Pastors plan rally: ‘Why not here and why not now?’

Posted by : admin | On : December 9, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The message was clear Friday morning at a meeting that saw more than 70 Christian church leaders from across the county join to discuss holding a rally next week: We want to do this, but we want to do this right.

“This is not about defending a symbol of our faith, this is about defending our faith,” said pastor Nathan Lorick of FBC Malakoff.

“The reason is to unite believers for a spiritual awakening and rally,” he added.

Lorick is one of four pastors to initiate the rally movement.

The rally is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, on the west side of the courthouse.

The rally is being planned in response to demands from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that the county remove a nativity scene displayed as part of the courthouse Christmas decorations.

Public response to the demand and the accompanying media coverage have been massive by any standard. In the 48 hours after posting the initial story, The Malakoff News received around 700 comments on its Facebook Page and website. Lorick and Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders were guests on the Fox & Friends program on the national Fox News Channel, and Lorick appeared on the national syndicated Glenn Beck radio program.

Lorick and the other pastors who came up with the rally plan – Robert Welch of Rock Hill Baptist in Brownsboro, Eric Graham of Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens and Derek Rogers, a county resident who pastors a church in Corsicana – are hoping to use the event to give that outcry expression and direction.

Lorick said the reason for the rally is “to proclaim the word of God in a way that’s not seen in our nation. For some reason, that’s no longer OK.”

The pastors also want their fellow Christians to realize that there is a lot of pain in the county – poverty, drug abuse, domestic abuse – and that it cannot be ignored.

“We must back our faith up with action and service,” Lorick said.

Be clear, the pastors believe the nativity should stay. But as pastor Kyle Henderson of FBC Athens said, it should stay because that is the law, not because Christians are in the majority. He said he has twice lived in places in the United States where Christians were in the minority, “and the Constitution protected me as a Christian.”

Officials from Henderson County said they believe the county is in compliance with federal law with the nativity scene.

“We are thankful that we have elected officials that will take a stand, even if it will cost us,” said Lorick.

But always, the pastors came back to taking a stand correctly.

“There is a whole lot of rhetoric out there,” said Lorick. “The point is getting across, but maybe not getting across with the light of Christ. We want to be loving and merciful, but bold in our faith.”

Welch added, “Though we are passionate, we are people of love and peace.”

In the end, the pastors are hoping this is the start of something bigger than a set of nativity figurines.

“We are always talking about revival,” said Lorick. “Why not here and why not now?”

Find the rally Facebook event page here.

Comments (26)

  1. Eric Tabor said on 09-09-2012

    My wife and I contacted Pastor Nathan Lorick prior to his radio interview regarding the Atheist Group from Wisconsin using the Winter Solstice in their argument. The Winter Solstice is a Wiccan holiday that has nothing to do with Atheism. Wiccan religion predates Christianity and alot of Christian holidays are based from Wiccan religion. Just research it please. Wiccans do not judge other religions or try to oppress their views on anyone. We believe in God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and The Goddess which is ” Mary ” Jesus’ mother. We believe everything has a spirit and deserves respect. That is Wiccan and the truth about it. Thank you for listening, Eric and Robin Tabor ( South Carolina )

  2. Ms Cox said on 16-12-2011

    Some of the wording on the banner constitutes a hate speech crime. In crime and law, hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or political affiliation. The emphasis is on religion for this conversation. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property (defacing the Nativity figures), bullying (sending the FFRF letter of removal), harassment (FFRF local member falsely claiming the Nativity was the sole focus), verbal abuse or insults (prior demonstration of the FFRF in the state of Washington), or offensive graffiti or letters (wording on the FFRF banner). It would be naïve to think the FFRF prior actions, demand letter, defacing of the Nativity scene and wording of the banner was mere coincidence. Therefore, this group and their local members need to be called to task for perpetuating a hate speech crime.

