I’m a Christian Minister, and Here’s Why I Opposed Oklahoma’s Official Ten Commandments Display

Photo by George Bannister/Flickr

In the wake of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling to remove the Ten Commandments monument erected at the state capitol, some have characterized the decision as anti-Christian or anti-religion.

To the surprise of many, I am an ordained Baptist minister who joined the ACLU lawsuit as a plaintiff challenging the Ten Commandments display.  I sincerely believe it is not the place of the government to co-opt this sacred scripture for political purposes.

As a Christian, the Ten Commandments are sacred to me, and that’s exactly why I felt compelled to take action to protect them. The Ten Commandments are a covenant between God and people of faith. They mention God six times and refer to "the Lord" seven times. They are obviously religious in nature. And, indeed, they have great religious significance for me and many other Christians. 

The Oklahoma government’s display of the Ten Commandments is particularly offensive because officials are pretending to be doing it for secular reasons, hoping to evade the ban in the state constitution prohibiting the government from promoting religion. But erecting a plainly religious monument under sham secular pretenses serves only to trivialize the holiness of sincere religious covenants.  It undermines religion by negating the significance of the most sacred symbols of our religious language.

I stand firmly for the historic Baptist tradition advocating universal religious liberty and am proud to join the ACLU in working to secure robust enforcement of the separation of religion and government.  Eternal vigilance regarding separation of church and state is good for both the government and for religion.  As the U.S. Supreme Court explained, “religion is too personal, too sacred, too holy, to permit its being ‘unhallowed by a civil magistrate.”

When I heard that the Oklahoma Supreme Court recognized this and ordered officials to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the capitol grounds, one word came to mind:  Amen.

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Anonymous

With all due respect, you are not much of a CHRISTIAN minister if you approve removal of the Ten Commandments from anywhere. As for being proud to join the ACLU? You're working for the devil. I pray you realize that before it's too late. After all, satan's desire is to remove any and all reminders that there IS a God.

Panda-s1

that's what going to church is for, lol

Anonymous

You have made a false idol out of stone. Repent for your idolatry.

Rusty

Yeah, personal freedoms are the work of the devil.

Anonymous

As a "Christian" why would you want Jewish laws that Jesus died to release you from posted?

Anonymous

Anonymous: I can't believe you read the article before responding. I was reared an American Baptist and was taught by my grandmother that the two most important things to remember about being a Baptist is the priesthood of all believers (following scripture according to one's own interpretation) and the separation of church and state. She would have approved of the SCOTUS ruling and don't you dare say she wasn't much of a Christian!

Barbara Morgan ...

Laughing out loud

Terence Harrist...

It is Satan that mixes government and religion making a prostitute of both. Ask our Baptist forebearers who were killed by the Roman government for their beliefs or the Pilgrims and protestants who were oppressed by the "Divine Right" of European kings whose state Christian religion allowed no room for religious tolerance or our Baptists in New England,
including Roger Williams, who had to flee the "Christian"persecution pursued by the state troops into Rhode Island. You ignore the establishment clause and sooner or later a group will be in the majority that will suppress the beliefs and rights of others. Every church and religious institution may put the Ten Commandments in neon lights and private citizens may display them at will leading to hundreds of thousands of such displays throughout the country. But when it comes to government religious preferences and displays,only "Satan" rejoices---repression and persecution, his handiwork, is not far in the future.

Anonymous

Satan? The Devil?

Anonymous

With all due respect, you are not much of a christian if you want to mix religion and gov't. And you aren't much of an American either. Either you agree with the 1st Amendment or you don't.

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