Every Thursday during session, the state Legislature takes a bulldozer to the wall between church and state and turns the state capitol building into house of worship. Weekly devotionals are held where a pastor comes before the elected body and preaches. It is official business as the pastor does not address the lawmakers until a quorum is called.
The sermons are intended to be an uplifting moment, which is probably needed after a week of debating such weighty issues as casual sex and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton’s IHOP attire.
The weekly sermons are usually intended to be brief and stay away from politics. But that wasn’t the case when Pastor Bill Ledbetter of Fairview Baptist Church in Durant was at the podium. For nearly 20 minutes, Ledbetter took on the role of Matthew Harrison Brady from the film “Inherit the Wind” and preached how America has misinterpreted the Constitution, passed Godless laws and allowed tolerance to make us intolerant.
Here’s the video:
His speech started out like most Legislative devotionals, using humor and scripture to ease the politic body. Educating the elected on how God is the giver of all things good like hot buttered popcorn, ice cold tea and fresh laundered towels. Praise God for the electric dryer.
But when he grabbed the podium and said “Would you bear with me for a moment,” the trip down damnation alley was under way. He accused America of choosing to become a secular nation which is not what the founding fathers of this country wanted.
His first attack was evolution.
“If you throw out God, you have to come up with something to teach your kids about where they came from, and you have to teach that in school. And now our kids across the nation are taught they are advanced mutations of a baboon. They are taught that they came from a monkey. Evolution is not science and I know that is not politically correct. But it is an indoctrination of teaching a Godless world view.”
He was just getting warmed up as the next batter was the New York City terrorist attacks.
“On Sept. 11, 2001, plunderers attacked our nation. Study the word plunderers in (the Bible), it says God removed his hand and gave us in the hands of plunderers, people of an evil heart. Is it not true that God spoke to us on Sept. 11, 2001?”
It gets better as he described how God is judging America with an earthquake in Washington D.C. and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Even the economic troubles the country has faced are due to secular choices.
“Financial losses are one of his judgments,” Ledbetter preached, and later followed with, “15 trillion dollars of debt, come on.”
Then it was on to the Christian conservative main course: abortion and gay marriage.
“A man marrying a man and a woman marrying a woman is not enlightenment but spiritual darkness.”
And for the pro-choice people of America.
“We need to overturn the shedding of innocent blood in this land. Fifty million babies on the crystal sea before God. I can see them out there on the sea, cootchie-coo.”
That might be the only time the words “cootchie-coo” will be listed in the Legislative journal of record.
His advice was to put people in office who will pass laws that correspond with the word of God and ignore political correctness and tolerance.
“Not tolerance, it always brews intolerance.”
That’s a new one.
For those who may have found his words hard to take, maybe even a little offensive, he has words of comfort for you too.
“Even if you disagree with me today, I love you.”
There, all better now?
But what may scare the heathens the most, is he received a standing ovation and handshakes from several members of the House of Representatives. And the whole time Ledbetter talked about a Godless America causing terrorist attacks, an earthquake and economic decline, the Speaker of the House, Kris Steele, sat behind the pastor saying nothing except an occasional hallelujah.
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