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Preacher Gets Religion; Is Overcome By Tolerance
The Reverence Gregory Gird, preacher at a thriving megachurch with 5,000 devoted members, caused quite a stir and lost 1,000
adherents when he gave a sermon in which he came right out and defended tolerance.
There were early warning signs that he might advocate the now intolerable virtue. When asked repeatedly by members to announce that he was against all the things right-thinking
people are supposed to abhor, such as gay divorce, abortion for recreational purposes, and Democrats in general, he repeatedly demurred.
Apparently, he finally could no longer restrain himself from divulging his true thoughts. He preached, not only one, but
six sermons in which he actually advocated the separation of church and state, cautioned members against the superimposition of their own guidelines on sexual inclinations,
advised them to stop referring to America as a Christian nation, and encouraged them to make a place in their hearts for that radical document, The Bill Of Rights.
Most calamitously of all, he dared to advise them that having Christ in their hearts meant they should love everybody, even people who don't agree with them. While he himself is a
conservative with much the same beliefs as his attendees, he still felt that the role of religious people is to conduct themselves with reliably religious principles, such as the controversial triumvirate of "Faith, hope, and charity," instead of losing their laudable fellow-feeling in intolerant social
In his alarming sermon, he said that the role of Christians is not to attempt to gain "power over" others though politics but "winning people's hearts" by sacrificing for those in need. He went so far as to say, "America wasn't founded as a theocracy."
Even more upsetting to many in attendance, he went on to say that America was actually founded by people trying to escape
theocracies and there has never been a Christian theocracy that wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why the Constitution wisely
included separation of church and state.
Many members of his congregation walked out right in the midst of his sermon, but afterward numerous others congratulated him
for his Christ-like compassion for the much maligned and his courage to come out of the pulpit for his beliefs.
One dissenter stated, "When we joined years ago, Greg was a conservative speaker. But we totally disagreed with him on this. You can't be a Christian and ignore actions that you feel are wrong, like what other people think and do much too often."
On the other hand, a supporter stated, Minister Gird's sermon "was liberating to me. Now I can have tea with my agnostic neighbor again."
Minister Gird remained convinced he had done the right thing, saying, "I don't think there's a particular angle Christians have
on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don't slap the label 'Christian' on it."
Apparently, he came to realize that all generalization are, by definition, intolerant of individual rights and that the best answer is often a question, from Socrates right on down to now.
He also seemed to be approaching the ethic that may be even more challenging than love, which is kindness, a virtue that is not quite so malleable to turns of convenience.
Article written by Tom Attea.
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