The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Delegates Expressed Doubts

photo-1450430463204-6f53fe1c2777_optAugust 31, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes on the day)

Summary

Delegates decided to require nine states to ratify the Constitution. The debate on the Committee of Detail ended today with a new committee formed to report on all other proposals.

Influences on the Delegates

The discussion and debate on the report of the Committee of Detail ended today. All remaining proposals were referred to the Brearly Committee which consisted of one representative from each state.
Even as the delegates closed in on the last articles for debate, some key delegates were expressing doubt about their work.

Mr. GERRY moved to postpone Article 22.
Colonel MASON seconded the motion, declaring that he would sooner chop off his right hand, than put it to the Constitution as it now stands. He wished to see some points, not yet decided, brought to a decision, before being compelled to give a final opinion on this Article. Should these points be improperly settled, his wish would then be to bring the whole subject before another General Convention.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS was ready for a postponement. He had long wished for another Convention, that will have the firmness to provide a vigorous government, which we are afraid to do.
Mr. RANDOLPH stated his idea to be, in case the final form of the Constitution should not permit him to accede to it, that the State Conventions should be at liberty to propose amendments, to be submitted to another General Convention, which may reject or incorporate them as may be judged proper.

It is remarkable that at that late date, some delegates wanted to scrap the whole thing and start over. To the point of the so-called “biblical Constitution,” Christian delegate didn’t feel the work had achieved a “vigorous government.” Morris believed the delegates were “afraid” to do so. How do these statements compare to the picture often painted by Christian nationalists of Christian delegates self-consciously creating a Christian republic? Not well, in my view.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
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American Historical Association's Excellent Statement on Confederate Monuments

I really like this statement from the AHA on Confederate monuments. I hope it is widely disseminated.  Below is the introduction followed by the statement.

AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments (August 2017)

The tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have re-ignited debate about the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces, as well as related conversations about the role of Confederate, neo-Nazi, and white suprem

Jud McCranie - Creative Commons Confederate memorial statue, Statesboro, Georgia, U.S
Jud McCranie – Creative Commons
Confederate memorial statue, Statesboro, Georgia, U.S

acist imagery in American political culture. Historians have been a vocal presence in these discussions, and the American Historical Association is compiling an ongoing bibliography of the diverse perspectives of AHA members.
The AHA has also released the following statement, approved by AHA Council August 28, 2017, about the role of history and historians in these public conversations. Rather than seeking to provide definitive answers to the questions posed by individual monuments, the AHA emphasizes the imperative of understanding historical context in any consideration of removing or recontextualizing monuments, or renaming public spaces.
Statement:
The American Historical Association welcomes the emerging national debate about Confederate monuments. Much of this public statuary was erected without such conversations, and without any public decision-making process. Across the country, communities face decisions about the disposition of monuments and memorials, and commemoration through naming of public spaces and buildings. These decisions require not only attention to historical facts, including the circumstances under which monuments were built and spaces named, but also an understanding of what history is and why it matters to public culture.
President Donald Trump was correct in his tweet of August 16: “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.” That is a good beginning, because to learn from history, one must first learn what actually happened in the past. Debates over removal of monuments should consider chronology and other evidence that provide context for why an individual or event has been commemorated. Knowledge of such facts enables debate that learns “from history.”
Equally important is awareness of what we mean by “history.” History comprises both facts and interpretations of those facts. To remove a monument, or to change the name of a school or street, is not to erase history, but rather to alter or call attention to a previous interpretation of history. A monument is not history itself; a monument commemorates an aspect of history, representing a moment in the past when a public or private decision defined who would be honored in a community’s public spaces.
Understanding the specific historical context of Confederate monuments in America is imperative to informed public debate. Historians who specialize in this period have done careful and nuanced research to understand and explain this context. Drawing on their expertise enables us to assess the original intentions of those who erected the monuments, and how the monuments have functioned as symbols over time. The bulk of the monument building took place not in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War but from the close of the 19th century into the second decade of the 20th. Commemorating not just the Confederacy but also the “Redemption” of the South after Reconstruction, this enterprise was part and parcel of the initiation of legally mandated segregation and widespread disenfranchisement across the South. Memorials to the Confederacy were intended, in part, to obscure the terrorism required to overthrow Reconstruction, and to intimidate African Americans politically and isolate them from the mainstream of public life. A reprise of commemoration during the mid-20th century coincided with the Civil Rights Movement and included a wave of renaming and the popularization of the Confederate flag as a political symbol. Events in Charlottesville and elsewhere indicate that these symbols of white supremacy are still being invoked for similar purposes.
To remove such monuments is neither to “change” history nor “erase” it. What changes with such removals is what American communities decide is worthy of civic honor. Historians and others will continue to disagree about the meanings and implications of events and the appropriate commemoration of those events. The AHA encourages such discussions in publications, in other venues of scholarship and teaching, and more broadly in public culture; historical scholarship itself is a conversation rooted in evidence and disciplinary standards. We urge communities faced with decisions about monuments to draw on the expertise of historians both for understanding the facts and chronology underlying such monuments and for deriving interpretive conclusions based on evidence. Indeed, any governmental unit, at any level, may request from the AHA a historian to provide consultation. We expect to be able to fill any such request.
We also encourage communities to remember that all memorials remain artifacts of their time and place. They should be preserved, just like any other historical document, whether in a museum or some other appropriate venue. Prior to removal they should be photographed and measured in their original contexts. These documents should accompany the memorials as part of the historical record. Americans can also learn from other countries’ approaches to these difficult issues, such as Coronation Park in Delhi, India, and Memento Park in Budapest, Hungary.
Decisions to remove memorials to Confederate generals and officials who have no other major historical accomplishment does not necessarily create a slippery slope towards removing the nation’s founders, former presidents, or other historical figures whose flaws have received substantial publicity in recent years. George Washington owned enslaved people, but the Washington Monument exists because of his contributions to the building of a nation. There is no logical equivalence between the builders and protectors of a nation—however imperfect—and the men who sought to sunder that nation in the name of slavery. There will be, and should be, debate about other people and events honored in our civic spaces. And precedents do matter. But so does historical specificity, and in this case the invocation of flawed analogies should not derail legitimate policy conversation.
Nearly all monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders were erected without anything resembling a democratic process. Regardless of their representation in the actual population in any given constituency, African Americans had no voice and no opportunity to raise questions about the purposes or likely impact of the honor accorded to the builders of the Confederate States of America. The American Historical Association recommends that it’s time to reconsider these decisions.

