On July 1, Thomas Road Baptist Church will conduct its annual Celebrate America event in Lynchburg, Va., and I would like to invite all my Falwell Confidential friends to join us. We will have loads of fun for the entire family, including: “Slidezilla” (a four-story-tall water slide), rock-climbing wall; inflatable moonwalks; an obstacle course; a caterpillar maze; pony rides; a petting zoo; a car show; and much more. Once it is dark, we will also stage the largest fireworks display in Central Virginia that will shake the surrounding mountains.
The day will also feature our God & Country music program that will honor our veterans and the Judeo-Christian founding of our nation. Further, there will be lots of food and fellowship with people from all over the country throughout the day. Best of all, it’s all free (other than the food) and there’s no charge for parking.
It all takes place on July 1 from 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. So if you’re looking for a great day of family fun and fellowship, join us in Lynchburg as we celebrate America.
Here in Virginia, a county school board recently voted to provisionally remove a Ten Commandments display at a public high school, substituting a page from a history textbook. The Board for Giles County Public Schools made the decision because a lawsuit against the American Law and Government display is underway.
Our friends at Liberty Counsel say the page being used depicts the “Roots of Democracy” and begins with the Ten Commandments stone tablets. The books states, “The values found in the Bible including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus inspired American ideas about government and morality.” Liberty Counsel says the Virginia Standards of Learning requires students to learn about the foundational principles of civilizations and the foundations of law and government.
“A display on the foundations of American law and government would be incomplete and inaccurate without the Ten Commandments. Any student of history knows this basic truth,” said Mat Staver. He’s absolutely right. But many in our nation want to conceal the importance of the Ten Commandments in the foundation of our law. Remember that John Jay, the first U.S. Chief Justice of the United States, stated, “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.” Those are wise words but they are considered offensive to modern secularists who want to purge such expressions from the public square.
This week, an IRS official told pastors in Washington to be careful about political activities that might endanger a church’s tax-exempt status. The Associated Press reported that Peter Lorenzetti told the Faith Leaders Summit that pastors should avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or making contributions to their campaigns. Lorenzetti said that churches were free to distribute voter guides that inform voters on political issues as long as they do not favor a particular candidate.
This can be a confusing issue for pastors and church leaders. Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, had this to say about this topic. “Not one church has ever lost tax-exempt status for supporting or opposing a candidate for public office.” Mat added, “Pastors can always speak on biblical issues. Further, pastors and churches can encourage members to register to vote, urge them to vote, and educate members about the views of candidates on a variety of issues.”
I know this to be true because Thomas Road Baptist Church has held voter-registration drives and distributed legal voter guides for many years. There is a lot of scare-mongering on this issue, but pastors should feel free to be vocal in educating their congregations on important political-social issues. Remember, as believers, we are to pray for our leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2) and be wise in all that we do (Matthew 10:16), including voting.
Thomas Road Baptist Church will hold Vacation Bible School June 10-14 (6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.). This year’s theme is “The Quest for the Silver Knight.” Any of my readers with children or grandchildren in the Central Virginia area are invited to bring the kids for this special week. Our VBS programs are renowned for their creative programs that feature great songs, games, skits and Bible stories that teach kids about the importance of personally knowing Jesus. Our church website (www.trbc.org) has an information and registration site for all who are interested.