WASHINGTON — During a hearing on Capitol Hill that centered on the current state of religious freedom in America, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) grilled the leader of a prominent church-state separation group if he believes in the biblical command to share the gospel.
The event, which was hosted by the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, was held in the Rayburn House Office Building and featured the testimony of a number of speakers, both for and against current Obama administration policies.
Barry Lynn, an attorney and licensed “minister” in the United Church of Christ who also leads Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, was among those that testified before Congress. As Lynn spoke of himself as a Christian, yet advocated for keeping God out of government, Gohmert questioned Lynn on his beliefs to understand what he believes about Christian evangelism.
“Do you believe in sharing the good news that will keep people from going to Hell, consistent with Christian beliefs?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t agree with your construction of what Hell is like or why one gets there,” Lynn replied.
“So, you do not believe somebody would go to Hell if they do not believe Jesus is the way, the truth, the life?” Gohmert inquired.
Lynn then stated that he did not believe souls would go to Hell for rejecting a “specific set of ideas in Christianity.”
“No, not a set of ideas. Either you believe as a Christian that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life or you don’t,” Gohmert said firmly. “And there’s nothing wrong in our country with that. There’s no crime; there’s no shame.”
“Congressman, what I believe is not necessarily what I think ought to justify the creation of public policy for everybody,” Lynn stated. “For the 2,000 different religions that exist in this country, the 25 million non-believers. I’ve never been offended, I’ve never been ashamed to share my belief. When I spoke recently at an American Atheists conference, it was clear from the very beginning, the first sentence that I was a Christian minister. … I want to preserve the Constitution and its effect on all people—believers and non-believers—in the next five years. That’s what I talk about.”
“So, the Christian belief—as you see it—is whatever you choose to think about Christ, whether or not you believe those words He said that nobody basically ‘goes to Heaven except through me,’” Gohmert replied.
“We could have a very interesting dicussion sometime, probably not in a Congressional hearing,” Lynn replied.
Gohmert said that he only wished to understand what Lynn “meant by [using the word] Christian,” and discontinued his discussion with the church-state separatist leader.
In addition to hearing testimony from Lynn, the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) also spoke to Congress about concerns regarding the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare.