Just vote them out

Guest Columnist

After hearing what the six commissioners had to say about their reasons for compromising the cause of Christ by giving absolute authority to a government agency to say yes or no to churches that desire to build, as a Christian, I should be at ease.

Here are the reasons Christians in Shelby County should feel comfortable with their decision:

1) Commissioner Armstrong who assured others and me in our church that he would never do anything to harm the churches said he did it because, &uot;It was the fair thing to do.&uot;

He also assured me personally that this amendment would apply to public schools as well as private schools, Christian schools and churches.

The fact is neither of those facts are true. It does not and legally cannot apply to public schools, and it is only fair to politicians seeking votes

and those who want to define what a church is and control where it builds and what it does in certain areas of Shelby County.

2) Commissioner Dailey has misused a scripture to support his position by quoting, &uot;Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.&uot;

The problem is, that by this vote, they have given unto Caesar the things that are God’s, that being the right to decide what a church is and when and where there is a need for a church facility.

According to the paper, he also made it clear that it is Caesar’s (Shelby County Planning Commission) intent to

make sure the churches’ neighbors are satisfied. In a society that is increasingly hostile to Christianity, we Christians ought to rest easy.

3) Commissioner Allison has reassured us by letting us know that with this amendment, she will now know, &uot;… that in the future everybody will sit down neighbor to neighbor.&uot;

Fact is, we do not want or need the government in our business overseeing the ministry of the church. Separation of church and state the way our forefathers intended it was meant to keep government totally out of the affairs of the church, not keep the church out of the affairs of the state.

The idea that Commissioner Allison and the county commission will now have its eyes on and controlling churches was what took place in the old

Soviet Union and in places like Red China and North Korea today. It has no place in America.

4) Commissioner Acker has given us reason to be at ease by reasurring us that this is not a religious issue; it is a zoning issue. I appreciate the wisdom of Commissioner Acker.

His making me aware of the fact that deciding whether we can build a church to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a religious matter relieves me of any apprehension I may have had.

I am also reassured by his assertion that he &uot;is confident&uot; that the planning commission’s decisions on churches &uot;will not be arbitrary, capricious or subjective.&uot;

These are nothing more than political talk. He has no idea how people will rule now or in the future and has no basis whatsoever to express such confidence.

5) One of the most reassuring comments I read and heard came from Commissioner Jimmy Bice. He assured us that as Christians, the planning commission could be used to benefit us by keeping those

annoying Muslims out of Shelby County.

Frankly, I have never

heard one pastor express an interest or desire to keep any religion out of any area in Shelby County. The only people who seem to have a

problem with churches locating in our county are commissioners like Commissioner Bice and the others who voted for this amendment and people who have a problem with the church being the church it is

today with all the different ministries we are involved in.

6) Commissioner Bearden reassured us by reminding citizens that when they voted zoning, they knew they were giving up certain rights.

However, we do not have to worry, the Shelby County Commission will decide what we need. This is the same commission which refused other options that would have given the people more say and chose an option that gives them and the planning commission total say with no appeal other than to the courts.

The fact is, the commissioners who are Christians, sold out the churches and the cause of Christ in our county.

No matter how they try to say it, cover it up or hide behind the letter of one man, the fact is, they put the building and defining of what a church is into the hands of an unelected, secular government agency.

Any Christian who is comfortable with that has been blinded by politics, or brainwashed by the anti-Christian bias in our country today.

The statements made by these commissioners are arrogant, misleading and foolish statements made to try to justify the unjustifiable. The fact that they hid behind the letter of Bro. Charles Stroud and ignored the many other Christian church members and pastors who recognize the dangers and oppose this dangerous plan is proof they had already made up their minds what they were going to do and were hunting someone or something to justify it. I thank God for Commissioners Dillard, Thompson and Crockett standing up for the churches in Shelby County.

It is one thing to say you are members of churches and support them. To say you support churches and vote for this amendment is what has come to be known as &uot;Clintonese.&uot;

That is saying you are doing one thing while right in front of everyone, you’re doing the opposite. Six of our commissioners speak this new language very well.

As Christians and all who believe in religion without government interference, we need to do what was done in Columbiana and Birmingham, vote out all six who abandoned the churches and compromised the cause of Christ in our county.

Whether they are running for mayor, commissioner, city council or tax assessor, we ought to support only those who stand with the churches.

If we stand together, we can replace every one of them and we should. If we do not stand together, we deserve what we get and only God knows what their next step will be.

Allen T. Dennis is the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Columbiana