The Most Important Speech at CPAC 2013

March 16, 2013

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All day long I’ve been swabbing my house and keeping me company? Hour after hour of all the speeches from CPAC 2013. I loved Sarah Palin’s speech–“step away from the telepromptr, Mr. President and lead” –later grabbing her Big Gulp cup, Ted Cruz’s fabulous exhibition, Marco Rubio’s charged up reminder of what makes America great and Phyllis Schlafley’s tales from the front lines. But I believe the most important speech of the event is one that won’t get much play. It’s the one that is the most important because of who made the speech. It was made by an author whom I’ve tried countless times to come on my show to talk about just this thing. 

eric metaxasThe most important speech was by Eric Metaxas who spoke on religious liberty. It is one speech that as an American you cannot miss. Metaxas has especial moral authority to tell this tale because he has done deep study into the last time the world saw this loss of religious liberty–under the Nazis. He tells this tale in his book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. 

Here is an excerpt of that speech and below is the video of his talk. Please watch it.

Okay, so where are the threats to Religious Freedom in America today? Well, for one thing, understand we are not talking about Freedom of Worship. In a speech 18 months ago, Hillary Clinton replaced the phrase Freedom of Religion with Freedom of Worship — and my hero and friend Chuck Colson noticed and was disturbed by it.  Why? Because these are radically different things. They have Freedom of Worship in China. But what exactly is Freedom of Worship?

In my book Bonhoeffer I talk about a meeting between Bonhoeffer’s friend, the Rev. Martin Niemoller, who early on in the Third Reich was one of those fooled by Hitler.  And in that meeting he says something to Hitler about how he, Niemoller, cares about Germany and Third Reich — and Hitler cuts him off and says “I built the Third Reich. You just worry about your sermons!”

There in a few words you have the idea of Freedom of Worship.  Freedom of Worship says you can have your little strange rituals and say whatever you like in your little religious buildings for an hour or two on Sundays, but once you leave that building you will bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state! We will tell you what to think on the big and important questions. Questions like when life begins and who gets to decide when to end it and what marriage is…  And if you don’t like it, tough luck! That’s Freedom of Worship and that have that in China and they had it in Germany in Bonhoeffer’s day…

But the Founding Fathers said just the opposite! They said the faith inside that church building must live on and flourish outside that building. In fact, the Founders believed the success of the American Experiment depends on it! In Os Guinness’s book — A FREE PEOPLE’S SUICIDE – he reminds us that the Founders believed Freedom of Religion was at the heart of the American Experiment.

In that book he talks about the Golden Triangle of Freedom — I’ll bet you never heard about that in school or in college. He explains that the Founders knew that Freedom and Self-Government were not possible without Virtue. Without virtue, we would simply vote to line our own pockets and elect those leaders who would line our pockets. Sound familiar? But they believed that Freedom required Virtue and Virtue in turn required Faith. It was mainly Faith that motivated citizens toward Virtue.  So Freedom required Virtue and Virtue required Faith — but Faith in turn required Freedom.  Faith requires Freedom. The whole triangle falls apart if you take away any of those three things. They support each other.  Please read A FREE PEOPLE’S SUICIDE.