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Journal & Guide:
EDITION IN DEFENSE OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
April 27, 1984
Special... Special. . . Special. ..
bylaws developed and adopted by the church. The bylaws and constitution were read before the congregation each Sunday for a month. Members were given copies to read for themselves. Only two members out of 308 disapproved the constitution and bylaws. No member was prohibited from voting.
One of the most important cases in the defense of Religious Liberty will be heard in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Main Street l'ost Office Building. Richmond, Va., on Tuesday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. The hearing will be for one hour only before a three-judge panel. There will be no witnesses, and no one will take the stand. The altorneys will argue the case based upon briefs filed and answers already in the hands of the court. You are invited to altend this hearing and to encourage as many ministers and lay persons from your congregation as possible to attend.
Hard To Believe
What Is At Stake
The issue is whether the Commonwealth of Virginia has the constitutional or the judicial authority to interlere in the ecclesiastical aflairs of a church. The Honorable Alfred W. Whitehurst, judge of the Circuit Court in Norfolk:
• Nullified duly-called church meetings at New Calvary Baptist Church.
• Ordered the church not to install duly-elected officers or ordain deacons elected by the congregation.
Ordered the church to maintain the status quo. • Determined who could vote in the congregation and who could not. • Invalidated the right hand of fellowship.
Ordered a white man of the Jewish faith to conduct and oversee the annual meeting of New Calvary Baptist Church.
Ordered the Pastor and four deacons to turn over the membership list of the church to Mr. Mazelle, the Jewish overneer and representative of the court, even at the objection of the church which voled overwhelmingly in two meetings that its membership list should not be turned over to a secular authority.
• Levied a fine of $1000 a day against the pastor and $25 a day against the deacons for not complying with his order and held the pastor and deacons in contempt of court.
• Nullified church disciplinary actions against dissident members who have filed suit alter suit against the pastor and officers of the church. The church first "silenced" 18 members. The church since lon April 8 during the annual meeting) has dismissed 31 dissident members from the church. The Honorable Judge Whitehurst has ruled the church out of order on all of its activities,
• Ordered the church to meet and set up the agenda for the meeting. Determined how long members could speak and who could speak, in complete disregard for church policy and practice.
Ruled invalid and out of order constitution and
I know you find this hard to believe. This is the kind of religious oppression that went on in the Soviet Union during the reign of Khruschev. We would expect it there, but not here in America where we have the Bible as our authority of faith and practice and love, protection of the lat Amendment, the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
It is important that a significant number of clergy and members of the black church in Virginia altend this sension of the Court on Tuesday, May 8. This court, 4th Circuit, has already ruled in other cases that the Constitution prohibits the state from interfering in the ecclesiastical affairs of the Church. Will the court uphold its own ruling or will the court reverne itself? Your presence will be of significance in the court's decision.
You know that the Black Church is the last of the institutions completely owned and controlled by black people. If we lone our basic rights because of the paternalistic and racist desicions of a modern day Pilate, the black church will suffer greatly. Please do you very best to join with me and members of the New Calvary Baptist Church on May 8 in Richmond.
The Center for Constitutional Rights of New York has the case in charge under Attorneys William Kunstler and Betty Bailey of New York, and Attorney James Gay of Norfolk. Although the Center makes no charges for its services, the Church has spent over $10,000 in this twoyear-old battle with approximately $6000 in local attorney lees now due. Il you cannot attend this Court bearing, the officers and members of the New Calvary Baptist Church would appreciate any contribution that you could make by May 8. You may mail your contributions to Deacon Dennis Perry, Treasurer, New Calvary Baptist Church, 800 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23504. As much as we need your financial support, your presence would mean much more. If you would allend with a check we would consider that a double blessing.
For All Of Us
This case, the first of its kind in the history of the world, in not just for New Calvary, it is for every church in American in delense of Religious Liberty.
JUANITA L. CLAY, Ph.D.
July 22, 1984
Honorable Orrin Hatch, Chairman
Dear Senator Hatch:
Again I commend you for the excellent manner with which you conducted the subcommittee hearing on June 26th, regarding issues in Religious Liberty.
Prior to adjourning the hearing, you indicated that we had thirty (30) days in which to submit additional testimony for consideration by the subcommittee. Therefore, I am forwarding the attached testimony of Col. Robert L. Grete, director of the ROCKY BAYOU CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, in Niceville, Florida. This is only one of several situations I am concerned about, several of which I have forwarded to you already. However, I asked Col Grete to allow me to submit his testimony because it points up the problem of an althernative school, performing an excellent educational function, but subjected to repressive legislation and beaureaucratic interference, without the benefit of any denominational sponsorship.
