Evidently Some GA Baptist Leaders Think That Muslims Don’t Deserve RFRA Protection

Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative of the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, posted the following to Twitter:

The tweet links to an editorial by Dr. Gerald Harris, the editor of The Christian Index. The editorial was written in response to Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), working to protect the religious freedoms of Muslims and supporting the building of a mosque in New Jersey.

Harris states in his editorial:

Freedom of religion in America is designed to protect the rights and dignity of different religious communities, so they can practice their respective rites and ordinances without fear and interference. However, religious freedom for Muslims means allowing them the right to establish Islam as the state religion, subjugating infidels, even murdering those who are critics of Islam and those who oppose their brutal religion. In essence they want to use our democracy to establish their theocracy (with Allah as supreme). Their goal politically is to destroy the Constitution with its imbedded freedom and democracy and replace it with Sharia Law.

Baptists live in a new era of the rising tide of Islam. With the growing influence of the Saudis and other political Islamists, we must first consider if a mosque that wants freedom of religion for themselves desire that same full freedom of religion for all others. Americans kept Communism in check during the Cold War, guarding our borders against those who wished to dismantle our way of life. Will we do the same when another political ideology endangers our future?

He uses the following quotes from Congressman Jody Hice’s (GA-10) book It’s Now Or Never: A Call To Reclaim America in support of his views:

“Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology. It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.

Most people think Islam is a religion; it’s not. It’s a totalitarian way of life with a religious component. But it is much larger. It’s a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal, and religious components. And it’s a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected [under U. S. law].

This is not a tolerant, peaceful religion even though some Muslims are peaceful. Radical Muslims believe that Sharia is required by God and must be imposed worldwide. It’s a movement to take over the world by force. A global caliphate is the objective. That’s why Islam would not qualify for First Amendment protection since it’s a geo-political system …. This will impact our lives if we don’t get a handle on it.

These things are in no way compatible with the U.S. Constitution. … Islam and the Constitution are oceans apart. It’s about controlling your behavior, when and where you can worship and legal issues. The number one threat is to our worldview and whether we chunk it for secularism or Islam.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is in rapid decline, losing 200,000 members in 2014 alone. 70% of the people in Georgia do not attend Church. More missionaries (34,000) were sent to the United States than any other country. Despite these sobering figures, it appears that some in Georgia Baptist leadership would choose to focus on whether another faith is a “religion” or not instead of taking care of our own problems.

And I say our, as I am a Southern Baptist/Georgia Baptist minister. I have worked in several churches in Southeast Georgia and I can tell you we have a lot bigger problems than Islam.

I hope they understand at the rate of decline that Christians will eventually be a minority in this country (if it is not already) and someone else will be making these type of decisions that will impact us. You cannot ask for protection for yourself and not others, as that is not how country works. We went through this in the past of deciding who can do certain things and who cannot and we don’t need to do that ever again. The Constitution protects all Americans, not just certain people.

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Charlie
Charlie

Thank you Lawton.

xdog
xdog

It’s reassuring that all Baptists aren’t in lockstep with Harris and Hice.

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

Unfortunately I believe that those who need to heed your message have no desire to actually listen.

Robbie
Robbie

This is the same organization that compared Georgia legislators to Nazis for not wanting to enact discrimination. What do they have to do to stop being the voice of Southern Baptists? (or, do Southern Baptists agree with these statements?)

greencracker
greencracker

Just, there’s a lot of U.S. folk who have never had an actual Muslim friend, I guess. They Do not realize that Muslims are normal, I guess.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Like Baptists, some are and some aren’t normal. It gets pretty tricky when government stops looking at individuals and classifies them.

Then when government says individuals can identify themselves by virtual reality it gets to be real fun. Undocumented but entitled, boy but girl, able bodied but disabled, connected but exempt…..

George Dickel
George Dickel

I was baptized into a Southern Baptist/Georgia Baptist church as a teenager. Is my name still on a membership roll somewhere if I’ve barely set foot into a Baptist church since starting college? And am I being counted in the overall organization’s current membership numbers? If so, to whom do I write a strongly worded letter demanding to be removed from that count?

blakeage80
blakeage80

The alternative to Lawton’s suggestion is to come on back!

Will Durant
Will Durant

With a nom de plume of a whisky? To the Baptists? 😉

blakeage80
blakeage80

It is going to be interesting times the next few years as this older guard, that believes ‘God’s Plan = America is Great Again’ continues to lose its voice. Dr. Moore had a lot of wise things to say about living as a Christ follower in our world.

Also, we shouldn’t get too caught up in who is speaking for whom (grammar folks, please check my who/whom) Baptists and our churches function somewhat like Native American tribes. We only listen and follow when we think its the right thing according to scripture.

Benevolus
Benevolus

My poor little brain is about to fry with the dichotomy of repeatedly reading an eloquent remembrance of Muhammed Ali and then a story about how evil and unwelcome Muslims are.

augusta52
augusta52

Hmmm…what is the Baptist view of the Vatican? After all, “those Catholics” are under a pope, who heads a foreign country (even though barely 100 acres) and technically is answerable to no one but the Almighty, there being no earthly limits on his power. Isn’t the Vatican a geopolitical structure? If so, guess we need some restrictions on them, too?

Will Durant
Will Durant

Nice straw man but perhaps marble would be more suitable for the Vatican. What restrictions?

Oh, also Georgia Baptists have their own mini-Vatican in Duluth. Complete with a marble St. Peter statue and Ten Commandments shrine. It was only a measly $43 million and they retired the debt of $25 million on it last year from leftover funds for selling Georgia Baptist Hospital. Not Creflo or Osteen money, but it ain’t chickenfeed either.

Will Durant
Will Durant

Lawton, I would also like to thank you for posting this. I know it took the courage of your conviction to do so. Would that more like you would speak out. IMO the political activism in recent years that has come from the leadership of the Georgia Baptists professing to speak for the entire organization if not for the Almighty has been misplaced. I have stated here before that I have no issue with religious people of any faith being involved in politics. I do have an issue with any and all institutions, corporations, and the like influencing the political… Read more »