Bestselling Christian author Erix Metaxas told a large crowd at CPAC (Conservative Politicial Action Convention) near Washington D.C. today that religious freedoms in the United States are in danger of being taken away just as they were in Nazi Germany, according to USA Today.
The author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, told the influential CPAC members that Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists in 1801 in which he used the phrase "separation of church and state.". He said today people have misinterpreted Jefferson's intent in creating that phrase. In today's American society people often use that phrase to argue the state needs to be protected from religion, and that religion should have no place in government or society.
Actually, Jefferson and the Founders believed the opposite. They realized the Government was "always tempted to take over everything." And that included the religious side of people's lives. So they put a protection into the Constitution that the government could not favor any religion over another...."and could not prohibit the free exercise of religion."
So they actually wanted churches and religions to be protected from the government. Why?
"Because they knew that what people believed and their freedom to live out and practice one's most deeply held beliefs was at the very heart of this radical and fragile experiment they had just launched into the world," the New York City author said.
Where are the threats to to religious freedom in America today?
Metaxas says that in Germany a preacher the Rev. Martin Niemoller was one of those fooled by Hitler during the early days of the Third Reich. Niemoller met with Hitler and told him that he cares about Germany and the Third Reich. Hitler cut him off and said, "I built the Third Reich. You just worry about your sermons!"
Metaxas further interpreted that to mean that Hitler was saying "you can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state!"
Metaxas drew comparisons to the situation in the U.S. today when he said, "Most of you see the growing state, gobbling up more and more of the free market and freedom itself."
He said if "religious freedom is threatened, it is just the same. There are twin engines that have made this the greatest country in the history of the world."
He mentioned it was Christians who led the fight against slavery in the United States and led the Civil Rights movement. He said Rosa Parks was chosen to initate the bus boycott because she was a Christian. Jackie Robinson was chosen to be the first African-American major league baseball player in the U.S. and he was a Christian. Branch Rickey, the owner of the then Brooklyn Dodgers, was a Christian who felt it was his duty to integrate major league baseball because it was God's will.
He gave these examples of Christians affecting society as a strong argument for the fact churches and Christians need to remain active in the country's affairs and the government.
Metaxas closed his speech by saying, "If you push the voices of faith out of the mainstream and replace them with a secular orthodoxy, you take away the most important check the Founders put in place against undbridled statism."
The core of Metaxas message appears to be that churches and Christians need to wake up in America today. If they don't confront evil in the world today, they will suffer the same fate as those people in pre-World War II Germany who failed to stand up to Hitler and his government.
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