Monday, July 20, 2009

Hat's off to Albert Mohler

In case you missed it, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in April that "President Obama's statement [on April 6 in Turkey] that America is not a Christian country is ... both accurate and helpful, though he is being criticized by many conservative Christians for making the claim." Mohler's support of President Obama's comment is in line with another Baptist writing 218 years ago. As noted below, Baptist minister and leader John Leland wrote in 1790, during the ratification process of the Bill of Rights, "The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever."

Dr. Mohler is correct that many conservative Christian leaders (including James Dobson) have attacked Obama's contention that the United States is not a Christian nation. Hat's off to him for breaking ranks and affirming both the veracity of the president's statement and his own Baptist heritage. Making Christianity the official religion of the government would not be a Christian thing to do.

Baptists in Virginia in the days of John Leland knew what it was to be severely persecuted by a "Christian" government establishment. This experience along with the teachings of Christ inspired them to be advocates for the complete separation of church and state. That effort was wise at the founding of this country and it remains wise today.

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