Written by Don Byrd

I posted earlier this week about remarks delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he ordered a federal review of faith-based funding practices in light of a recent Supreme Court decision, Trinity Lutheran Church. During his speech, as I noted, he was interrupted by a pair of ministers.

The first was a Methodist pastor, Will Green, who quoted Scripture and called on Sessions to repent for actions he considered to be “wounding the body of Christ.” The second was a Baptist minister, Darrell Hamilton, who objected to Green having been removed from the event. In defending his speaking out, Hamilton called on the Baptist tradition and heritage of standing up for everyone’s freedom of conscience as central to the cause of religious liberty.

Writing for Baptist News Global, Bob Allen, quotes Hamilton explaining his view on the need to honor religious voices of dissent, perhaps especially at an event focused on the topic of religious liberty.

“I honestly felt like it’s very hypocritical and really ironic that we would be at a luncheon with the intention of lifting up the importance of religious liberty and free exercise of religion, there was in fact a Christian minister who was speaking the words of Jesus himself, and … at the sound of those words at the behest of that gospel being proclaimed, they wanted to silence him,” Hamilton told The Resistance Prays, an outlet for progressive people of faith.

“They want to lift up and talk about championing the importance of religious liberty and free exercise…”

“There was an individual doing just that, but because he was doing it in a way they didn’t agree and because they were possibly hearing a sermon they did not want to hear, they felt that it would be best to remove such a gentleman,” Hamilton said. “I don’t see how you can present yourself as a true champion of religious liberty when in fact someone is exercising his faith, you then choose to escort them out of the room because it is an inconvenience to you.”