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Festive Ten Commandments rally attracts thousands in Kentucky

CORBIN, Ky. (BP)–Part worship service and part pep rally, a Ten Commandments Rally held Nov. 7 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky., attracted an overflow crowd. More than 3,000 people attended the Sunday afternoon event, with some observers estimating the crowd at twice that size.
The three-hour rally featured messages by Alabama county circuit Judge Roy Moore and Littleton, Colo., pastor Billy Epperhart as well as an offering for a “Ten Commandments Advancement Fund.” It concluded with a parade of youngsters carrying posters listing each of the Ten Commandments.
“Praise God. God bless America,” declared rally coordinator Herschel Walker, pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Corbin. “It’s time for all of us to get behind the effort to get God back in our hearts and back in our homes and back in our schools and back in other public places.
“We’ve been on defense long enough,” Walker insisted. “It’s time we get on offense. … God has started something historical in Kentucky and we’re going to go forward with it.”
The rally comes at a time when legislation allowing the Ten Commandments to be posted in public schools is being considered on both the state and national levels.
In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Kentucky law that required schools to post the Ten Commandments. In recent months, several school districts across the state have voted to allow the religious document to be displayed, claiming the postings are constitutional if the plaques are purchased with private funds. The American Civil Liberties Union has responded by threatening lawsuits against school districts that refuse to remove copies of the Ten Commandments.
Judge Moore, whose posting of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom sparked a series of lawsuits, described separation of church and state as “a metaphor based on bad history.”
Quoting George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers, Moore said, “Our forefathers had no intention of being neutral to God. … We don’t have liberty to be outside of God’s bonds.”
Moore cited school shootings, abortion, sodomy and teaching evolution as symptoms of a nation that is “succumbing to man’s sovereignty.”
“We pay our tax money to teach our kids there is no God,” he lamented. “We’ve given up on righteousness for a life of indulgence. Evil is now called good and darkness is now called light.”
Noting Americans’ historic commitment to “the pursuit of happiness,” Moore said, “You can’t be happy unless you follow God’s law, and when you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy.”
Colorado pastor Epperhart conducted funeral services for four of the shooting victims following the April massacre at Columbine High School.
Calling Columbine murder victims Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall “true martyrs who died for their faith,” Epperhart said, “The blood of martyrs is calling out from the ground today. … Who will stand for what is right in this nation?”
Repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations, Epperhart said questions from Columbine that deserve answers include: What are we afraid of? Why did the Columbine shootings happen? Where do we go from here?
Although “we have taken God out of the public schools and we’ve taken prayer out of the public schools,” he added, “On April 20, 1999, prayer came back into Columbine High School. When that tragedy hit, students all over that school were on their knees and praying.”
Epperhart said reasons for the Columbine tragedy include “an epidemic of no positive adult influence” as well as “no respect for others.”
“When we took the Ten Commandments out of the classroom and out of our hearts, we took respect out of our nation,” he said. “Violence is here because godlessness is here.
“The answer is putting God back in the hearts of men and women and in the hearts of young people,” he added. “Where do we go from here? We as Christians must take a stand. I’m standing and I believe Christians all across this country are ready to stand.”
Despite the enthusiastic response of thousands of rally participants, the event also had its detractors.
Bob Lockhart, a retired Baptist pastor, has served 20 years as a member of the Knox County School Board. Noting that he is disturbed by efforts to place the Ten Commandments in public schools, he said, “These people cannot differentiate between public and parochial schools and are trying to turn our public schools into parochial ones, which is a violation of our Constitution.
“You’ve got this mystical idea you can hang the Commandments on the wall and people will start behaving,” he said. “That’s ridiculous. If that worked so good, why don’t they hang them in their churches and quit fighting?
“We’re not trying to be anti-religious,” Lockhart said of school board members who oppose posting the document. “We’re just trying to be a public school.”
Walker, who is accustomed to hearing such responses, said he remains committed to “taking back our Christian liberties we have lost.”
“If we don’t put God’s orderly laws back into our hearts and back into our homes and teach them to our children, we are doomed,” he said. “As God’s people, we’ve been silent too long. The sleeping giant must wake up.”
Walker announced that future rallies are planned for Nov. 16 in Frankfort, Dec. 5 in Henderson and Dec. 12 in Bowling Green. “If we can get the support of the grassroots people,” he said, “we’ll take our state back and by the help of God we’ll take our nation back.”

    About the Author

  • Trennis Henderson
    Trennis Henderson is the national correspondent for WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union). A Baptist journalist for more than 35 years, Henderson is a former editor of the Western Recorder of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Arkansas Baptist News state convention newsjournal.Read All by Trennis Henderson ›