Editor’s Note: On June 8, people in more than 160 cities held rallies for religious freedom, to protest the Obama administration’s new healthcare regulations forcing religious groups and employers to pay for birth control and abortion. Ted Baehr spoke before a crowd of about 300 people. This is a slightly abridged version of his speech:
This is a talk about helping you. It’s about helping you to be equipped to take every thought captive so you can stand up for religious freedom.
Religious freedom is the very cornerstone of all of our other freedoms. James Madison defined religion as “the duty we owe to our Creator,” which is, of course, to know God and to make Him known.
Recently, I spoke at the Russian University of TV, the University of Film, and the House of Journalism.
Lenin felt if he could control the mass media, he could control the world. Under the guidance of Lenin and the total control of the Communist revolution of 1917, two-thirds of all churches in Russia were torn down, and 60 to 120 million people were killed.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that the atheist communists succeeded in Russia because the people have forgotten God. Of course, Karl Marx taught that communism was the ultimate humanism.
At the House of Journalism where I spoke, however, the journalists said they wanted to support faith and freedom in Russia. In fact, 82 percent of Russians now say they are Christian. Today, there are more Marxists in the United States than there are in Russia.
Stalin said he wanted to undermine America’s morality, patriotism, and spiritual life. And, that’s what’s happening today in the United States.
Why is this happening? Because people have forgotten God!
Why do the bigots in America want the Bible out of schools? Because it’s a powerful tool. Wycliffe Bible Translators says 63 percent of the people who come to Christ do so out of reading the Bible.
Growing up in the pagan home of my wonderful parents and Hollywood and Broadway stars, Robert “Bob Tex” Allen (Ted Baehr) and Evelyn Peirce, I was very anti-Christian and pro-Paganism. After being challenged to read the Bible to tell a friend what I disliked about it, God took me from paganism to patriotism.
We need to rebuild our patriotism, our morality, our spiritual life--the very things that Stalin wanted to tear down. We’re going to have to do that by rebuilding our]foundation on God.
What is the foundation of the U.S. Constitution? The Declaration of Independence. What is the foundation of the Declaration of Independence? It’s mentioned at the very beginning of the document:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness--that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
What is the key phrase in that passage? “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”
Jesus loves us. He paid the ultimate price to rescue us from evil. No king, or president, can take that away from us. Our rights don’t come from King George or King Obama. They don’t come from the state or the will of the elite in the media. They come from God, and if we forget God, then the people in power are going to be corrupted by their power like Lenin was, like Stalin was. Power knows no limits. For example, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in the Hebrew Scriptures felt they could simply steal Nabob’s land and kill him, but they suffered the ultimate judgment for their egotism.
The good news about the United States is that the Constitution protects us. Thou shalt not steal protects the little guy from being imposed upon by the government. And the ultimate protection is from the very first Bill of Rights saying, Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, whether Marxism or humanism, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. No law sets up a humanist religion, or prohibits us from worshipping the way we want.
The HHS federal mandate [forcing religious groups to pay for birth control and abortion] violates God’s Law.
The church started on the road to serfdom in 1837 when we let the state take over marriage. Since that time, we have let the state take over things that only belong to church polity and theology. We have ceded tremendous territory against what it says in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We’ve got to stop ceding that territory.
I just returned from Spain and Russia. Overseas, country after country has fallen to dictatorship and socialism, and all of the humanists taking people away from God.
Did you see the new movie For Greater Glory? In Mexico in the 1920s, the priests, the ministers, the Christians stood up. They stood up because the priests were being killed. They stood up because the churches were being defamed. And, they stood up against the forces of darkness and they stopped the humanist dictator from doing the dirty deed of killing religion in Mexico. And, at the end of it they cried, “Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!”
When I saw For Greater Glory, I asked myself why didn’t Argentina stand up against Peron? Why didn’t Spain stand up against today’s socialist politicians? Why didn’t Russia stand up? Why didn’t Germany stand up? Why didn’t Poland stand up? Why don’t we stand up?
If we stand up, filled with His spirit, the Gates of Hell will not prevail. God will empower us as we stand up. We will have the power to take every thought captive for Jesus.
When we started in Hollywood in 1985, there were less than five movies with Christian content. Now, there is about 57 percent. Which would we prefer? If we can do that, we can change the world! It’s not up to me; it’s up to God working through you when you take a stand.
Remember Saint Telemachus. Telemachus, at the heart of the gladiatorial games in Ancient Rome, when they were killing Christians in vile horrible ways, was a priest in the outlands. He came to Rome. He came to the games. He was shocked at the maimings, the killings and the murders. This little old frail priest jumped into the arena in the coliseum and said, “Stop, in the name of Jesus Christ!” And a gladiator killed him, his frail body fell, and his blood was poured out in the Coliseum. Then, Caesar got up and left, and everyone left. And, there never was another gladiatorial game in the Coliseum.
Think about it. One man against the whole Roman Empire. When Pontius Pilate came to Israel, he killed 60,000 people in the first week. One man against the whole Roman Empire.
You, and every person of faith, can be Telemachus. Every person here can walk out in the victory of Viva Cristo Rey. Every person here can stand up against the encroachment of our rights. I’m asking you today, not to just go back to your homes and your jobs. I’m asking you to not just stand up for religious freedom. I’m asking you to jump into the center of the arena and say, “Stop, in the name of Christ!”
Ted Baehr is publisher of Movieguide and The Culture Watch and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission.