I wish I could say, “A Republic We Are and Will Always Be” but the handwriting appears to be on the wall, and it does not look good. I wish I could say, “Now that the elections are over everything will settle down and we will return to normal” but it does not appear that is likely or possible. I would love to say, “America’s status as the Constitutional Republic is solidly intact” but with the myriad of people in the public and politics that keep calling us a Democracy, it appears to be in danger. I have many more concerns but could not possibly address them all in one short article. However, I want to address one thing in particular and sound the alarm as loudly as possible.
As a Republic, our Founders and the Framers of our Constitution were devoted to creating a Republic rather than a Democracy. Some could argue and there is some legitimacy in calling us a Republican Democracy if we understand the definition and application of those terms. A Direct Democracy with majority rule places everything and everyone subject to the whim of the masses at any given moment and knee-jerk reactions rule the day. Whims change, but republican principles of government do not. The safeguards and protections we were afforded must never be lost nor lost sight of.
As a Christian, a former pastor, and a follower of Jesus Christ, I am deeply concerned with the decades-long assault on our religious liberties largely by the Left. I have endured the diatribe over “A Wall of Separation between Church and State” until I want to scream. The basis of that argument omits the documented reality that our Founding Fathers and the Framers of the Constitution desired to protect religious liberty not to infringe upon it. They sought to keep the state out of the church not to keep the church from influencing the state.
They appear to have understood a biblical concept that many in religious and secular communities seem to be oblivious to. That is rooted in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:13. He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Salt seasons and flavors not just preserves. If the church is to be ‘salt’ then it must have a flavoring effect on the world, otherwise, it loses its purpose and power.
The Founding Fathers and the Framers never sought to eliminate the influence of religion upon government but diligently included it. The argument is often made that most of them were deist and that has been challenged many times quite successfully. But, if a person forms an opinion and believes it to be the truth, they are reluctant to embrace facts that would challenge their position. As I was told early in my Christian and ministerial walk, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Everyone has a right to their opinion but not their own set of facts.
Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founders and early President was not, as many argue, opposed to Christianity. Let me offer an except from David Barton’s work that indicates Jefferson was the opposite of what many have painted him regarding religion.
I’ll give you a great example. We moved into the US Capitol in November of 1800. When we moved in, one of the first acts of Congress was to approve the use of the Capitol as a church building. You can find that in the records of Congress, Dec 4, 1800. Now, who did that? The head of the Senate and the head of the House. The speaker of the House was John Trumbull, the president of the Senate who approved that was Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson approved church in the Capitol. Yep, he went there as Vice President, he went to the church at the Capitol for 8 years as President, and as President of the US. He went to church. This is recorded by a myriad of members of Congress in their records and their diaries. They went to church at the Capitol too.
Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, expressed that he believed his presence would help the worship services at this new church at the Capitol. They met in the Hall of the House of Representatives. Jefferson ordered the Marine Corp band to come to play for the worship services, in the church services at the US Capitol.
The worship band is the Marine Corp Band? That is a pretty good worship band, don’t you think? Thomas Jefferson did that! Wait, I thought he wanted the separation of church and state. If you read his letter on the separation of church and state, he said the separation of church and state, he makes it very clear, separation of church and state will keep the government from stopping a public religious activity.
I don’t know about you but that does not sound like a man that wanted an impenetrable Wall to keep the Church out of governmental affairs and relegate its influence to remain inside the four walls of the local congregational building.
Thomas Jefferson was not involved in the 1st Amendment and it was written almost exclusively by James Madison. The Reverend John Leland, one of the fiercest proponents of religious freedom personally lobbied Madison for a religious liberty clause in the Bill of Rights.
Jefferson acted in the interest of ensuring worship and the right to worship. It is reported that during Jefferson’s first winter as president he regularly attended services in the small frame building owned by the Episcopalians. He had no visible motive for attending those services but for his respect for public worship. He was the one who opened the door for religious services to be held in the Hall of the House of Representatives. He brought the Marine Corps band to play for worship services. If he wanted an impenetrable wall, that would make no sense, would it?
We have witnessed the implementation of Roe v Wade that has resulted in the death or slaughter of over 61 million unborn babies. Then more recently we had the Obergefell v Hodges decision that allowed homosexual marriages. Those were not done in a vacuum and we are facing ever-increasing infringements upon our religious liberties. During the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemonium, there have been civic leaders who openly avowed their desire to permanently shut down or restrict church services.
I do not believe that the government should promote religion in the public square, but I am equally committed to the idea that it should NEVER scrub or restrict it either. I believe that the government, as did our Founding Fathers treat religion as a natural part of the public square. I would argue that we live in a society where we are deeply divided on matters of religion, human sexuality, and other areas. Abortion is a volatile issue and freedom of expression, speech, assembly, and the right to keep and bear arms are all in the mix and targets of those who want to ‘transform us.’
I believe that it would be prudent to insist that the government not attempt to force either side to violate their deeply held beliefs. The repeated argument I hear is that our Founders would have sought to protect each of the minorities in the sexual argument and abortion positions.
I ask, “What about protecting religious liberties?” Is it not a recognized and inalienable right, recognized in our Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights to have Religious Freedom? The moment we engage in picking and choosing which convicts to protect and which to assail we destroy our Republican System of Government and endanger the liberties of everyone.
America, our Republic is endangered, and only as we the people become engaged and involved in the politics of the politicians can we assure that we protect our liberties for everyone. Someone said, “no one is free until we are all free.” Benjamin Franklin said it eloquently and rightly, “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination of the actions of the magistrates.”
We must never forget these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” — U.S. Constitution
God bless you and God bless America!