DALLAS — In an interview with Shannon Bream on “Fox News @ Night” last week, Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, addressed the war on Christmas in response to numerous legal challenges to Christmas displays across the country:
“Why is it for the first 150 years of our history, public displays of faith — whether it’s nativity scenes, 10 commandment displays, Bible readings or prayer in schools — were not only allowed, they were encouraged? But suddenly, in 1962 with Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court started to say those things were unconstitutional.
“What changed? Did the First Amendment change and nobody told us? Of course not! What changed is that we allowed liberals to reinterpret the Establishment Clause into something that the framers never intended.
“The Establishment Clause says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion. The fact is, our forefathers didn’t want a state church like they had come from, where people were coerced to worship in a specific way. Having a nativity scene or having the three wise men hardly equates to a state church that coerces people to worship. And I think it’s time for conservative justices who interpret the constitution according to original intent to go back to what the framers had in mind to protect our first freedom.
“Municipalities all across the country are crumbling and buckling under because they don’t want an expensive lawsuit from outside groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. By the way, think of that — freedom from religion. There’s nothing in the First Amendment about a freedom from religion, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be offended by the religious expressions of others. But there is a promise of the free exercise of faith. I encourage Christians everywhere to let their local municipalities and school boards know that they have your support — and your vote — as they proudly and without fear encourage displays of faith in the public square. And wish them a Merry Christmas while you’re at it!”
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 25 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.