The state of Georgia is demanding that a pastor hand over his Bible so it can punish him for notes he has written in the margins.
Contrary to what you might think, this Georgia is not the country of Georgia located in Eurasia that was once a part of the communist empire of the former Soviet Union. No, this Georgia is the one located right here in the United States in the Bible Belt, in what used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Dr. Eric Walsh was one of the nation’s leading health administrators, even being appointed by President Obama to serve on the prestigious Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDs. He has both a medical degree and a doctorate in public health.
He was hired by Georgia in May of 2014 to help run the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH). That is, he was hired until LGBT activists in California alerted the DPH to the possibility that he might actually believe – gasp – what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and marriage, and might actually have preached on those topics from the pulpit in his role as a part-time pastor.
The Torquemadas in Georgia got busy paying state employees to listen to hours of his sermons on YouTube looking for smoking guns. An email from human resources executive Lee Rudd dated May 14, 2014 contained these instructions (emphasis mine):
“OK … I have an assignment for several of us. We have to listen to his sermons on You Tube [sic] tonight. If we take a couple of hours each, then we should cover our bases. I will enlist Dwana [Prince] to help us. Kate [Pfirman, Chief Financial Officer for the DPH] is going to listen to them as well.”
They evidently found what they were looking for, and Dr. Walsh was ceremoniously dumped two days later. Riding high in April, shot down in May by the Stormtroopers of the LGBT war machine.
Dr. Walsh, as he should have done, has filed a federal lawsuit against the state for violating the Constitution and breaking the law. It is a crime, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to discriminate against someone in hiring on the basis of religion. But that’s exactly what Georgia did.
Georgia is now faced with an uppity black man who is taking a stand for his civil rights, just as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. did decades ago. Georgia, the bastion of racial progress that it is, decided it wasn’t going to take that lying down, and fired right back by issuing a subpoena not only for Dr. Walsh’s sermon notes but for his Bible.
Now Georgia claims it did not fire Dr. Walsh for his religious beliefs. Then why in the world is the state demanding to see his sermons, his sermon notes, and the notes he has written in the margins of his own Bible?
The left has always told us they believe in “freedom of worship,” by which they mean the right to say whatever we want in our own churches from 11 am to noon on Sundays. That one hour, they have told us, is yours. Never mind that they think the other 167 hours of the week belong to them, and that they think they get to tell us exactly what we can say, do and even think all week long.
Dr. Walsh’s case is proof that they have been lying to us all this time. They are now going after the last vestige of religious liberty left in America by taking the one small sliver of time they have deigned to leave to us to practice our faith.
But the Constitution does not protect “freedom of worship.” It protects much more than that – it protects “the free exercise thereof.” That means we possess the constitutionally guaranteed right not only to believe but to practice (“exercise”) our faith 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just as we possess, as our constitutional birthright, the right to freedom of speech, press, petition and association.
The federal government is flatly prohibited by the Constitution from interfering with the free exercise of religion, and the constitution of the state of Georgia contains an even stronger declaration of religious liberty.
Here’s how Paragraphs III and IV of the Georgia constitution read: (emphasis mine):
Paragraph III. Freedom of conscience. Each person has the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of that person’s own conscience; and no human authority should, in any case, control or interfere with such right of conscience.
Paragraph IV. Religious opinions; freedom of religion. No inhabitant of this state shall be molested in person or property or be prohibited from holding any public office or trust on account of religious opinions.
Now, whatever else the free exercise of religion means, it means at an absolute minimum that government is not allowed to dictate to preachers the content of their sermons or punish them for teaching the time-honored precepts of Christianity. Yet this is exactly what Georgia is trying to do to Dr. Walsh.
Here’s the point: if they can do this to Dr. Walsh, they can do it to you. If they can come for his Bible, they can come for yours. To paraphrase Dr. King, a threat to religious liberty anywhere is a threat to religious liberty everywhere.
I have frequently said that the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty in the history of America. Every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. Every single place where homosexuality advances, Christianity and religious liberty is forced into retreat. Dr. Walsh is living proof.
Don’t miss this significance of this. We have now come to the place where embracing and endorsing sexual deviancy is a condition of employment in the United States. If you reject sexual deviancy as a cultural value, and you still have your job, it’s only because they haven’t gotten around to you yet.
There is much at stake in this election. But the single greatest concern we all should have is that the very freedom we have to practice our faith is on the chopping block. We have two main candidates on the ballot, one of whom has pledged to defend religious liberty. The other is determined to use the coercive power of the state to compel us to change our minds about fundamental articles of faith.
Hillary Clinton said in a speech (emphasis mine), “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
That means our beliefs about the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and human sexuality must be modified by the force of government to conform to her benighted view of what Americans must believe.
So of all the factors we must weigh as we face on November 8, one is clearly a choice between religious liberty and religious tyranny. Let’s hope and pray the American people choose wisely. Your ability to keep your own Bible is at risk.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)