War on God

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Revmitchell, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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  2. Baptist Believer

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    Religious slogans ("In God We Trust") and references to God <> Faith in God

    Historically, Baptists have uniformly stood for institutional separation of church and state for theological and practical reasons. Only for the last 40 years have some Baptists abandoned their heritage of separation of church and state.

    George W. Truett, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1920 and clearly expressed the historic Baptist position on religious liberty. You can read his sermon at either of the two locations linked below:

    BibleBelievers.com

    Ethics Today
     
  3. Magnetic Poles

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    Very true, BB. This video was produced by David Barton and his "Wallbuilders" group, a discredited and revisionist bunch. Barton, a self-appointed "historian", would like to rewrite America's history, and too many Baptists are glad to help him do so.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Sorry he has not been discredited. One error does not make a discredit. The facts in the video are irrefutable.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    Actually Barton has been proven faulty numerous times. However, the people who want to believe in Barton tend to overlook the facts in favor of their biases and avoid actually checking his work.

    Back in 1992 I took at class on religious liberty at Southwestern Seminary taught by William R. Estep. We spent the semester studying the theological and political origins of religious liberty with a special emphasis on reading original texts and documents related to religious liberty. Within about two weeks of completing the semester, a well-meaning person showed the video, "America's Godly Heritage" by David Barton at our church. I was beside myself with frustration because Barton was twisting, misquoting or misrepresenting almost every source he cited. Not only did he literally misquote the First Amendment itself in the video, he completely misrepresented Supreme Court decisions (many which I had read in full) and was intentionally obfuscating the difference between state supreme court decisions and U.S. Supreme decisions in order to bolster his arguments.

    In the aftermath of the video, I talked to my pastor and the person who showed the video and explained my concerns. They were under the impression he just made a few simple errors and asked for more information to demonstrate that his entire premise was faulty.

    Although this was in the days before the internet, I agreed to do it and did a fair amount of library research to verify some of his citations from readily-available documents. (Barton claims to get much of his information from rare or out-of-print books, so checking a number of claims is difficult. One wonders why the books are out-of-print if they are considered so authoritative, but if you are conspiracy-minded, ideas like that don't matter.)

    I discovered that Barton went out of his way to misquote documents and avoided mentioning any document that undermined his premise. With on Supreme Court decision, he used elipses ("...") to omit more than 400 words that undermined his argument to connect two unrelated sentences (from different parts of the document) to provide a "quote." He also engaged in fundamental logical errors like referencing all the versions of the drafts of the First Amendment that were rejected by the framers of the Bill of Rights and claiming the rejected draft represented the true intent of the framers over the version that was accepted and eventually added to the Constitution. That's like claiming all of the false starts in my trash can represent the thoughts I intended to publish, not what I actually settled upon.

    His theology is also very troublesome. In his first edition of the book, "To Pray or Not to Pray" (I have a copy), he likens God to a computer that counts prayers. After the 1962-1963 school prayer decisions of the Supreme Court, Barton somehow believes that the number of prayers to God diminished and therefore God allowed bad things to happen to our country because the quantity of prayer declined! Of course that begs the questions, "What are prayers?", "What kind of prayer does God desire?", "Does God really measure prayer by the yard?", etc.

    Moreover, his public policy is also very sketchy. On the "Point of View with Marlin Maddoux" radio talk show back in the mid-1990s, Barton enthusiastically quoted Benjamin Rush (one of Barton's "founding fathers") as saying he would "rather have any religion taught in public schools rather than no religion", explicitly approving the statement as his own belief, explaining that all religions are essentially against the same things (i.e. homosexuality, crime, murder, etc.). Not only is Barton not necessarily interested in the Christian religion being taught in schools, he seems to see religion as simply a basic moral framework, not a life-transforming encounter with the God reveal in scripture and in the Person of Jesus the Christ.

    But you don't have to believe anything I say about this subject. All you have to do is check things out for yourself. Most of the time, Barton actually cites sources for his materials to give the effect of scholarly research. It is easier than even to check things out for yourself. I suggest you simply look up the Supreme Court cases he quotes, read the entire decision in context and then see how he quotes and portrays the decision. After reading about 5-10 of the decisions, you'll start to see a pattern develop.

    When I starting researching Barton, I assumed he was just well-meaning but uninformed. The longer I researched his work, the more I became convinced that he is intentionally twisting history for personal gain.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    I know but when you start out with an anti-Christian nation bias it is sure to be your conclusion.
     
  7. windcatcher

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    The video is very telling, informative, and credible.

    Thank you RevMitchell......

    There is "A war on God" going on in our country.
    When a people have by God's help, raised up a country, and acknowledge him in their founding, sought him in their trials and testing, praised him for his faithfulness in answering their needs and propersing them, and supported his law in their teachings of charity, justice, and mercy, and obediance..... they are immensly blessed..... as though they are desserving (which none can debate that we could ever deserve the blessings and goodness of God..... even with the best that we can offer).
    When such a nation, which has known and recognized that its goodness and prosperity came from God, turns its back on God, it is headed to a terrible judgement.

