Oct 30, 2013

The Great Commission and the state of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Longietti, a Democrat from Mercer County, recently spoke on his religious reasons for opposing posting "In God We Trust" signs prominently in public schools: 
I have an obligation as a Christian to evangelize. The Great Commission tells me to go and make disciples. But it doesn't tell me to use the government to do that and I think the reason that my faith is that way is because that's not very effective. It really doesn’t change hearts. What changes hearts is one somebody on a personal level shares their faith … 
I think when we do things like this, even though it's talked about from a historical perspective, we create the false impression that somehow we have done our duty in that we have accomplished what we, if we are Christian as I am, are called to do and, really, we've abrogated our duty.
Longietti is a Baptist. He has been a member of his Baptist church since 1976, according to his official bio. He also leads worship at the church and teaches Sunday School.

The bill to require the phrase "In God We Trust" to be displayed in schools passed the Pennsylvania House's education committee last week. It will go up for a vote by the whole house this session, most likely. Longietti's argument was not the main argument against the measure, though it's an interesting one, which shows why the matter of a religiously neutral state is not simply a fight between the religious and the secular. Hemant Mehta reviews the arguments for and defenses of the "National Motto Display Act" raised by the Pennsylvania education committee.