Tim Rutten: Beware the bully pulpit

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Participants in the pulpit initiative also are wrong on their history. From the founding it has been clear that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the architects of our notions of religious liberty, intended to prohibit the state from dictating the content of religious convictions. Thus this preamble to the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, which Jefferson drafted in 1777: "Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness ... that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money [through taxation] for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness ..."

That sounds a lot like the spirit of the current tax code, which makes funds available from our collective purse for pursuit of the common good, though not political advantage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

Posted September 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
Registered members must log in to comment.

Next entry (above): Consensus on Wall Street Rescue Plan Is Said to Be Near

Previous entry (below): Philip Yancey: On the Grand Canyon Bus

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)