"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Knowing it by its fruit

We can readily track political ideas entering the environment when they arrive from politicians, from the media, from interest groups, but some of the sources, while intuitively evident enough, are harder to track.

Goldy at Horse’s Ass located one in a post today, in noting material which has been removed from a church’s web side. This is the Cedar Park Church (Assembly of God) at Bothell – a megachurch, with around 2,000 members – led by Pastor Joe Fuiten. We should all be watching him and it, closely (we’re adding it to our regular check-list). The Seattle Weekly reported in November 2004 that, operation through the Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government, “the pastor sent 2,700 such voter registration boxes to churches across the state, netting what he estimates to be 45,000 to 90,000 new voters. Those are huge numbers that are impossible to verify; he says they come from a sample survey of churches that received the boxes.” We have no reason to doubt the numbers.

The church has redone its web site, and some of the old material isn’t visible. That drew Goldy’s attention, and a reply from the church that the old material will be reposted soon. Meantime, courtesy of Google’s caches – where would we be without them? – some material from an October 20, 2001 sermon.

It is absolutely necessary that we compare one religion with another. The old idea was that it didn’t really matter what a person believed. What we discovered on September 11th was that religion does matter. A person’s beliefs are not just private because we all have to share this planet. As long as we all share the Christian concept of doing good to your neighbor, then what particular brand of that belief a person holds is not so important. But when people hold religious views that allow them to kill their neighbor, when war against unbelievers is a core tenet of their faith, then we have a bit of a different situation.

We now know that the old secular idea that religion is not relevant to the public square wasn’t true. We now have to evaluate religion by its fruit. What kind of results does that religion produce? If one of the fruits of Islam is the rubble of the World Trade Center then we need to get some answers about this religion.

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