Written by Don Byrd
Earlier this year, I posted thoughts on some troubling statements from Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, who seems never to have met a problem he couldn’t blame on the separation of church and state. Jeffress continues to give Baptists a bad name, as chronicled in a new op-ed from Boulder, Colorado Pastor Andrew Daugherty. By continuing to insist that “America is a Christian nation,” Daugherty writes, Jeffress spreads a message that “pose[s] grave dangers for religious liberty and justice for all in the land that we love.”
Here is an excerpt from Daugherty’s powerful Baptist News Global column:
Despite the puritanical impulses in colonial America, our country is not a colony of the kingdom of heaven. It never has been, and it never will be, legally or constitutionally. Privileging any one religion above another endangers our ability to work for the common good for all citizens. Thus, as Virginia Baptist minister John Leland said in the 1780s, “The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever.”
As a freedom-loving Baptist myself who happens to be a pastor, too, Jeffress does not speak for me or the best of the historic Baptist tribe. Tried-and-true Baptists like Roger Williams, Obadiah Holmes, John Leland and even George W. Truett (incidentally, a former pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas), must be wishing they could speak from the grave about the harmful heresy of Christian nationalism – a heresy that is harmful both to people of any religion, including Christianity, and people of no religion.
Read the whole thing.
And while you are being inspired reading about the implications of Baptist heritage, check out Tappahanock, Virginia Pastor Jonathan Davis’ “The Eccentric Nature of Religious Freedom and True Dissent” also published by Baptist New Global.