    The FFRF lists itself as a non-profit, educational organization, however, it does not provide them carte blanch ability to assault, incite, intimidate, harass or annoy others for their beliefs systems. It has been publicly posted what at least one citizen would deem acceptable (At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There is only our natural world.); anything not withstanding in my book would be justification for my representative on the county commission to reject the FFRF request until they comply so not to condone this hate speech. Likewise, I would expect local law enforcement to arrest on site those actively planning to engage in any type of hate speech crime on Saturday or on December 20.

    The Supreme Court did rule that religious adornments are not unconstitutional if they not the sole focus of the display on public property. So with the addition of other decorations (carolers, reindeer, and snowmen) and inclusion of any one from other religions that wanted to participate, the Constitutional principals have been upheld. Our forefathers held many different beliefs, many of which were excluded from the Constitution and Bill of Rights including the wording of separation of church and state. Thus, the alternative was for them to write books, which does not give their beliefs any more validity once rejected by the Constitutional Convention. I believe the Supreme Court has seen the errors of their ways of legislating from the bench. Their intentions of protecting the general public from religious zealots had merit, but I don’t believe their intention was to wipe all religion out of the public domain in favor of exclusivity for atheists to create a Godless or spiritless society based on more recent decisions.

    In the mean time, stop cow towing to these people and take a peaceful stand for what you believe in. Spread the Joy!

  3. Bill Dugan said on 12-12-2011

    Christians please give this video a try and post your thoughts.

  4. vicki taylor said on 11-12-2011

    I found a phone number for this freedom against religion. It said if everyone would call and let them know we are not taking down our Nativity scene. I called today and left a message on their answering machine. I said I am a Henderson County resident and that I would like to wish them a Merry Christmas and also that God would bless them. Lets flood their phone lines with this message. The number is 608 256 8900

  5. Todd Weaver said on 11-12-2011

    Raise your hands – CHRISTmas day is Dec 25 this year. Nobody is forced to celebrate!!! However, for ANYONE wishing to stand up for their NON-Christian Values – you’re welcome to NOT Participate! (Raise your hand!) – While the rest of this Christian Nation shuts down to celebrate the birth of our Lord, you are welcome to work. If you don’t mind ALSO – repay any past Christmas Holidays or for that matter repay anything good that has ever came from a Christian taking a stand for truth. Even NON-Christians can live in a safer world because a Christian took a stand. 
    (Put your HANDS DOWN now)

    • Jared said on 11-12-2011

      Todd, that was an abyssmally stupid comment. We all participate in Christmas because it is a Holiday and some can see it as not connected to the fistional birth of some son of a fictional sky being that you cannot prove exist beyond a book of myths that was cobbled together from many doubtful text and cherry picked for content. Christmas was started by the Roman Catholic church on December 25th because they wanted to adopt an ancient Pagan date so that they could recruit more devotees. If you would read actual history you would find out so many wonderful things about mankind that we accomplished WITHOUT the intervention of a Deity invented 2000 years ago out of whole cloth. A chritsian has NEVER dont anything for me by standing for truth, but yes they have insulted and harmed many by their ignorance and intolerance. So tell me how non christians can feel safer because a christian took a stand. And it is YOUR perceived truth, not the truth for all the other 6 BILLION people on this planet. Go read a book my friend. Better yet, go to this website and spend a day reading:

    • Anita Bourbon said on 11-12-2011

      I have never received anything good from a christian taking a stand or telling the truth. Matter of fact, most christians I know lie. A lot. All the time. Are hypocrites. I have never received anything good on behalf of christians.

    • Sherry Neill Kent said on 11-12-2011

      Jared must have been extremely disappointed at some point in his life by someone claiming to be a Christian to be full of such anger that he would refer to another human being as untruthful, harmful, ignorant, stupid, and intolerant simply because they have chosen to believe in God and his Son. Only a little over 2.5% of the population have no religious belief system – or are considered atheists with 12.7% of the population “non-religious!” 33% of the population are Christian. That leaves roughly over half the world’s population a member of some religious order, be it Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, etc. Now, since the popluation of the world is roughly 6.98 billion, it is doubtful that Jared’s figure of 6 billion not believing in a deity is accurate! I may have my calculations incorrect, but I did teach math for many years and have actually researched the numbers. I have a book suggestion, too – The Bible. It is so widelly read that its sales cannot be calculated for any best seller’s list.

