Defenders of the Faith
The other day, Freemason Information had a post about the York Rite degrees. As some of you know, the York Rite has a reputation for being a “Christianized” appendant order; this is because of the interpretation that some people have of the Knights Templar Commandery, which, upon initiation, ask a candidate “If called to fight in a religious cause, will you give preference to the Christian religion?”
To this, I jokingly asked “What happens if the war is the Baptists against the Catholics?” Yes, I was being facetious, but also, as it turns out, perhaps a bit prescient.
Look what turned up in my news reader today from The Raw Story:
By Kathleen Miller
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 — 11:50 am
A Baptist Church near Asheville, N.C., is hosting a “Halloween book burning” to purge the area of “Satan’s” works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music.
The website for the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., says there are “scriptural bases” for the book burning. The site quotes Acts 19:18-20: “And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
Church leaders deem Good News for Modern Man, the Evidence Bible, the New International Version Bible, the Green Bible and the Message Bible, as well as at least seven other versions of the Bible as “Satan’s Bibles,” according to the website. Attendees will also set fire to “Satan’s popular books” such as the work of “heretics” including the Pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and Rick Warren.
“I believe the King James version is God’s preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God,” Pastor Marc Grizzard told a local news station of his 14-member parish.
Grizzard’s parish website explains that the Bible is the “final authority concerning all matters of faith and practice,” for Amazing Grace Baptist Church. In the Parish doctrinal statement, Grizzard expounds that “the Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the preacher.”
The event also seeks to destroy “Satan’s music” which includes every genre from country,rap and rock to “soft and easy” and “Southern Gospel” and” contemporary Christian.”
David Lynch, a resident of nearby Asheville, N.C., told Raw Story “it’s a little disconcerting how close this is to my home.”
“They are burning so much stuff I’ve dubbed them the hypocritical Christian Taliban,” Lynch said in a phone interview with Raw Story. “Just the scope of all the information they want to destroy is pretty disturbing.”
Church leaders did not respond to Raw Story’s requests for comment, but the website notes they will be providing “bar-b-que chicken, fried chicken and all the sides” at the book burning.
No word on if they are also burning The Lost Symbol, The DaVinci Code, and other Dan Brown books. Also no word on if they are burning, say, Freemasons for Dummies.
Just as disturbing is the idea that they are going to burn all genres of music, including “Southern Gospel” and contemporary Christian music. Good thing I’ve already got my Jars of Clay albums on MP3.
While it’s easy for me to joke about this, the point is that this is the kind of mentality that we, as Masons, face when we’re up against the typical religious anti-Mason. The church leaders in this story have no conception of the irony that they portray. Such thinking is almost immune to reasoning; in a similar fashion, we still see some of the same deficiencies in thinking when meet those who would claim that since we, as a fraternity, make an effort to be inclusive and tolerant of all religions, that we, ourselves, are heretical — that is, when we’re not downright Satanic.
I really don’t know what to make of this. Yes, certainly the Amazing Grace Baptist Church is entitled to their opinions. However, I think it’s sad that this kind of intolerance still happens here in the US. On the other hand, I’m glad that such pockets of inanity are regularly exposed via the internet news services, instead of festering in isolated communities.