Houston’s Bible monument
A few more court decisions like this week’s over a display of a Bible in Houston and the United States will be approaching the “China-level” for Christian persecution, according to a leader in the midst of that battle.
The ruling from the Fifth Court of Appeals said the display of a Bible on public ground in Houston to honor the founder of a mission has to go, not because it was unconstitutional itself, but because it became unconstitutional when a Christian group rallied around it.
The pastor’s group said that means any monument, building, or even feature of nature is an illegal “establishment of religion” if a church ceremony is held there.
“Connecting the dots between the eminent domain case, which says all of your churches are up for grabs if a town wants a mall, secondly you now have been told you do not have constitutional rights in the public square,” Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastors Conference, told WorldNetDaily.
“Any kind of an event is okay, as long as you didn’t express any religious faith. What is that telling you?
“We’re not persecuted yet, we know that. But we’re on our way there. Add that to the surprising acceptance of militant Islam, the fear of speaking against that from a Christian standpoint and then we’re dangerously approaching the point where we have literally given away and yielded our freedoms that were earned,” Welch said.
“We have history, law and the founding fathers who adopted the Constitution collectively affirming the truth expressed by revered Justice Joseph Story in 1840 that, ‘We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity,’” said a statement issued by the pastor’s group.
Welch told WND that the court’s conclusion was “ludicrous” and if followed logically, could mean that a religious rally at any public building would therefore make the building unconstitutional so it would have to be removed.
The Bible was installed on county property about five decades ago in honor of William Mosher, the founder of Star of Hope Mission, and was replaced in 1996 with donated funds. However, an atheist challenged the monument, and on an appeal from the District Court decision that the Bible was unconstitutional, the appeals court carried the argument further.
Its ruling said that the monument became an unconstitutional “establishment” after a 2003 rally was held by Christians to defend the display. That rally involved prayers and clergy, the court noted.
“The ramifications of this tortured decision are breath-taking and without any historic or legitimate Constitutional rationale,” said the pastors’ organization. “For the court to state that if a private citizen exercises his or her First Amendment rights of religious expression and assembly on public property, that any monument, building or fixed item of any kind that contains religious references becomes ‘establishment of religion’ is simply irrational.”
The conclusion, if applied nationwide, would result in the sandblasting of hundreds of monuments and buildings “including the capstone on the Washington Monument, which reads, ‘Laus Deo,’ or ‘Praise be to God,’” the pastors group continued.
“For this panel majority of two justices to claim that words and actions by private citizens or elected officials with religious content, expressed about a building or monument, convert it from ‘secular’ and constitutional to ‘sacred’ and unconstitutional amounts to an act of blatant judicial activism against the freedoms and Constitution,” the HAPC said.
The group Battle For The Bible also is working on the case, and Welch said there are experts on constitutional law who have been and plan to continue assisting the county in its fight over the representation of the Bible.
“They are of the opinion this needs to be appealed directly to the Supreme Court, and we’re working on that right now,” Welch told WND.
He called the logic “twisted” that could conclude the monument once was constitutional, but since “some action by a private citizen” it now becomes unconstitutional.
Because the atheist’s lawsuit was against the county over the monument on county land, the pastors and their advisors have been assisting County Attorney Michael Stafford in the fight.
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