      • Bill Dugan said on 12-12-2011

        I’d say with confidence that most atheists have read much of the bible. I can’t speak for Jared though. There’s nothing compelling to be found within the bible. It’s a compilation of many plagiarisms of older mythological tales in my opinion.

        • Sherry said on 12-12-2011

          Well, Mr. Dugan, if I am wrong in my belief, then when I die nothing will happen. If you are wrong…!

      • Jared said on 12-12-2011

        I have read the bible, and No no one did anything to me to make me angry. On the contrary I am not angry at all, just enlightened. I never said 6 billion people do not believe, i do hink most himans are of some belief systems or other. Most christians are not aware of what the bible really says, they cherry pick the contents to make themselves feel more secure. Thanks for the video Bill, very interesting!

    • Bill Dugan said on 12-12-2011

      Todd, how has the Christian religion made this a safer world? Remember the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries when Christians were at war with Muslims and burning “heretics” at the stake? You kool-aid drinkers have a short term memory.

      • Todd Weaver said on 12-12-2011

        Thanks Bill, perhaps you’d rather live in SAFETY with Muslims under Islamic rule?? I prefer to live with the Christian Nation of USA
        (where you Bill are free to disagree)
        (where you Bill can still practice your sorcery)
        SAUDI ARABIA EXECUTES WOMAN CONVICTED OF SORCERY (5hrs ago today – I don;t make this stuff up)
        (Safer today is not 11th, 12th, 13th century – today Christian nation of USA is safer than most other countries)

        I happen to like Kool-Aid!
        Tell me this – What would an atheist nation look like? I guess it would be full of love, forgiveness, goodness, and mercy because of the model that they follow? Surely people wouldn’t be doing whatever they want to would they? Everybody sinning, killing, cursing, no rules, a place where everything is allowed? I guess you think that everything would be automatically good?
        Bill, Don’t worry, I’m not trying to convert you and you’re not worth arguing with. You have a belief system that works for you and I’m glad for that. Just tell me that you’d stand up for truth – no matter what – and give me reasons to trust you if we are ever fighting in a fox-hole and I’m good!

        • Sherry said on 12-12-2011

          Amen – Todd!

        • Bill Dugan said on 12-12-2011

          Todd, I’m going to respond to each of your points and the questions you’ve asked:

          1. Would I rather live in a muslim society? No. The Q’uran is as dangerous a book as the Old Testament. The difference is that the followers of Islam are more fundamentalist than modern Christians. Christians simply cannot get away with stoning to death a family member who’s gone to worship another God (Deuteronomy 13:6). You can thank secularism for this. Why would you suggest that I’d rather live under Islam? I reject any belief system based on incredible claims (i.e. Islam, Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Alchemy, Greek Mythology, Shamanism, etc.)

          2. What would an Atheist nation look like? The question makes no sense. A nation where the majority is anti-theism? Sounds like a nation full of rational individuals who believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Would there be negative side effect to a nation being too rational? I don’t think that a nation that, as a majority, does not fear an invisible man in the sky will fall in to moral decay. Additionally, you speculate that this “Atheist nation” would be full of “sinning, killing, cursing…”, as if our Christian majority nation is free of these things? Where’s the Christian utopia you think you live in?

          3. “Just tell me that you’d stand up for truth.” This is an ironic request from someone who has a skewed idea of what truth is.

          • Jared said on 12-12-2011

            Good comment Bill as usual, you say it with clarity and good english. Todd, you really should bring along your dictionary when you get behind a keyboard. You do not make christians look very intelligent. Bill I too would love a rational nation. SOMEDAY!

        • Sherry said on 12-12-2011

          Have no idea what glaring erros in spelling or syntax to which Mr.. Jared refers, Todd.. Howver, he may want to proofread his prior posts.