To me, this strikes all the right notes. Monument removal doesn’t erase history. There is no meaningful slippery slope argument to be made when the question before the house is: Should we commemorate the Confederacy? Those who support leaving those monuments in place need to answer that question before addressing any others.
I have called on Christians to take the lead in placing those monuments in museums or mothballs.
Hat tip to historian John Fea for publishing this statement.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – No Religious Test

August 30, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes on the day)

Summary

The delegates continued to fine-tune the report of the Detail Committee. They decided to permit new states on equal terms with existing states and prohibited the alteration of states without consent of state legislatures. They voted to include a guarantee of a Republican form of government. The delegates, with little discussion, included the no religious test clause.

Influences on the Delegates

There were no obvious influences on the discussions but a monumental clause was passed.
Article 20 was then taken up. The words “or affirmation,” were added, after “oath.”

Mr. PINCKNEY moved to add to the Article: “but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the authority of the United States.”
Mr. SHERMAN thought it unnecessary, the prevailing liberality being a sufficient security against such tests.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS and General PINCKNEY approved the motion.
The motion was agreed to, nem. con., and then the whole article, — North Carolina only, no; and Maryland, divided.

To Article 20, was added the “no religious test” clause. Even though Roger Sherman thought the clause was not needed due to the “prevailing liberality,” the delegate unanimously added it to Article 20.

Article XX.
The members of the Legislatures, and the Executive and Judicial officers of the United States, and of the several States, shall be bound by oath to support this Constitution.

Sherman was never more wrong. As liberal as that period in history was, it took many years for the states to eliminate those tests. However, Pinckney’s motion led the way.
I have visited this issue before. In the North Carolina convention to ratify the Constitution, the matter came up. The interpretation of the clause prevented religious bigotry and the mixture of church and state.
 

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Fugitive Slave Clause Passed

August 29, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes)

Summary

A committee was formed to consider Article 16. A fugitive slave clause was passed to be added to the end of Article 15.

Influences on the Delegates

Although not an example of an influence, I think the following passage from Virginia’s Edmund Randolph regarding trade puts the lie to the claim that Ben Franklin’s call to prayer had some immediate impact to bring the delegates together. Here we are in late August and Randolph says the Constitution has “odious” elements and he is on the fence about his support.

Mr. RANDOLPH said that there were features so odious in the Constitution, as it now stands, that he doubted whether he should be able to agree to it. A rejection of the motion would complete the deformity of the system. He took notice of the argument in favor of giving the power over trade to a majority, drawn from the opportunity foreign powers would have of obstructing retaliatory measures, if two thirds were made requisite. He did not think there was weight in that consideration. The difference between a majority and two thirds, did not afford room for such an opportunity. Foreign influence would also be more likely to be exerted on the President, who could require three fourths by his negative. He did not mean, however, to enter into the merits. What he had in view was merely to pave the way for a declaration, which he might be hereafter obliged to make; if an accumulation of obnoxious ingredients should take place, that he could not give his assent to the plan.

