BATON ROUGE, La. (ABP) – A Southern Baptist pastor in Louisiana became an Internet celebrity when his fiery introduction at a rally for presidential candidate Rick Santorum went viral on YouTube and news websites.
"I don't care what the liberals say, I don't care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation,” Dennis Terry, pastor of Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, said [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2emBxDOY7g] March 18 while introducing Santorum and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to about 1,400 people attending a rally at his church.
“There is only one God, and his name is Jesus,” Terry said. “I'm tired of people telling me that I can't say those words. I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or that we can no longer pray in public. Listen to me: if you don't love America, if you don't like the way we do things I got one thing to say -- GET OUT. We don't worship Buddha. We don't worship Mohammad. We don't worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God's son Jesus Christ."
By midday March 20 a Google search for “Dennis Terry” produced more than 80,000 results. On Monday reporters asked Santorum if he agreed with Terry’s comments that they described as extreme.
Terry, who is Perkins’ pastor, told WBRZ television in Baton Rouge that most of the response he received to his remarks had been positive, but that the videos making the rounds were edited to make them appear more controversial.
“I’m just amazed at how people are misquoting the things that I said last night, and how they have twisted it and edited -- just to put across the You Tube today what they wanted, I guess,” he said.
Terry denied saying that people who think differently than he does should leave America.
“I believe the Ten Commandments is the basis for the founding of this country, and we don’t need to get away from that,” he told WBRZ March 19. “That’s what I said and that’s what I meant last night, that I love America.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.