David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
December 4, 2007


If you have been a Baptist all—or most—of your life, you automatically think of missions during the Christmas season. This is when many churches take the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or the CBF Global Missions Offering. These offerings supporting global missions always have a larger goal than the home or state mission offerings. We Baptists share a strong commitment to sending missionaries around the world.

I thought about these global mission efforts last week, as I attended the meeting of the Board of The Interfaith Alliance in Washington, D.C. For at least the past 10 years, I have been honored to serve on this important Board, and I immensely enjoy being a part of it. I sit around the boardroom table with a rabbi (my closest friend on the Board); two Sikhs (a very interesting religion); several Unitarians; a Buddhist; several Muslims; and representatives of several other mainline Christian denominations. Our president is my fellow Baptist, Welton Gaddy, former pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth.

At The Interfaith Alliance, our primary focus is protecting religious liberty in America. In America, we do not fight wars over religion, because the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees religious freedom for me and for those of other faiths who sit around that boardroom table with me. In my opinion, religious liberty is the single most important freedom in America. It is what makes America truly America.

Many countries around the world are in an almost constant state of war fought over religious belief. Think about any of those countries, and visualize this: what if that country’s constitution guaranteed true religious freedom for all of its people, along with the separation of church and state? Do you think there would still be division and war in those countries like there is today? I don’t! Those wars are being fought, because one religion or sect insists on forcing all of the country’s citizens to accept its version of religion or faith—to worship its god or gods regardless of conscience. Those countries are fighting “holy wars” to deny freedom of religion to everyone who disagrees with them.


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our Baptist missionaries were totally free to go to any country in the world and tell the story of Jesus without fear of persecution, imprisonment, or death? Acts 28:31 tells us that Paul “boldly and without hindrance . . . preached the kingdom of God.” It is because of our religious freedom in America that we are fully unhindered to live out the mission of God and share the Gospel.

Now let me tell you a little bit about the work of The Interfaith Alliance. Notice our name. It is not “The Alliance of People Who Pretend Our Faith Doesn’t Matter.” Nor is it “The Alliance of People Who Have No Faith or Pretend They Have No Faith.” Neither is it “The Alliance of People Who Think All Faiths Are the Same.”

No, we are The Interfaith Alliance; that is, we are an alliance of people who believe that everyone ought to have the freedom to live and express their faith without government interference.

During Board meetings, I have said more than once that I am there because I want to protect my right to look all of my fellow Board members in the eye and say, “you really should believe in Jesus.” And you know what? All of them respect my conviction on that point—every single one of them.

And I respect them as well, because none of them wants to impose his or her faith on me. They just want the freedom to worship as they choose—the same thing that I want.


So what does all of this have to do with Christmas and missions? Well, Christmas is all about the faith we have that God became flesh and dwelt among us and thus understands us and loves us unconditionally. I believe it and proclaim it—respectfully, I hope. I trust that my fellow Board members understand my passion and don’t mistake it for dogmatism. One thing that Christians need to understand in missions or witnessing is that we share our faith, not our certainty or proof. There is a difference.

We are people of conviction, but we should not be dogmatic and arrogant. There is a difference.

We proclaim how God is real in our lives, but we must not judge how others relate to God. We just tell the Good News as we have experienced it.

I despise the anger and hate that we see throughout the world today over differences in religion and faith. I want my life to count for respect, civility, and compassion. I hope you share that commitment as you celebrate Christmas, give to missions, and worship the Prince of Peace.

As does any nonprofit organization, The Interfaith Alliance depends on financial support from people like you who share its convictions. To learn more about The Interfaith Alliance, go to www.interfaithalliance.org.