I rarely use my blog to vent or share my opinions, but this week I’m making an exception. I want to comment on an article in the L.A. Times, “Why Christians should embrace the Satan statue in Oklahoma.” If you are not familiar with plans to erect a statue of Satan near the Oklahoma State Capitol, please take a minute to read the article.
I use pictures in my blog posts, but you might have noticed that the picture for this post is missing. Some of you may disagree with my decision not to share the picture accompanying the Los Angeles Times article, but our Constitution gives me freedom of the press (to choose what I will or will not publish) and also freedom of religion. As an American, I am grateful for my constitutional rights.
The problem I have with the idea of Christians “embracing” the Satan statue goes back to America’s beginnings and my mother’s ancestors.
My Doty family arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. They were pilgrims. Their main reason for leaving England was that they wanted freedom to worship God as they pleased and not as the Church of England required.
In describing the moments before their departure on the Mayflower, Governor William Bradford wrote, ”…[they, the pilgrims] spent a good part of the day very profitably and suitable to their present occasion; the rest of the time was spent pouring out prayers to the Lord with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears . . .but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on [the sadness of leaving], but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits.” (From Bradford’s manuscript Of Plymouth Plantation.)
The Plimoth Plantation web page explains that a scripture passage from Paul to the Corinthians added to the pilgrims’ reasons for leaving: “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’” (2 Corinthians 6: 16-18 NIV)
The italics in that scripture are mine. “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?…. ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”
As an American, do I believe in freedom of religious expression? Yes. Do I accept that people have the right to equality in expressing their religious beliefs? I do. But I cannot help but wonder what my pilgrim ancestors would say about Christians “embracing” a statue of Satan. Would they link it with Baal worship in the Old Testament? If they were to come back today from heaven would they remind us of God’s warning in Deuteronomy 6:14–15: “Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” (NIV)
I believe that many Americans, in their attempt to be fair, have lost sight of the Christian principles at the root of this country’s beginning. No, Christians should not embrace the Satan statue in Oklahoma. But, the one thing that they must embrace is that we are in the end times, and God will judge America according to its actions.
Next week, I promise, a much lighter post.
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