David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
September 18, 2007

Last week, Americans observed the anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, attacks. That date will forever be a part of American history. It is one of those rare events with which you can’t help but connect on a personal level – you remember where you were when you first heard the news.

That morning, I was in a hotel at George Bush Airport in Houston, planning to speak at Calder Baptist Church in Beaumont that evening. I was collecting my thoughts for the speech/sermon that I planned to present that evening, so I didn’t even have the TV turned on. Then my son Lance called to tell me the tragic news.

Next, Jim Fuller, the pastor at Calder, called to tell me that his church was going to gather that evening to pray for our country and those who had lost loved ones in this tragedy. So we cancelled our TBC meeting there.

As you might recall, almost all commercial flights were immediately cancelled in the wake of 9-11. I called Dr. Reynolds, who encouraged me to rent a car so I could get home to San Angelo to be with Loretta. I remember that, after arranging for the car rental, I could hardly get through the crowd in the hotel lobby, because it was full of people whose flights had been cancelled. It was a frightening, confusing day that changed all of our lives.

The events of September 11th, 2001, led our country into a war against the terror brought on by fanatical religious fundamentalists. Almost all of us agree that it was necessary and right to wage war against the terrorists who were responsible for the 9-11 tragedy. Ultimately, America’s leaders decided to also wage war on Iraq, a war on which opinion is much more divided.

The First Amendment Center (www.firstamendmentcenter.org), based in Arlington, Virginia, is committed to protecting and preserving First Amendment freedoms by providing informational and educational services. An operating program of the Freedom Forum (www.freedomforum.org), the First Amendment Center is an organization with which Jimmy Allen – one of my Baptist heroes – has long been associated.


Last week, Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, wrote an op-ed piece that we plan to publish in our next newsletter. I found his words to be extremely thought–provoking, and I want to share some of them with you in this space:

“While American soldiers fight to establish a secular democracy abroad, many Americans want to create a Christian nation at home.

“Consider the findings of ‘State of the First Amendment 2007,’ a national survey released last week by the First Amendment Center . Significant numbers of Americans express support for government sponsorship of the majority religion, especially in public schools:

“Despite the fact that all of the above are unconstitutional under current law, many people see nothing wrong — and much right — with school officials privileging or even endorsing the Christian faith.


“Transpose the location (or substitute another religion) and the result would surely be different. Would Americans support the creation of an Iraqi state where the majority Shiites imposed their prayers, religious celebrations, and scriptures on all Iraqi schoolchildren? Not likely.

“On the contrary, we send young Americans to fight for an Iraq where people of all faiths will be protected from state-imposed religion. Why? Because we understand that (however quixotic the quest) only a secular democracy in Iraq with no established faith will guarantee religious freedom — and end sectarian strife.”

We should always remember September 11 th as a testimony to why we are free in America – the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of (and from) religion for all people. In America , we do not terrorize each other over religion. Our country has never fought a war over religion. We live in peace, because we treasure religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

Every day, as you pray for our soldiers in Iraq, remember to thank God for our freedom as well.