By Jack Glover
Some may think this disrespectful. I do not intend it to be so. I am watching some of the great ceremony in Washington, D.C., for the pope and having some thoughts concerning it.
I have watched other greetings of heads of state in the past. I have not seen this type of ceremony for any of them, at the White House and certainly not in a stadium with a 75-foot altar. Many thousands of people are gathered there along with much pomp and ceremony. It is a beautiful sight.
We live in a free country. I am thankful for that blessing. I am thankful for freedom of religion, but there is a problem, an inconsistency, with this freedom in our country, and I am looking at it right now.
If I, as an elder in the church of Christ, wanted to make arrangements to hold a meeting like the one going on at present with the pope, I would be denied and probably laughed at for such a notion — separation of church and state, you know.
My questions and thoughts are, why does this separation apply in certain situations but not in all? Obviously, I am watching a religious ceremony, with prayers, teaching, many mentions of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and communion. Why is this allowed and supported by our government but I can’t read, or in some cases even have, a Bible in a school? If the pope can teach scriptures, and scriptural principles, why am I not allowed to confront false doctrines in class books in our schools? Why can I not ask for God’s blessings at a ball game or graduation, but the pope can ask blessings at a government supported religious event?
You say that the government is not supporting this event, that it is the Catholic church. I beg to differ. This event has cost thousands and probably millions of taxpayer dollars for security and other things, and is supported from our president on down.
Do I dislike the pope or Catholics? No! I am just wondering why our freedom of religion is being snuffed out in about any government-built building or associated event, but the rules change in this type of situation. What happened to my right to confront teaching that is obviously against the scriptures, in state- and federal-supported class books, while the government allows evolutionary teaching by professors, school teachers, etc.
Freedom of religion is a right that I, as well as the pope, have under the Constitution, and I should be able to exercise it without government interference. God tells me to preach the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). That is what I want the freedom to do.