We can all argue over what the founders intended regarding this issue and although we may disagree hopefully we can still be friends. I want to address this issue in some detail and then say what is really on my mind.
Consider with me some quotes from our founding fathers and others in history regarding the place of God in government:
“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [Patrick Henry in May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]
He and many other founding fathers viewed the idea of Separation of Church and state solely on the basis of not wanting a dominant State mandated Church or Religion, not that they wanted God, religion or the Church uninvolved in matters of State. In fact they encouraged that in every school the Constitution and the Bible be taught so that governmental decisions could be made on the basis of the moral fiber of the Bible. In Colonial America the clergy was virtually always consulted in establishing laws to insure that they were in harmony with the Bible.
George Washington said “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to.”
Abraham Lincoln in 1861 declared the fourth Thursday of September a National Day of Fasting and Prayer and stated: “It is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisement: to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past offenses, and for a blessing upon their present prospective action… it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy… that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers may be restored.” On October 3, 1863 Lincoln issued a formal proclamation, passed by an Act of Congress, initiating the first National Day of Thanksgiving.
Alexander Hamilton shortly after the Constitutional convention of 1787 said: “For my part, I sincerely esteem it [The Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”
In fact, when it appeared that the Constitutional Convention would fail it was Benjamin Franklin that appealed to those attending that they invoke prayer for guidance in forming the Constitution and follow God’s precepts. He said, “…”except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it…. I firmly believe that we will succeed no better in building this political building than the builders of the tower of Babel if we omit the guidance of God. Establishing Government by Human wisdom.”
Therefore, it is my contention having studied Colonial History extensively in college and since, that the founders NEVER proposed that Church, Religion or God be separate from State only that a State mandated Church or Religion not be established and they sought to insure freedom of religion. They welcomed input from all facets of religion and Church in the decision-making of government and formation of the new Constitutional Republic. I personally wonder why Christians believe that we should somehow eliminate God from human government. For if you examine our moral laws, legislated by our government most find their roots in biblical principles. The problem is not Church being involved but its absence, allowing the secular to rule which frequently, if not most of the time, opens the door to ideologies that allow laws, rules, and practices to become mandated that are formulas for greed, power, and the perverting of the basic principles desired by the founders and principles upon which this country was founded. I agree that we should NEVER have government dictating a particular religion but not that religion can play no role in government. Without God’s hand and influence we travel down the road to perdition and that was not the founder’s, desire nor that of Bible Believing Christians.
You can legislate, religion and God out of the public school and stop open public prayer. You can legislate, religion and God out of all governmental buildings and not allow any Christian symbols displayed or ceremonies conducted. You can ban any mention of God from governmental proceedings, public school functions, and elsewhere, but you CANNOT keep God out of people’s hearts and thereby you fail to keep God out of GOVERNMENT. As long as there are believers involved in the State, the Church (God) will have an impact.. A believer’s faith will influence the decisions he makes, the laws he is willing to see enacted, and the road he is willing to travel. As long as there are Christians there will be prayer in the public school albeit not aloud but prayer none-the-less. You can mandate that in a court of law one cannot use the Bible or the words “so help you God” before giving testimony but you cannot prevent believers from expressing that in their hearts and following that rule for the testimony they give. You can even take away the non-profit status of a Church for violating your laws and force believers into making a choice as to obeying God or man, but you cannot remove God from their lives by your laws. You can become angry when believers organize and oppose some political agenda and accuse pastors of violating “Separation of Church and State”, but you cannot stop anyone willing to face even prison for standing for life’s sanctity and other principles the vast majority of Christians believe.
I am not advocating a Theocracy for our earthly government for the simple reason that unless Jesus is the head of the government man would corrupt it. We have far too many examples of that in the world today and in history. Who would be the titular head of the “Theocracy”? What man would presume to stand in God’s place? Acknowledging the vast diversity of faiths the founders understood, and desired that all be free to practice their faith as their hearts would dictate. Thus they, under God’s guidance, (in my opinion), developed a form of government that would allow a functioning government and freedom of religion at the same time and both could coexist without conflict. Unless God Himself comes to the earth and sits on His rightful throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords we must operate via human governments and the American example is the best there is short of that. There will one day be a Theocratic Government, on Earth, and Jesus will be the head of it, but until that day I prefer the system of government that our founders put in place, a Republican Democracy. However, I do not want God’s influence legislated out of the process. I want us to return to being a nation that honors God and His Word. I want the phrase on our money “In God We Trust” meaningful not just words.
You can disagree with me, that is your American right and even your God-given right. You can prefer that prayer not be allowed in public but you cannot stop people from praying in public. You can prefer that the Church have nothing to say about the political issues of the day, and you may prevent many from publicly making any statements, but you cannot stop private conversations or the teaching of basic biblical principles which will influence how people respond and react to various political issues.
In my view, the reason prayer was eliminated from the public school, the pledge of allegiance banned, abortion legalized, and the church targeted for speaking out publicly in opposition to political issues it considers in violation to the Word of God is because THE CHURCH was too passive as the debate ensued. We didn’t speak out as a group loudly enough for the politicians to hear us. We allowed our politicians to fill the courts with judges that interpret the Constitution from a slanted anti-God viewpoint. We did not pray fervently enough to the Lord of Hosts that He move on the hearts of the decision makers to prevent this from becoming reality. As a believer and a minister I WILL NOT be silenced and I WILL BE involved in government, if only as a voice. It is my conviction and contention that our founders recognized God’s importance in government and their objective was not to prevent His influence but to prevent a State Religion excluding others, thus they identified one of our liberties as “Freedom of Religion.” America, we need to return to God and allow Him to guide us rather than try to keep Him out of government. Some ascribe to the idea that we have private lives, public lives, political lives, religious lives, social lives, etc. My contention is that we are not “CATS” we do not have “nine lives”, we have A LIFE! We are the sum total of all the various compartments or departments in which we function in our daily lives. Our core beliefs and values determine who we are, what we stand for, and how we act and react to EVERYTHING!
That’s my belief! You can agree or disagree that is your privilege and right, but before you dismiss what I’ve said I would ask that you make it a matter of prayer and ask God what He thinks. I leave you with this question, “Whom shall we obey, God or man?” As for me and my house, “We will follow the Lord.” May God bless you is my desire and prayer!