    I think of how, among all the nations, even those tribes which had pagan gods, how God selected a few men through the ages of time which recognized him and worshipped him...... Noah.........Abraham...... and from the pagan cultures in which they were raised brought them into relationship..... and of Abraham, made him promises concerning his progeny, a father of nations.... and established His Name in Israel, and through Israel, brought the blessed promise for Israel and all the world: By and through which we have been blessed, as individuals and as a nation which the world has in times passed recognized as "A Christian Nation"....... some who have visited here amongst her people and in her churches, and returned to their own people have made statements to the effect "America isn't good because she's great....... she's great because she's good"..... a reminder that our nation has had the reputation of 'looking unto God' as part of her glory and legacy. How like Israel ran with all her whorings after false gods.... and in disobediance to holiness ....... into the practices of the nations around her and filled her own borders with idolatry and deceit.... until God brought punishment, and broke her and scattered her among the nations, and let the glory of Jerusalem fall and its temple utterly destroyed and allowed the tormentors to chase after her children who fled everywhere and could not find rest..... for though so many sought it with their tears.... they were darkened because of their own submission to deception...and could no longer see to find God and the truth and partake of the blessing which he had wrought..... What will happen to us, when we have such a rich heritage of experience in the history of mankind, and a Bible which can teach us, yet we have given it all away for a few temporal 'pleasures' and strip God from our nation. There can be no victory, no glory, no goodness, no prosperity, no greatness apart from a relationship with God which gives him honor.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    You misunderstand my argument. I faced this criticism before from some members of my previous church, although the pastor eventually realized I was correct. They claimed that I simply had my opinion and Barton had his, and that was that. While that is certainly true that we have differing opinions, Barton and I both cite many of the same objective sources. Because we are citing objective sources (written documents that are settled in form and are publicly available for all to examine), it is easy to determine who is correct.

    The crux of my argument is that Barton flagrantly misquotes sources he claims to cite.

    I am proposing that you undertake the extremely objective test of Barton that I did: Does he accurately quote his sources?

    If he does not accurately quote his sources, his argument and authority collapses since he claims his argument accurately interprets the sources he cites.

    I found clear and consistent evidence that he does not. And that conclusion is not subject to much bias.

    Since you are a pastor and strive to be an opinion-maker, the responsible thing and intellectually honest thing for you to do is to check things out for yourself. I can go back in my files later tonight and see if I can locate examples for you to check for yourself if you like.

    Instead of poring through dusty books of "U.S. Reports" in the downtown Fort Worth library to find the relevant Supreme Court decisions like I had to do, all of the Supreme Court decisions are available online a few clicks away.

    However, most people don’t have the courage to check things out for themselves and follow truth wherever it leads because it tends to put you at odds with what is popular. In Southern Baptist life, a pastor who publicly points out the problems with David Barton’s citation of history is not likely to go far in the correct political climate and may be branded a “moderate” or “liberal” because of their commitment to objective truth. You may think I’m exaggerating or engaging in SBC-bashing, but I’ve both seen it and have experienced it as a seminary student from a number of so-called “conservative” students and denominational personalities.

    I think most Baptists (at least in SBC circles) intuitively recognize this, because I have not had one person yet who has taken me up on checking things out for themselves. They always have excuses or respond with personal attacks.


    Do you have the nerve to seek the truth? Are you committed enough to Jesus (Jesus said He embodies truth) to be intellectually honest with what you find and take a public position of truth in the face of withering criticism? Are you willing to have you religious/political future undermined because you are a person who is committed to truth?


    The choice is yours.
     
    #8 Baptist Believer, Jun 17, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  9. Magnetic Poles

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    ...too many Baptists are glad to help him do it.

    Thanks for self-identifying! Now you can put on your blinders and go back to :sleeping_2:.
     
  10. Magnetic Poles

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    Actually Mitch, you should do what BB suggests. Undertake as unbiased a study as you can and see if what BB says is correct. Honestly, Barton is not a reliable history source. Do you value the truth? If so, it can stand the light of examination. Try this without your own preconceived notions and ask yourself honestly if Barton isn't misrepresenting the facts.
     
  11. Freedom

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    I don't understand the importance of being able to contend that America is a "Christian nation." is there really such a thing. I'm much more concerned whether my next door neighbor is a Christian than whether the Ten Commandments are displayed on the court house lawn. What nations does the Bible recognize as "Christian nations?" Where in the Bible do you find support that such a thing exists or if it does the importance of it. This blind fascination with politics is what's killing the church today not saving it.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    The actual concern is that history is not rewritten to do away with the heritage it was founded on.

    Yes this country was founded on Biblical principles.

    It does not have to be either or. Your statement is a straw man,

    No one I know of has ever tried to make such a silly argument.

    Some how I have doubts as to your expertise about what is killing the church. But libbies use this argument founded on nothing to demonize a legitimate walk in Christ by conservatives who refuse to live hypocritical lives.
     
  13. sag38

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    Most of the time it's the liberal who brings the word politics into the debate. If they are so concerned about politics not being equated into the life of a Chrisian and the church then why do they bring it up so often?

    Seems to me that they too are very concerned about politics. However, it must be their brand of politics which is ok to mention in church, etc. But, for a conservative Chrisitian to be politically active is a sin and is destroying the church. Please Freedom, you need to get over yourself.
     
  14. OldRegular

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    Anyone who does not believe there is a war on Christianity in this country is either in agreement with this war or are living in la la land.
     

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