On the slave trade, the delegates considered a report and had the following discussion about Article 15 (see below):

ARTICLE XV.
Any person charged with treason, felony or high misdemeanor in any State, who shall flee from justice, and shall be found in any other State, shall, on demand of the Executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the offence.

The delegates unanimously added a strict fugitive slave clause.

Mr. BUTLER moved to insert after Article 15, “If any person bound to service or labor in any of the United States, shall escape into another State, he or she shall not be discharged from such service or labor, in consequence of any regulations subsisting in the State to which they escape, but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor,” — which was agreed to, nem. con.

David Barton has been lately claiming that most of the founding fathers were anti-slavery. However, the only numbers that matter on that subject are the vote tallies in favor of making slavery acceptable in the new nation. In this case, fugitive slaves lost 11-0. It didn’t help slaves to have declarations against slavery when the delegates voted to keep it legal.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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Church of South India Pulls Out of State Council of Churches Over Admission of Believers' Church

The Church of South India was a charter member of the Kerala Council of Churches in India. However, according to a news report in The Hindu, CSI has pulled out of the KCC in response to the admission of K.P. Yohannan’s Believers’ Church into the KCC.
The background of the move involves the insistence by the CSI that Yohannan (also the CEO of Gospel for Asia) was not consecrated officially as a bishop and has no authority as such.

The latest development has to be viewed in the backdrop of the controversy over the episcopacy claims of the Believers Church that its head, K.P. Yohannan, was consecrated by the CSI Church.
However, the CSI has outrightly rejected this claim of the Believers Church, saying that the former has never done such a thing at any point of time.
The CSI Moderator, Bishop Thomas K. Oommen, told The Hindu that the regional forum of the CSI Synod members had unanimously decided to disassociate with the KCC and its programmes.

Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.
Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.

Yohannan and several bishops created the Believers’ Church due to the need to have a church in India to receive donations from abroad. However Yohannan claimed recognition from CSI when in fact the relationship is nonexistent according to CSI. The leaders of that denomination felt so strongly about it that they pulled out of the KCC to protest the recognition of Believers’ Church. To CSI, Yohannan is a lay person pretending to be a Bishop.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Judges, State Powers and Fugitive Slaves

August 28, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes)

Summary

The delegates continued tweaking the judiciary and spent much time on details of state powers.

Influences on the Delegates

The delegates did not refer to other nations or refer to specific influences today.
I want to point out one exchange initiated by the delegates from South Carolina. On the discussion of extradition between states, Colonel Pinckney wanted to include runaway slaves. Article XV reads:

ARTICLE XV.
Any person charged with treason, felony or high misdemeanor in any State, who shall flee from justice, and shall be found in any other State, shall, on demand of the Executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the offence.
General PINCKNEY was not satisfied with it. He seemed to wish some provision should be included in favor of property in slaves.
On the question on Article 14, —
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, aye, — 9; South Carolina, no, — 1; Georgia, divided.
Article 15 being then taken up, the words, “high misdemeanor,” were struck out, and the words, “other crime,” inserted, in order to comprehend all proper cases; it being doubtful whether “high misdemeanor” had not a technical meaning too limited.
Mr. BUTLER and Mr. PINCKNEY moved to require “fugitive slaves and servants to be delivered up like criminals.”
Mr. WILSON. This would oblige the Executive of the State to do it at the public expense.
Mr. SHERMAN saw no more propriety in the public seizing and surrendering a slave or servant than a horse.
Mr. BUTLER withdrew his proposition, in order that some particular provision might be made, apart from this article.
Article 15, as amended, was then agreed to, nem. con.

After Pinckney couldn’t get a motion attached to Article XIV, he and Butler moved to add their fugitive slave clause. However, it was not added but Butler saved it for later.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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Faith Leaders Hold Press Conference on Racism After Charlottesville; Fail to Call Out Arpaio Pardon

UPDATE: A video of the press conference and follow up Q & A is here.
I watched the video of the press conference. Some of it I couldn’t hear due to audio problems.

What Should We Do?

