Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, preached a passionate sermon entitled "America is a Christian Nation" yesterday. The sermon was full of sound and fury signifying nothing except that the pastor is completely misguided regarding the meaning of the First Amendment to Constitution of the United States.
The source of Jeffress misguidance was cited early on in his sermon. He credits David Barton who spoke at his church not long ago.
The historical and legal inaccuracies broadcast in Jeffress' sermon are too numerous to waste time and space enummerating. Here's one of his most egregrious historical inaccuracies:
Jeffress states that Jefferson's 1802 letter to Danbury Baptists, the letter in which Jefferson uses the wall metaphor for separating church and state, was written to allay Baptist fears that he would establish the Congregational Church and thus deprive them of their religious liberty.
No one of intellectual integrity who had invested even an hour reading source documents from the hand of Thomas Jefferson himself would contend, as Jeffress did, that Jefferson's wall metaphor merely opposed the establishment of any Christian denomination rather than opposing the establishment of any religion.
For the benefit of Jeffress edification and education, here are some links to more accurate information about the original intent of the First Amendment than he has been receiving from David Barton:
Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson (1779)
Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson (1802)
While he's catching up on his education, it wouldn't hurt Jeffress to read the famous speech that George W. Truett, one of his predecessors at First Baptist Dallas, gave about Baptists and Religious Liberty.