Bruce Gourley wrote:Sandy, I truly do not understand why you insist upon betraying your Baptist faith heritage. Our faith forebears shed their blood to separate church and state, insisting that the government had no business allying with or peddling any faith, including Christianity. Many non-Baptist Christian leaders in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were angered that America had been founded as a secular nation, and denounced our nation's founders -- Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others -- as heretics and infidels for their part in leading America away from Christianity. Baptists, however, had finally fulfilled their two-centuries long quest, and were very pleased.
Sandy wrote:You are exactly right, Bruce. However, that was in a day and age when the churches and their ministers provided the education that people received, if they got it, and before the system controlled by the government became philosophically hostile to the church. Public education does not operate from a position of strict neutrality toward religion. I doubt very seriously that early Baptists ever counted on the government taking over responsibility for education, or that the system would come under the control of an enlightenment era philosophy that would use it to attempt to eliminate the influence of Christian faith in the culture. And I doubt they would have sat still for having their tax money used to pay for it.
Actually, Baptists' championing of democracy and freedom of conscience for all preceded the Enlightenment
-- and influenced John Locke, whose Enlightenment views were less radical than those of Baptists
Also, the government today has no interest in eliminating Christian faith from culture, but instead maintains -- as our Baptist forefathers championed -- a free marketplace of religion in the public sphere, unaided by government and/or taxpayer dollars. Many Christians today, however, want the government to give preferential treatment
to Christianity. This seems to be your position, a stance opposed by our Baptist forebears.
You also did not address the second part of my post: until a few decade ago, Baptists of all doctrinal stripes were opposed to government-sponsored Christian prayers and scripture reading (as well as prayers and scripture reading of any other faiths) in public schools, and insisted upon neutrality to religion in public schools.
When did you change your mind about this historical Baptist position?