Generally, the suggestions from the panel were what one might expect from a group of clergy: pray, fast, trust God. Several Trump supporters were there but Trump’s mixed messages and hurtful actions were not called out (thinking specifically of the Arpaio pardon and his ambiguous reaction to Charlottesville). On the other hand, several said the job to bring reconciliation wasn’t Trump’s but the church’s job.
In response to a CBN reporter’s question, Bishop Harry Jackson said the concrete steps suggested by the panel are a fast, a call to prayer for 40 days starting tomorrow, an affirmation of the Justice Declaration written by Prison Fellowship, and rallies in 25 cities.  Alveda King added that the committee wants to educate the public that America repented for lynchings and slavery via Congress.
On balance, the panel favored taking the monuments down. I agree.
The World Magazine report asked Trump supporters how they felt about his response to Charlottesville. Day Gardiner who sits on Trump’s diversity council said Trump loves all people and blamed “an entity” who is intent on demolishing Trump’s work. She believes he’s “on track.” Apparently Ms. Gardner has no concerns worth mentioning.
Frank Amedia the head of something called POTUS Shield took the “righteous left” to task for complaining about Trump.
None of them had anything to say about Trump’s statements or his pardon of Joe Arpaio.

What Was Missing?

Over and over the leaders declared that only God could heal racism. While I believe in the power of faith, I also know that the racist believes that the Christian God is on his side. The League of the South’s Michael Hill thanked God for their successes at Charlottesville. The racist and the anti-racist both claim Christianity. This must be confronted by Christian leaders. While they all condemned racism, I believe they also need to confront the racist theology in specific terms.
As I listened, I also wondered about how people of other religions or no religion fit in. If healing racism in America requires prayer and fasting to the Christian God, then what part do non-Christians play? I don’t think a broad movement can be led by calling on people to participate in religious dogma they don’t believe in. I don’t know if this exclusivity is a side effect of Christian nationalism but it seemed exclusionary even at the same time some of the rhetoric embraced inclusion.
Perhaps, these leaders were more correct when they addressed their comments to each other. In other words, they were right to criticize racism in Christianity. My reaction to listening to this 2 hour presser is to hope the good intentions lead to change in the church. I don’t think the church is ready to lead the nation in some political way. If these folks can’t even criticize Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio (as Martin Luther King, Jr. called out Bull Connor and police brutality in his Birmingham jail letter), then they are not ready to lead a broad coalition toward equality and justice.
At least, that’s my opinion. I could be wrong. I hope for better.
Reconciled Church presser
 
(Original post)
This morning at 9:30am EDT at the National Press Club, The Reconciled Church Initiative will hold a press conference on “The Church’s Role After Charlottesville.” The event will be webcast live on the organization’s website.

Most Influential Pastors in America

The press conference follows a meeting of what Morris called “some of the most influential pastors in America.” This meeting was held on August 21 in Los Angeles.  Listen to Morris describe the meeting during the first three minutes of this August 19 sermon:

Transcript:

Alright before we, before I get to the message, I wanna make a couple of comments about what’s going on in our nation right now.  We really need to pray uh, for our nation.  Because there’s an incredible attack of the enemy against us.  I spent over an hour on the phone this last weeken- week, with pastors, Christian leaders, Senators, uh, about what we could do in our nation right now.  Monday, I’ll be with um, some of the most influential pastors in America.  We’ve kind of called an emergency meeting.  And so I’ll fly to Los Angeles actually and Monday morning and fly back Monday night.  And we’ll spend the day in prayer and talk about how we, as pastors of some of the largest churches in America, how – what we can do to help, uh, our nation right now.
But, I want, I think it’s time for us to take a stand.  And I think it’s time for us to make it clear.  (applause)  As Christians.  As Christians, we need, to make it clear, so, so Imma  gonna make it clear for ya, alright?  The KKK, white supremacy and racism are straight from the pit of hell.  They are from the pit of hell.  There is no place for racism in Christianity.  None.  God created us equal when he created Adam and Eve he creates us one and then he does another oneness in Christ.  But we are no better than someone else and what’s going on right now in our country is, is the Enemy attacking and we need to stand up.  And we need to say something about it.  So, I want us to take a moment and pray for our nation. Will ya, will you agree with me?
So Lord we come to ya, as your sons and your daughters and God we say to you, ‘we need your help’.  Lord only you can do it  Only you can fix it. And you told us what the answer is and that is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself. And so Lord I pray for revival in this country.  I pray God what Satan means for evil, you will turn it for good. And I pray God the hatred and the racism that has been present for years will end, with this generation,Am that we will take a stand and we will end it in the name and the power and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and amen.”

Morris described what happened at the August 21 meeting in his Saturday sermon on the 26th. The answer? Love and prayer.

