Let’s continue our review of our Constitutional Freedoms and our Free Constitutional Republic as we celebrate Independence week. I realize that everyone who reads what I am writing does not ascribe to or embrace the Christian faith. That cannot deter me from expressing my views on the Constitution, the Bible, God, Morality, Family, and Life. This article is about Religion, Faith, and our Constitutional protections within the First Amendment of “Religious Freedom.”
From time to time some people challenge me on this subject and insist that the “Separation of Church and State” prohibits anything of religion from being included in the public square. I adamantly disagree. I believe that the Founding Fathers would as well and there is evidence to support my position.
We should have separation of the Church and the State in the sense that the State NEVER seeks to control or mandate to Religion what it can or cannot believe. We were given “Freedom of Religion,” and some make that “Freedom from Religion.” This means, that nothing of the Bible can be visible or included in anything government.
That idea flies in the face of the actions and writings of the Founding Fathers as well as their frequent inclusion of prayer in public gathers and endeavors. That position overlooks the documented times they sought the advice and counsel of the clergy before making political decisions. Why? Because they recognized that “God is!” They recognized Him as “Creator.” They recognized that our Rights are “natural” or “inalienable” coming from Him, not the government. That is foreign to much thinking in today’s political arena.
Back to my title statement and what I want to address in this article. Some see the Christian Religion as simply an ideology or an opinion, not a life-changing experience. I disagree based on my knowledge of the Bible and personal experience. I know the change that transpired in my life, attitude, language, and actions when I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. The change was one that people knew without my telling them. I had people ask, before I said anything, “What has happened to you?” My experience was transformational.
Anytime the federal government issues edicts that restrict, prohibit, or infringe upon our Religious Freedoms they are wrong constitutionally, biblically, and morally. I was grateful when under Donald Trump the U.S. State Department launched a global coalition to defend ‘religious freedom.’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the establishment of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, a coalition with twenty-seven countries. Their commitment is to respect the ‘Freedom of Conscience’ and advocate for ‘Religious Freedom.’ That was a great first step that has since been trashed. I had hoped it would translate into a stronger defense of this Right in America.
I agree with the statement of the CEO of Open Doors, David Curry. He said: “Civil society has a role to play, government has a role to play in creating environments where people can practice their faith or choose not to practice a faith without fear of pressure, oppression, being imprisoned, being attacked by other groups. We need civil government to pass the kinds of laws that allow people to change their mind or change their faith if they so choose as an adult to do that, or to decide that they want to be an atheist – I think these are things that civil government has to do.”
Over the past few years, we have frequently been told that America is not a Christian nation. That was the clear position of former President Barack Obama and seems to be in the mindset of the incoherent Joe Biden. Mr. Obama devotedly defended Islam but frequently castigated Christianity and spoke disparagingly about Christians calling those of us who supported the Right “bitter clingers.” He lamented that we were those who clung to our “Bibles and our Guns.” Imagine that! We defend two of the basic provisions and guarantees of the American Constitution and we were in the words of Hillary Clinton, “a basket of deplorables.” Wow!
Being a Christian nation and having our laws and government influenced and impacted by Christianity, the Bible, morality, and religion are often viewed negatively by those who hate us. A former Supreme Court Justice, David Brewer explained what it meant to be a Christian nation. His assertions are worthy of consideration and therefore included in this writing.
Justice Brewer said, “[I]n what sense can [America] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that the people are in any manner compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Neither is it, Christian, in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world.”
David Barton of Wall Builders addressed it succinctly. He said: “So, if being a Christian nation is not based on any of the above criteria, then what makes America a Christian nation? According to Justice Brewer, America was “of all the nations in the world . . . most justly called a Christian nation” because Christianity “has so largely shaped and molded it.”
In America, we have a Republic that has been shaped significantly by the Christian Religion. I believe that Biblical Christianity has resulted in producing many of our cherished traditions that none of us should desire to be lost. We have a Republican rather than a Theocratic form of government. We have institutional separation of church and state as opposed to forced institutional secularization of the church and state. We have protection for religious toleration and the rights of conscience. We have a free-market approach to religion ensuring religious diversity and recognition of our right to follow our conscience.
Although he is often lambasted regarding the Bible and God, Thomas Jefferson was instrumental in establishing weekly Sunday worship services at the U.S. Capitol. Imagine that! That continued through the 19th Century, and he faithfully and regularly attended those services. He is reported to have braved inclement weather traveling by horseback to attend the Capitol church. The U.S. Capitol was available for church services because Article I, Section 7 included the Constitutional requirement that forbade federal lawmaking on Sunday. This was a recognition by our Founders of the Christian Religion’s Sabbath. Biblically the Sabbath is Saturday but in America, Sunday was and is still often identified as the Sabbath.
Jefferson explained why he wanted the church at the Capitol and attended. He said, “No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.” So much for his desire for all things religious to be banned from the public square and federal buildings, etc.
I want all our Inalienable and Constitutional Rights to be protected and protected for everyone! I want us to return to a condition where the Constitution is respected and honored. I want elected officials to once again, “Protect and Defend the Constitution.” I want that even if they disagree with it. I have been encouraged by President Trump’s defense of our Religious Freedoms and our other Freedoms.
God bless you and God bless America.