A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer (Part 6) (Schaeffer Sundays)

Part 1

Part 2

Below is a summary of “A Christian Manifesto” which is a very important book written by Francis Schaeffer just a couple of years before his death in 1984.

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

And what about our schools? I think I should stress again! By law, you are no more allowed to teach religious values and religious views in our public schools than you are in the schools of Russia tonight. We don’t teach Marxism over here in most of our schools, but as far as all religious teaching (except the religion of Humanism, which is a different kind of a thing) it is just as banned by law from our schools, and our schools are just as secular as the schools in Soviet Russia — just exactly! Not ten years from now. Tonight!

Congress opens with prayer. Why? Because Congress always is opened with prayer. Back there, the founding fathers didn’t consider the 13 provincial congresses that sent representatives to form our country in Philadelphia really open until there was prayer. The Congress in Washington, where Edith and I have just been, speaking to various men in political areas and circles — that Congress is not open until there is prayer. It’s illegal, in many places, for youngsters to merely meet and pray on the geographical location of the public schools. I would repeat, we are not only immoral, we’re stupid. I mean that. I don’t know which is the worst: being immoral or stupid on such an issue. We are not only immoral, we are stupid for the place we have allowed ourselves to come to without noticing.

I would now repeat again the word I used before. There is no other word we can use for our present situation that I have just been describing, except the word TYRANNY! TYRANNY! That’s what we face! We face a world view which never would have given us our freedoms. It has been forced upon us by the courts and the government — the men holding this other world view, whether we want it or not, even though it’s destroying the very freedoms which give the freedoms for the excesses and for the things which are wrong.

We, who are Christians, and others who love liberty, should be acting in our day as the founding fathers acted in their day. Those who founded this country believed that they were facing tyranny. All you have to do is read their writings. That’s why the war was fought. That’s why this country was founded. They believed that God never, never, never wanted people to be under tyrannical governments. They did it not as a pragmatic or economic thing, though that was involved too, I guess, but for principle. They were against tyranny, and if the founding fathers stood against tyranny, we ought to recognize, in this year 1982, if they were back here and one of them was standing right here, he would say the same thing — what you are facing is tyranny. The very kind of tyranny we fought, he would say, in order that we might escape.

And we face a very hidden censorship. Every once in a while, as soon as we begin to talk about the need of re-entering Christian values into the discussion, someone shouts “Khomeni.” Someone says that what you are after is theocracy. Absolutely not! We must make absolutely plain, we are not in favor of theocracy, in name or in fact. But, having said that, nevertheless, we must realize that we already face a hidden censorship — a hidden censorship in which it is impossible to get the other world view presented in something like public television. It’s absolutely impossible.

I could give you a couple of examples. I’ll give you one because it’s so close to me. And that is, that after we made Whatever Happened to the Human Race, Franky made an 80 minute cutting for TV of the first 3 episodes (and people who know television say that it’s one of the best television films they have ever seen technically, so that’s not a problem). Their representative presented it to a director of public television, and as soon as she heard (It happened to be a woman. I’m sure that’s incidental.) that it was against abortion, she said, “We can’t show that. We only shoe things that give both sides.” And, at exactly the same time, they were showing that abominable Hard Choices, which is just straight propaganda for abortion. As I point out, the study guide that went with it (as I quote it in Christian Manifesto[the book] with a long quote) was even worse. It was saying that the only possible view of reality was this material thing — this material reality. They spelled it out in that study guide more clearly than I have tonight as to what the issue is. They said, “that’s it!” What do you call that? That’s hidden censorship.

Dr. Koop, one of the great surgeons of the world, when he was nominated as Surgeon General, much of the press (printed) great swelling things against him — a lot of them not true, a lot of them twisted. Certainly though, lots of space was made for trying to not get his nomination accepted. When it was accepted though, I looked like mad in some of the papers, and in most of them what I found was about one inch on the third page that said that Dr. Koop had been accepted. What do you call that? Just one thing: hidden censorship.

You must realize that this other view is totally intolerant. It is totally intolerant. I do not think we are going to get another opportunity if we do not take it now in this country. I would repeat, we are a long way down the road. I do not think we are going to get another opportunity. If the Christians, specifically, but others also, who love liberty, do not do something about it now, I don’t believe your grandchildren are going to get a chance. In the present so-called conservative swing in the last election, we have an opportunity, but we must remember this, and I would really brand this into your thinking: A conservative Humanism is no better than a liberal Humanism. It’s the Humanism that is wrong, not merely the coloration. And therefore, at the present moment, what we must insist on, to people in our government who represent us, is that we do not just end with words. We must see, at the present opportunity, if it continues, a real change. We mustn’t allow it to just drift off into mere words.

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