Friday, January 10, 2014

The First Amendment and What It Gets Us

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

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.

A friend of mine linked, on facebook, to an article in the Business Insider about a statue of Baphomet proposed by The Satanic Temple for the grounds of the Oklahoma state Capitol. Scary-looking thing, in my opinion, but a spokesperson for The Satanic Temple explained: people will be able to sit on it--the very lap of the devil!--to think and find inspiration...

...if they can't think and find inspiration just beside Baphomet, I reckon, at the Ten Commandments monument.

The Satanic Temple says it's a First Amendment issue: that Baphomet should be allowed on the grounds of the state Capitol just like the Ten Commandments, that what's fair is fair.

Surely this is a sick joke, I thought, but (although the story is too hot to have even hit Snopes), it doesn't seem to be so. The Internet is plumb eat up with the news.

I know you're just dying to know what I think, so I'm going to tell you.

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of religion. Your religion, yes, and everyone else's, too. It guarantees the freedom of words: yours and everyone else's, just the same.

The First Amendment might protect Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, but it also protects those who say they don't want chicken with a side order of Cathy's belief system.

The First Amendment might protect Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, but it also protects those who say they don't want to hear what he has to say, anymore. (I guess he gets to keep his show, after all, so they can just turn the channel.)

And I know you don't want to hear this, but those who oppose Christianity learn so much from so many Christ followers. "First Amendment! First Amendment! FirstAmendmentFirstAmendment!" We take our perfect Savior--the one who suffered and bled and died because God so loved the world (John 3:16) and because He isn't willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)--and use Him as a weapon, calling it our constitutional right.

I tell you this as a sold-out follower of Christ: there are times on facebook and in the blogosphere that I feel as though my very own Jesus is being crammed down my very own throat: "You'll take Him, and You'll take Him this way (with a piece of camo-wrapped chicken), and if you don't like it, you don't deserve a place in the USA, let alone in heaven."

If I--again, a sold-out follower of Christ--feel a little like I might choke or vomit...if I feel a little angry (or a lot, like I'd rather like to punch someone in the face), how do you suppose a non-believer feels?

Brothers and sisters, courtesy of the First Amendment, enjoy that mosque near Ground Zero. Enjoy that satanic statue on the grounds of the Oklahoma state Capitol.

Or maybe, instead, just take a step back and ask yourself: for what are you fighting? Are you fighting for souls? Is the Great Commission foremost in your mind? And if so, are you expressing that in the most effective way?

3 comments:

  1. Yep. Couldn't have said it better - differently? Sure. More windy? Probably - but you did just fine, Brandee. Of course, you realize that, to some on FB and in the blogosphere, we have no right to even call ourselves Christians because we don't support the American Jesus...don't get me started. :)

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  2. Yes - let's clean up our own mess before worrying about the Satanic statue. Sometimes I think we as Christians forget how the first church flourished - it wasn't in some idyllic Bible-belt-esque culture. Be a light, and the light will drive out the darkness much more than picket signs. (Not that I'm thrilled about the statue mind you, but I am not at all shocked and so I find myself shrugging my shoulders and we've reaped what we've sewn.")

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    1. That statue creeps me out. Totally and for real.

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