  6. Jared said on 09-12-2011

    What difference does it make what the sign says if they want to post a message of holiday hopes? You cannot tell them that they cannot say there is no gods or angels or devils. You are once again being the same old Henderson County of old. There are LOTS of reasons why you should not be proud of the corrupt leaders of Henderson County. That county has a TERRIBLE reputation for corruption. The pagans and Egyptians celebrated Dec. 22.23.and 24th as the days leading to the rebirth of the year on December 25th. Henderson County is on the wrong side of this argument in so many ways. The Toxic preachers from the county need to stay out of a constitutional fight.

    • Ms. Cox said on 10-12-2011

      @Jared “You cannot tell them that they cannot say there is no gods or angels or devils.”

      The Constitutional freedom to free speech has a very important caveat, you cannot use language to incite, which is exactly what FFRF did in the state of Washington. Once they set the precedence, they must live by it and have curtailed their own freedom of expression. It is the same thing as someone yelling fire in a crowded theater, when then is no fire and people get hurt or killed in the stampede to get out of the building.

      • Jared said on 10-12-2011

        Wait, you are saying that saying there are no gods will incite you to riot or harm? Why you are a simple person aren’t you? That caveat does not apply to this and I am perfectly aware of the yelling fire in a crowded theater aanology. Just because the thought that there is no life but this one strikes such fear in you does not mean it can be reasonably expected to in others. Others can accept simple disagreement with you. Saying there are no gods is simply disagreeing with you, it is not saying the theater is on fire.

        • Ms. Cox said on 11-12-2011

          @Jared You obviously have not read about the trouble the
          FFRF has caused in other cities. I was stating fact, not debating my believe system. Yes, this caveat does apply, because FFRF is attempting to impose themselves into this celebration. They are free to have their own separate celebration, just like the KKK was allowed to have their own radio station. Others do not have to tolerate the FFRF hate speech.

  7. Ms. Cox said on 09-12-2011

    Will some one kindly remove the card board side posted on the light pole at the corner of the square by a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The sign is attached to TXU property and there is a sign ordinance in Athens, which needs commissioners’ approval prior to being hung.

  8. Todd Weaver said on 09-12-2011

    How can you not be proud of our leadership in Henderson County? Standing for truth shows unwavering character and quality of our faith. I’m actually very proud of our fellow residents of atheist, pagans, wiccans, and other non-believers for bringing together a revival of the Christian spirit so that we are reminded not to take lightly the FREEDOMS that we have to worship.

    It has brought Christians out of the shadows to take a stand all over this great nation and it has shown our nations leaders who the residents of Henderson County are and what we are willing to stand for. It’s NOT ABOUT NATIVITY – it’s about TRUTH. Christians will reunite in truth, in light, and love and will regain strength because of this. God works in mysterious ways. :) -> Everyone be kind, and through love remember to say; Thank You! – to a non-believer. They are watching us lead.

  9. Ms. Cox said on 09-12-2011

    Dear Ms Schmitt,

    In consideration of your request to hang a banner in the square that states, “At this season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

    The Winter Solstice, which runs from December 22, 2011 at 5:30 a.m. until December 23, 2011 at 5:30 a.m., has to do with the North Pole tilting away from the sun by 23.5 degrees. This day has may documented celebrations by many people. However, none of the research supports your definition for this day’s celebration or the words accompanying your request.

    While the wording “At this season of the Winter Solstice, Let Reason Prevail. There is only our natural world.” is totally acceptable. The remainder of the text appears to want to incite, harm and assault other religious and belief systems. Since Athens want to respect all religions and belief system, please edit your message and kindly resubmit.

    Thank you.

  10. Story about pastors’ meeting said on 09-12-2011

    […] Here is the story I wrote for The Malakoff News about the pastors’ meeting regarding next week’s rally. TweetFacebookLinkedInTumblrStumbleDiggDelicious Category: Uncategorized December 9th, 2011 No comments yet admin Leave a Comment or Cancel reply […]