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Separation anxiety

I grew up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  At one time I attended Phillips University, which was, in addition to a regular college, one of the seminaries for the denomination.  (As difficult as it is to imagine now, for those that know me, at one time I intended to become an ordained minister.)  A few years ago, I also learned that one of my ancestors was one of a group of ministers who broke from the Presbyterian Church and eventually (there were a few other steps involved) formed the Christian Church (DofC).

Since I was at Phillips, I’ve been aware that the official Church hierarchy is a bit to the left of the congregations out here in the sticks (especially ones like the one my Grandmother attended).  But, that wasn’t a problem for me when I was younger, and I figured it was better than those Fundamentalists and Pentecostals I dealt with in my home town.

I was disappointed to learn today that the church I grew up in is part of a coalition demanding that the government curtail free speech.

I don’t have a problem with any denomination having a political agenda.  I don’t have a problem with any denomination denouncing any group or practice.  Personally, for example, I think Fred Phelps is obnoxious and deluded.  I don’t like it or agree with it, and if there is such a thing as hate speech I’m pretty sure what he does qualifies, but as far as I’m concerned he can say what he wants.

I do, however have a problem with any denomination demanding government control of words they don’t like.  If a group or individual thinks something said on Fox News or talk radio (that’s what this is about) is wrong they should show that it is wrong, ridicule it, argue with it, or (perish the thought) not listen to it.  You don’t go crusading for the government to prosecute it.  There is, I think, supposed to be some separation between church and state.  Demanding that the government get involved in regulating speech is a really dangerous thing.  Apparently this coalition has either forgotten or is willfully ignoring the history of Christianity, or else they are engaged in a myopic game of “it can’t happen here.”

In this case, the issue is some things said about illegal immigration that this coalition doesn’t like, wants designated as “hate speech”, and wants the government to prosecute.

The church I grew up in has sunk to the level of the Radical Islamicists.

Not that any of the D of C folks (other than my mother) are likely to care, but I will not set foot in a D of C church again, barring a decision to renounce the call for government prosecution of speech.‡

‡Now that I’ve written this, I realize that I will probably make 2 exceptions when it is time for funerals for my parents.

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