Transcript:

I just want to give you an update because many of you were praying. Uh, about fifty ­pastors from very influential churches in America came together this last week to talk about the problem of racism in America. And, um, there were about a third white pastors, about a third black pastors, about a third, uh, Hispanic and Asian. Of that third of Hispanic and Asian, about two-thirds of those were, uh, Hispanic; about a third Asian. Uh, but we had a tremendous prayer time before the Lord. We talked. We talked about what the church can do. And um, there was just, uh, there was one main conclusion. And that is that racism is, evil, and we need to call it evil and we need to preach love. (applause) So, I just want you to know that I am committed to continue to take a national stand in this area. And so, continue to pray for us. I believe, obviously, the pastors and the body of Christ, we have the answer to this. And I, I believe that God could bring a healing to this problem in this generation. And that’s what we’re praying for.

The answer? Call racism evil and preach love.
Morris and the “influential pastors in America” could start with themselves and Trump’s evangelical advisory board. Although it would be a powerful statement, I have a hunch Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio won’t come up at today’s presser. I hope they prove me wrong.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Judiciary

August 27, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes)

Summary

The delegates voted to make the president commander chief of the militia when called to defend the nation. The delegates fine-tuned the judiciary today.

Influences on the Delegates

Britain again was the model for the question of removing judges for an offense.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought it a contradiction in terms, to say, that the Judges should hold their offices during good behaviour, and yet be removeable without a trial. Besides, it was fundamentally wrong to subject judges to so arbitrary an authority.
Mr. SHERMAN saw no contradiction or impropriety, if this were made a part of the constitutional regulation of the Judiciary establishment. He observed, that a like provision was contained in the British statutes.
Mr. RUTLEDGE. If the Supreme Court is to judge between the United States and particular States, this alone is an insuperable objection to the motion.
Mr. WILSON considered such a provision in the British Government as less dangerous than here; the House of Lords and House of Commons being less likely to concur on the same occasions. Chief Justice Holt, he remarked, had successively offended, by his independent conduct, both Houses of Parliament. Had this happened at the same time, he would have been ousted. The Judges would be in a bad situation, if made to depend on any gust of faction which might prevail in the two branches of our Government.

 

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
To follow on social media, click the following links:
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Exit: The Appeal of Suicide Movie is Really an Evangelism Effort

The first screen from Exit: The Appeal of Suicide
The first screen from Exit: The Appeal of Suicide

I wrote about this movie in late July when the star of Exit: The Appeal of Suicide Ray Comfort appeared on the David Barton’s Wallbuilders Live show. I didn’t think highly of what they had to say about depression at the time but withheld judgment about the movie because I hadn’t seen it. I watched it recently and cannot recommend it. On balance, I don’t believe it is a helpful movie about suicide or something I can recommend for those who might be contemplating suicide.
The first thing a viewer sees is the image above. The movie never identifies the “many experts” or provides any evidence for their alleged belief that the vast majority of cases aren’t organic. In fact, some cases are probably not organic but the cutting edge of research into depression involves genetics, neuroscience and adaptation. The adaptation aspect of the picture does involve experience but the prevailing view is that depression is the result of many factors operating differently for different people (source). For many people, depression arises without warning or environmental trigger.
However, for the most part, Comfort and crew ignore all of that. Comfort converses with several depressed college students and eventually turns the conversation to their sinfulness in an effort to get them to convert to his approach to Christianity. I say “his approach” because a couple of the students seemed to have some religious background. However, they didn’t answer Comfort’s questions according to his liking and he persisted in pressing for a conversion.
I had planned to review this movie more extensively. However, after watching it, I don’t see the point. Comfort’s answer to depression and suicide is for the depressed person to get saved. If depressed Christians watched this movie, I don’t know what they would come away with. I suspect many Christians watching this movie will question their faith at just the time they need it.  I can’t see how that would be helpful.

An Evangelism Tool

In the end, this movie is an evangelism tool. Comfort wants to make converts and he has used depression and suicide to set the stage for his evangelism pitch. In the end, Comfort and crew offer disclaimers and offer an option to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255). However, the message had already been made very clear. The answer for depression is to become a Christian the Ray Comfort way.
I suspect Comfort and his mates mean well. They don’t want people to hurt or be depressed and I suspect they really believe that Christian salvation is required to be free of depression. However, this is an inadequate assessment of the situation.
Although depression is multi-faceted and for some might be improved by making a spiritual commitment, this is not the case for many others. Devout Christians experience depression without any obvious triggers. For some, their moods simply do not follow a normal course of regulation. Their lows are too low and/or their highs too high. While Christian salvation might help them feel more grounded and connect them to the supernatural, it won’t touch the causes of their mood disorder. Having Christians tell them to pray harder or accept Christ more sincerely is unhelpful and may indeed cause such despair that the efforts become harmful.
Because this movie so badly misses the mark, I can’t recommend it.