As an informed lay person, not representing any of the constituent groups identified at the hearing, I am nevertheless concerned about the extent to which congressional legislation is not aimed at precluding government animosity toward religious organizations or institutions. Neither the Supreme Court mor the Internal Revenue Service should be allowed the authority to foreclose the rights of individuals or instutions they were designed to protect. Nor should civil authority seek simultaneously to weild supreme authority to tailor religious destiny, whether the destiny of a church, or a religious organization, or a Christian school.
Please continue your efforts to pursue full knowledge in this issue, and to guide the legislative process preserving the structure of government that makes the very idea of religious freedom and rights meaningful.
I am Robert L. Grete, Director of the Rocky Bayou Christian School (RBCS) in Niceville, Florida. RBCS, a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS) is an independent rather than a parochial (organized as part of a local church or denomination) Christian school.
The purpose of my testimony is to provide a small independent Christian school's perspective on the erosion of religious liberty in America.
Since the founding of Rocky Bayou Christian School in 1973, each year an increasing amount of my time involves the defense of religious liberty. We constantly receive appeals from our Christian school associations for aid in alerting our representatives to threats to our freedom. Each year it seems more bills are introduced into the state and federal legislatures that threaten religious liberty. Decisions by the courts have had the same effect.
I believe that the threat to religious liberty arises from the efforts of antitheistic/humanistic leaders trying to establish a set of religious presuppositions that are antithetical to the traditional Judeo-Christian or biblical religious presuppositions upon which America was founded. Using secular education and the influence of the media (Hollywood films, television, the broadcast industry and the music industry), secularl and humanistic leaders have worked toward a goal stated in the Humanist Manifesto II as
1. Secular means "apart from the supernatural" or worldly. Secularism is a
faith that leaves out the Creator of the universe. 2. Humanism is a faith that defies man. Rather than submitting to the
Creator, man is made the measure of all things, the provider, and the
determiner of right and wrong. 3. See Humanist Manifestos I & II (NY: Prometheus Books, 1973).
Testimony of Robert L. Grete
"a secular society on a planetary scale." John Dewey, the father of American
progressive education was a powerful subscriber to Humanist Manifesto I. The
increasing success of such leaders is due in part to the inactivity of those who
hold to the Judeo-Christian values. Such pietism in the Bible-believing
community has surrendered much of the control of the centers of influence in
American society to antibiblical humanistic leaders.
The education of children plays a vital role in shaping the values of the
leadership of future generations. American education has been increasingly
secularized as governmental authority was extended over it. Systematically, government power has been used to increasingly eliminate biblical values from public schools. Today, the efforts to purge biblically-based religious values from the public schools have been so successful that Congress and the federal courts are involved in such questions as, "Can children pray in the public schools?" and, "Can groups meeting in public facilities discuss theistic topics or is their speech limited to presumed secular subjects: no matter how perverted from a biblical viewpoint?"
Hand in hand with the purging of biblical truths and values from government
operated schools, secular and humanistic leaders (using a number of organizations to include the National Education Association (NEA), local, state
and federal government agencies, and the media have launched a frightening
effort to subject non-government schools to their effective control. The
result, if they are successful, will be as complete an eradication of biblical influence in the education of our nation's children as that accomplished in Germany by Hitler's Third Reich or by the Soviet Union today.
As the administrator of a Christian school, the defense against this effort requires daily energy. I am sure this Senate committee will collect
1. To a Biblicist, all subjects are religious since they involve some aspect
of God or His perspective on His creation. Christ is sovereign over every area of a Christian's life.
Testimony of Robert L. Grete
considerable data on a multitude of cases, many of which are a matter of court record. Before going into the specifics of RBCS confrontations, I would like to
mention some of the specific tools now being used by American governmental
agencies to effect religious tyranny over religious educational ministries. The control devices, which have been used historically, include:
1. Licensing. If civil government can license an activity, it exercises
the power to terminate it or require it to conform to regulations as a condition of operation.
2. School Accreditation/Teacher Certification Requirements.
3. Arbitrarily or discriminatory enforced health, welfare, safety, and zoning regulations.
4. Direct regulation of various aspects of the religious ministry (e.g.: personnel - immoral persons such as sodomites cannot be excluded from the faculty; curriculum - texts must be chosen from state approved lists; etc.)
5. Public trust concept. Religious organizations are considered creatures of the state to be operated according to the wishes of government agents rather than ministries under God required to operate according to biblical authority.
6. Biblically based religious faith must be subordinated to contrary public policy. Thus the whims of fallen men subordinate God's absolute standards.
7. Taxation. The power to tax assumes sovereignty or lordship, and is the
power to control and destroy.
8. The tax expenditure concept. This is one of the most perverse concepts being pushed into the public policy arena; tyrants must love it. This radical idea rejects the biblical and constitutional concepts that the fruit of a person's labor belongs under personal stewardship and that the portion of a