Freedom is a great thing.
A person can say something to get people all fired up at a moment’s notice. And isn’t it fun to get noticed?
There is only one God, and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words. I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or we can’t no longer pray in public.
Many Americans focus over-much on rights. And they neglect the other side of life in a free (if not virtuous) society. Responsibilities.
A good citizen is responsible for something more than saying whatever pops into the circuit between brain and mouth. A good citizen is also responsible for paying attention to the truth, or when people utter untruths. (Even if they are an Important Surging Political Candidate. Maybe especially then.) Possibly there rests an opportunity to exercise the right to free speech and offer a friendly correction. Or maybe even to inform two-thirds of his party of his religious background.
In addition to freedom, I think believers also possess duties. It’s about more than what we can get for free, be it contraceptives at a Mitt Romney rally, or a public utterance of “Jesus” in a steepled building. Freedom and responsibility also means that I don’t have to pray with people who are shouting or saying silly things that really aren’t prayers, but political slogans. I have the freedom to sleep while people say such things. But I have a responsibility to stay awake.
Pastor Terry may have reason to be concerned that 19th century America with revivals and Awakenings is passing away. He may think ill of rock-n-roll music–and he has a right to do so. However, the troubling trends I see as a Christian believer have little to nothing to do with Islam or Buddhism. Lawlessness in corporate management, pornography, sex and violence in advertising and games and media, excesses in competition, monopolies, addictions: all this stuff rises from human sin. And the last time I looked, part of the Christian doctrine is that we all sin. And more than that, most American criminals are Christians by profession or upbringing. The US would likely be a lot more peaceful and peaceable if we actually did have a stronger infusion of Buddhism.
So, as a Christian and as an American, let me congratulate Pastor Terry on his statement. If he believes what he said, by all means he should stand by it and not cave in to pressure from people who saw and heard him on YouTube. I suspect the root of the problem here is not that Pastor Terry is unfree to pray. I think it’s more than people are free to pray elsewhere and with other believers.