Monday, October 09, 2006

Russell Johnson on the "war against people of faith"

More from Sunday's forum

How can anyone say there's no war against people of faith when our children for 200 years could pray, read the bible, learn their alphabet?
...Our friends over here on our left have opposed the singing of Silent Night in schools, have opposed the Pledge of Allegiance that has been a part of our country for several decades. If there's no waging of war, go down the street and read Luke 2 during the month of December in school, and see if there's not a war against people of faith.

Our children are being muzzled. In Pennsylvania last week, there were children praying in school. And they needed to pray. I think children in Ohio deserve the chance to pray in their schools as well. We need to be able to to have academic freedom. If we teach a secular dogma called evolution, we should also be able to teach intelligent design. If we can read People Magazine, we should be able to read the Bible.

Reverend Barry Lynn and his friends Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Ted Strickland--they all have some things in common that take us further to the left than Ohio really lives. And I sense, candidly, the selective enforcement--Marcus Owens, if there's freedom of speech that's good for All Saints Church in, and I hope you win in California, please come and represent us, because it's good for Ohio too. (Applause) If it's good for the left coast, it's good for Ohio.

And I'll say, candidly, to our friend Eric Williams, please, we should never have to give up our citizenship. I believe that you have the right to say and do in your church whatever you want to in regard to those things. And I want you to have the freedom of speech. Please do not pretend that from Columbus, Ohio, you should be dictating to what we're saying in Fairfield Church in Lancaster, Ohio. I don't agree with you about a lot of things. I want to say you're a good guy, and we've shared the pulpit at different places and radio shows and things.

But, a lot of our folks on the religious left do not believe that the Bible is really true, do not believe in a bodily resurrection, do not believe in the tradition of marriage as I understand it, and they have that right to say that from their pulpit if they wish. And I will never ask the IRS to deprive you of your 501c3 because you disagree with me. I sense that the IRS is not here to somehow monitor what's going on at your pulpit or my pulpit. And I believe that just because we disagree on things, don't use the IRS to try to bully me. If you can't win in elections, if you can't win in the court of public opinion..."we'll go to the court and gather some sharp lawyers who can represent us well, and they'll craft something to try to take conservative Christians to court to intimidate them. And let's find one church that we can beat to a bloody pulp in a courtroom, and we'll make an example and intimidate churches all over the state to be quiet about life and marriage."

We will not be bullied and we will not be silenced, and we will shine. (Applause and cheers)

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