That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
CHURCH & STATE
KEEP THEM SEPARATE
"Swarms of Christian 'hornets' are going to sweep across the United States, clearing the way for citizens to ALTER THE FIRST AMENDMENT and establish a 'Christian government,' according to Ted Panteleo, director of The Freedom Council, a newly organized group backed by Pat Robertson's powerful Christian Broadcasting Network. " Church & State, May 1982.
GRASSROOTS POLITICAL MOVEMENT
"In an April 7 state organizing meeting at the Bethel Baptist Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, Panteleo said the Freedom Council plans to select 'good Christian men and women' in each congressional district in the country to set up a grassroots political network which can 'turn this country back to Jesus.'
"With a membership limited exclusively to 'born again Christians,' Panteleo said his group plans to monitor and lobby the state legislatures and Congress, and, in the future elect officials who will 'advance religious freedom and Christianity.'
"The Freedom Council, and its mentor Robertson, claim federal judges are 'unelected tyrants' who have overturned the country's Christian heritage. The group means to reverse that trend by getting born-again Christians to promote their cause through the political and educational process...their goals...opposing anything that is 'against God, Christianity or freedom.'
"...Panteleo....believes...that the key to achieving evangelical Christian political goals is to 'go back and take the land little by little,' a tactic he drew from a passage in the Old Testament book of Exodus [23:28-30]. Other Religious Right organizations, he said, have emphasized large centralized staffs supported by direct mail fundraising programs with no grassroots organization. In an indirect criticism of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, he said such groups have no widespread popular support with which to pressure elected officials. The Freedom Council will be built from the grassroots, he said. 'Then you can have a Christian President and a Christian government.'
"Panteleo described the council framework as including state coordinators, congressional district coordinators, and 'capital city' coordinators who will monitor state legislative activity and report to council headquarters. Fifteen pastors are 'risking' their churches' tax exempt status to be state contacts, he said. Eventually, the council plans to extend its organizing to the precinct level.
'HORNETS' TO DRIVE FREEDOM FROM AMERICA!
"Quoting from the book of Exodus, Panteleo said God sent hornets before the wandering tribes of Israel, to drive out the people residing in the Promised Land so the Israelites could take it. He said The Freedom Council and other similar groups will be the 'hornets' of the United States, preparing the way for a Christian political triumph. Panteleo claimed his group is already organized in 42 states..."
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE A 'MYTH'
"The participation and support of Robertson...may be the key factor in the success or failure of The Freedom Council. His '700 Club', a Christian talk show, is broadcast on an estimated 159 television affiliates, 2,700 cable outlets, and the network's own four stations, and it claims an audience of several million. In October of last year, the show featured a week-long series called 'Seven Days Ablaze,' opposing the concept of church-state separation. HE CHARGED THAT THE 'WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE' IS A MYTH promoted in
recent years by the Communist-influenced American Civil Liberties Union 'to bring the United States into line with the Constitution, not of the U.S., but of the U.S.S..R.' Robertson recommended that Christians join 'grassroots freedom groups' like The Freedom Council to change national policy.
"A half hour film presentation called 'The Dividing Line' was shown at Panteleo's organizing meeting in Maryland. It consisted of film clips from the week long television series .... Another speaker on the film was Professor Charles Rice of Notre Dame University who said the nation is in the midst of 'warfare' between the view that God's will is paramount and the view that the state is God.
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION PROPOSED
"Following the film, Panteleo said Rice was 'considered by many to be the next Supreme Court judge' and added that Rice is working with Panteleo's group to draft an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to further their common goals. While Panteleo did not specify the contents of the amendment, Robertson on the 700 Club series suggested an amendment 'over and above the First Amendment' to guarantee Christian religious liberty. Panteleo has already appeared before the Missouri legislature advocating a resolution calling for a national constitutional convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Experts believe such a convention could not be limited to one subject and could REWRITE THE WHOLE CONSTITUTION, INCLUDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS.
"700 CLUB" FAVORITE SUGGESTS POPE BE WORLD RULER
"(Ironically, Rice, who has found favor with the evangelical Christian political movement, is a devout Catholic with decidedly non-Protestant views on the role of the papacy. In his book, Beyond Abortion: The Theory and Practice of the Secular State, Rice wrote that, 'there must be someone,, outside the government and the people, to whom it can look for morally binding interpretations of the natural law. Since the natural law is the law of God and since Christ is God, it would be appropriate for the supralegal arbiter...TO BE THE VICAR OF CHRIST ON EARTH [i.e. THE POPE].') (Brackets theirs.)
ROBERTSON RE-ENTERS CHRISTIAN POLITICAL ARENA
"The Virginia evangelist made a much publicized exit from the Religious Right in October of 1980, resigning his membership in The Roundtable, an organization of evangelical conservatives. He expressed his personal belief then that 'the Lord is to change society through spiritual rather than political means' and worried that confusion about his political role might endanger his spiritual mission.
"With his interest in politics renewed, Robertson chose Panteleo, who attended Loyola University, to head his political wing. Panteleo gained experience in national organizing through coordinating the 'non-political' Washington For Jesus in 1980, an event which brought 500,000 conservative and evangelical Christians to the nation's capital to pray for the country. He said the successful rally was the 'turning point' in the visibility and influence of Christians in public affairs." Ibid.
"We face a new political regime in this country – a new cluster of political moods with religious overtones. Some think that we are now hovering on the brink of fascism" Christian Century, July 29, 1981.
"Relations between church and state in America are slipping into disarray and conflict as never before. In the view of clergymen and politicians, 'the wall of separation ' that Thomas Jefferson hoped would protect religion and government from each other and assure freedom to diverse faiths IS LOSING CREDIBILITY EVEN AS A HOPE." U.S. News & World Report, December 7, 1981.
"Sen. Jesse Helms supposedly remarked to 'liberal' Sen. Lowell Weicker that we better be ready to make some changes in our liberal legislation, because it was very clear from the list of laws handed down from Mt. Sinai what was expected of us. There it is – a hierarchical, controlling, threatening, distant either/or, clear-cut, win/lose, succeed/fail, IMPOSED religious mentality." Network, Jan/Feb 1982.
"A GROWING BACKLASH AGAINST RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES IS DRIVING THE NATION TOWARD A CONFRONTATION OVER A SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE." James Mann, U. S. News & World Report.
Speaking of the separation of church and state, Editor Presnall Wood of The Baptist Standard declared, "WE MUST NEVER TIRE OF ATTEMPTING TO PUT THEM AND KEEP THEM IN THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE." (Editorial, October 3, 1979.) In response to this Editorial, a Letter to the Editor stated, "Amen to the Editorial....I am strongly in favor of religious freedom for everyone, but my heart quavered as I thought of Catholic traditions and beliefs. Are we on the threshold of ushering in another dark ages in our history of Christianity?" (October 31, 1979.)
Lois I. Roden