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That dastardly Rick Perry

August 7, 2011

Of all the nerve! A man who happens to be a governor actually exercising his right to practice his religion! In public!

The venom is flowing these days. Why would these supposedly very liberal people want to infringe on Perry’s rights of religion and freedom of speech?

A question. As Christians have been asking for decades, how did the First Amendment come to mean that a government official cannot participate in a religious rally? Here’s what it says:

 “Congress 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.”

Now, I’m not the brightest bulb on the shelf, but I don’t see how Perry was enacting any laws. I don’t think he’s even in Congress! What I do see is that our nation’s protectors wanted to stifle Perry’s free exercise. Our nation’s founding fathers had no problem with prayer, even by government officials, even as the Constitution was being drafted and signed.

I see a few problems in addition to that one.

ABC News declared that the American Family Association (who sponsored the rally) doesn’t believe in freedom of religion for other religions (besides Christianity). I’m checking on that. An “unofficial spokesman”, Bryan Fischer, has said that. From what I’ve seen so far, he’s concerned especially with Islam. I wonder if our nation’s liberal protectors, in their fervor to ensure all enjoy full religious freedom, would mind if Perry prayed at a rally of Muslims. Or would that be exclusivist, too?

The AFA is definitely against gay rights and abortion. So? First, gay rights have been established only because it’s been hammered at us from all sides that it is good. No real argument. A prohibition spanning centuries has been dumped simply because the loudest people think it should be. But, second, whichever side one takes on that, since when does diversity require that we all believe the same thing? If we’re all card-carrying secular liberals who hold to the approved list of beliefs, where will diversity be? But that isn’t really their goal, is it?

Not only do the protesters reject the very principles they traditionally claim to uphold (freedom of religion and speech), they’re being disingenuous when promoting themselves as the defenders of diversity. They’re saying that the meeting where Perry (gasp!) prayed wasn’t inclusive. Would they have been happier if representatives of mutliple religions (all of whom who aren’t infected with the pluralism that turns around and devours their own religions) were allowed to pray? Maybe so, but only if the representatives didn’t have the audacity to believe or say that what they believe is actually true (which means beliefs that are contrary are false). No, that’s not what they have in mind. The protestors are really just pushing their own secularistic religious pluralism. a theological belief. Their so-called “inclusive” posture really isn’t. They want to exclude the idea (and the people who hold it and events where people speak it) that there is a truth about God. that we can know (yes, religion is a matter of knowledge, not of some kind of faith-without-reason). They are as exclusivist as any Christian or Muslim or sophisticated secular humanist who is confident in his/her naturalism.

There are so many head-shakers in this. Don’t these people see that they are sawing off the limb on which they themselves sit? Cut out Perry’s freedoms and they undermine their own. This isn’t the tolerance of our American founding. This is intolerance at its clearest. The hatred is palpable.

I recently received an email reporting on a high school athletic competition where the principle, in greeting people over the PA system, said she could not, by law, invoke God’s blessings on the game. Whereupon the people in the stands stood up and prayed. Whether that story is true or apocryphal, I don’t know. But the principle holds. Rick Perry doesn’t have a special line to God (or, none more special than anyone else has). If God is there, He will hear those who pray who believe. If not, the protesters have nothing to fear; nothing, that is, besides their own hypocrisy.

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