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Baptist pastor addresses Clinton on Colo. tragedy in D.C.’s Post


WASHINGTON (BP)–In a full-page of The Washington Post, a Baptist pastor told President Clinton that murder is the common thread in the school shootings in Littleton, Colo., ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and abortion in America.
The two teens who gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher in Colorado “apparently thought it okay to do so” before taking their own lives, said James E. “Jim” Gibson II, interim pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., in The Washington Post May 10.
“Mr. [Slobodan] Milosevic [of Yugoslavia] thinks it is okay to commit ethnic cleansing in Kosovo,” Gibson continued in his open letter to Clinton. “You think it is okay to murder thousands of innocent babies who are in the safety of their mother’s womb. Mr. President, I submit to you there is no difference! They are all the same. One is murder in Colorado, one is murder in Kosovo, one is murder in the clinics, and we must see that changes are made.”
Gibson first voiced his letter to Clinton in a sermon the Sunday after the Littleton school shootings April 20. On April 29, Gibson’s sermon appeared in the Chattanooga Times/Chattanooga Free Press in a two-page ad purchased by a member of the congregation.
The full-page ad in The Washington Post then was purchased by another church member.
Gibson has been the Chattanooga church’s interim pastor eight months. He joined the church staff three years ago as associate pastor and minister of education, after 20 years in youth ministry in various churches.
Gibson lamented to Clinton, “…through abortion and the teaching of evolution, [Americans] have come to see that the value of human life is nothing. The value of human life at conception is nothing, at two and three years old it is nothing, at sixteen and seventeen years old it is nothing, and at seventy years of age it is nothing.”
Concerning Clinton’s various comments about America now being a “pluralistic” nation, Gibson noted, “But Mr. President, we cannot ignore the fact that moral absolutes still exist. Absolute truth is still in place. … If we remove the Bible from any place then eventually that place becomes at best amoral and at worst totally immoral.”
Americans “have allowed secular humanism to become the religion of today and it is in direct opposition to God,” Gibson said. “We have boasted about separation of church and state and yet we must realize that secular humanism is just as much a religion as any other faith that is in our country today.”
The first chapter of Romans in the New Testament describes “God giving up people to depraved or reprobate minds,” Gibson recounted. “And that is talking about people who do not honor God, who do not honor His Word, and who choose to live making their own choices based upon the brilliance of the smartest people that have ever lived or who are living today.” But, Gibson said, “I am wondering if God has given our country up to a reprobate and depraved mind.”
The Judeo-Christian ethic, Gibson said, “is what made our country great in the beginning and it is the only ethic that has any possibility of making our country great again because that Judeo-Christian ethic is based upon the Bible, God’s holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word.”
Gibson noted “prayer was mandated out of our schools” 40 years ago, and it is “unbelievable what has happened” in the generation since.
Teen pregnancy, for example, became an “unbelievably terrible” problem, Gibson said. In recent years, students who have made a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage through the True Love Waits campaign, “which relates to an absolute truth,” have helped spur “a turnaround in teen promiscuity, but no thanks to the government,” Gibson said.
“I know that [the school prayer ban] was not your decision, but I also know that you have done very little to change that,” Gibson told Clinton. “Oh yes, students can pray on their own. They can organize prayer groups around the flagpole and they have done that wonderfully well. But the leaders of their school, those who are Christians, that are principals, and teachers, and administrators, are finding that the law is coming down upon them if they are the ones who initiate these prayers.”
Gibson commended Clinton “for calling on all of us to pray” after the Littleton tragedy. “But I think it is ironic that we are challenged rightly to pray after an event and yet, have no avenue to pray prior to the event.” Because “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Gibson said, “I believe there are things that could have been happening that might have prevented this incredible tragedy. …
“Mr. President, our country is in the pigpen, and I would ask that you and the governmental leadership of this country come to your senses, that we return back to that ethic that made this country great,” Gibson appealed to Clinton.
“But if you choose to continue, Mr. President, in the path that you appear to be guiding us, we must stand up in incredible opposition to that path,” Gibson said. “We must continue to call upon prayer to come back to the schools and the Bible to be welcome in our government from the schools all the way up to the Congress. Mr. President, we are appealing to you, as the leader to take the steps that I am confident will not be politically correct, but will be morally right.”
Gibson’s letter to Clinton is posted on the Internet at www.freerepublic.com/forum/a37357467699f.htm.
In a message to the Chattanooga congregation the Wednesday after voicing his open letter to Clinton, Gibson discussed the question, “OK, Jim, what do we do? Where do we go?”
Gibson voiced 12 recommendations:
1) “Secure a copy of the Ten Commandments and place them in a visible location in your home, in your offices, and in your places of business. And students, place them in your lockers at school and on your book covers and any place else that you can. … We must keep God’s Word ever before us.”
2) Write to your congressmen “requesting a constitutional amendment in relation to prayer in the schools and all government entities.”
3) “… determine one day per week that you will fast and pray between now and July 4, the day that we celebrate the independence of this great nation, and that you would fast and pray for righteousness to return to our country.”
4) “… pray daily for our president, that God would turn the president’s heart toward God.”
5) “Commit to speak out loudly and strongly as individuals and as a church when we are made aware of the need to do so in regard to any kind of moral dilemma that we are facing in our community, our state, or our nation.” In Tennessee, for example, the issue of a state lottery is on the horizon, he said, “and we must speak strongly against it.”
6) Establish a church committee to keep church members aware “of the developments of issues and how various elected officials in our areas vote on moral issues.”
7) “…commit to and request properly to begin Bible studies in your workplace and school, and suffer if necessary, for doing good. For Matthew 5 says, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’”
8) “Determine that you will not allow anything to come into your home by television, radio or any other electronic means that you would not invite into your home as a guest.”
9) “Make sure you know what your children are being exposed to in their schoolrooms, particularly in the elementary grades and demand that it be consistent with your biblical moral standards.”
10) “Evangelize the lost. For there is no way that we can expect lost pagan people to uphold the standard of God’s Word.”
11) “We must fight the evolution and abortion battle forever. We cannot let up. We must never give up and we must fight that to the finish.”
12) “Confess to the Lord and your family past failures in any of the above areas and seek forgiveness from him and your family.”
Gibson said he has “no doubt whatsoever” that God is still in control of world affairs.
“But I also know that the Bible teaches that God has a limit. And there will be a time — I hope and pray that time has not come — that we who are supposed to be the godly people have backed off for so long that God says, ‘It’s over for this nation.’ I don’t want to believe that is the case.
“But let me share with you something I heard at a seminar a few weeks ago,” Gibson continued. “Numbers are very significant in the Bible. The number seventy is often used as a number of judgment. … [W]hat happened in our country some 70 years ago? The Great Depression. … [W]hat happened in our country some 70 years before that? The Civil War. It has been some seventy years since God has placed a judgment directly upon this country. Am I predicting he is going to do that? I would not be so foolish as to do that, but I would say to you that had better cause us to think, to evaluate, to pray, to humble ourselves, to seek God’s face and to turn from our wicked ways. Then by the grace of God, he will hear from heaven and heal our land.”