should mention that he did the crime after hearing one of the good ministerâ€™s sermons.
The act has already been approved in the U.S. House of Representatives as HR 1913 and is sitting in the queue and waiting in the Senate as S. 909.
In his letter, Pastor Scarborough says: â€œThe legislation pending before you will make me an 'inducer' to hate crimes if I preach Romans 1:18-32 and someone who hears me then commits a criminal act against a protected class. It is clear that this bill will criminalize biblical preaching and will prevent me and thousands of other clergymen from practicing our faith without threat of penalty from our own federal government." (You really need to read Romans 1:18-32 in order to understand the Christian churchâ€™s take on homosexuality.)
To get more on this story, including the text of the ministerâ€™s letter to the Senate, go HERE. To answer the question posed in the title to this commentary: Yes, I believe, eventually, the Christian Church will be driven underground in America as it has been in other nations around the globe. Otherwise, it will cease to exist in this land that many firmly believe was founded by Christians.
As I scribble these few words it could not be any clearer that this bill is a violation of the First Amendment. Will it pass the Congress and be signed into law by the president? Yes, I believe it will. Why? The answer is quite simple: because America is no longer a Christian nation. At least, Americaâ€™s government no longer governs based on the Judeo-Christian code of laws and beliefs. And very soon now, the Supreme Court of the land will be in the hands of socialists, as well, and that will be the end of the failed experiment called â€œAmerica,â€ a nation which was to have been governed only by the voice of itâ€™s people and their God.