Separation of Church and State
There is no such thing as separation of church and state. The founding fathers of our great nation did not include this phrase anywhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, any Supreme Court decision, or any other official document or piece of legislation at any time during the creation of the United States of America.
The phrase was used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a church explaining that the new government would never create a law that would impede or discourage the practice of Christianity as the official religion of our nation.
You can argue all you want about Christianity not being the core value around which our great nation was founded, or on which our original laws are based. I can provide several hundred pages of support for my side of the argument which is as follows: Christianity and the practice of the Christian faith is the basis behind the formation of our nation, our government, all of our original laws, our education system, and our legal system. In fact, our founding fathers believed that only Christians should be able to serve in public office. Here is a handful of quotes to prove this point.
George Washington - first President of the United States, signer of the Constitution, Commander-in-Chief during the American Revolution who stated: "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor."
John Adams - second President of the United States, signer of the Declaration of Independence who stated: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Thomas Jefferson - third President of the United States, signer and principle author of the Declaration of Independence who stated: "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."
James Madison - fourth President of the United States and signer of the Constitution who stated: "Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."
John Quincy Adams - sixth President of the United States who stated: "Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?"
Benjamin Franklin - signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution who stated: "I've lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."
Patrick Henry - founding father and patriot who stated: "An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!...Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us...Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
John Jay - first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and co-author of the Federalist Papers who stated: "The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and regulate your life by its precepts" as well as "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
James Wilson - original Justice of the United States Supreme Court and signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution who stated: "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine...Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."
Joseph Story - Justice of the United States Supreme Court and "Father of American Jurisprudence" who stated: "One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law...There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations...I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of a civil society."
Senate Judiciary Committee Report dated January 19, 1853, which stated: "We are a Christian people...not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity?"
House Judiciary Committee Report dated March 27, 1854, which stated: "At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged...In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity...That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."
United States Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. (1892) which stated: "There is no dissonance in these [legal] declarations...These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people...These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."
Harvard University Student Guidelines (1636 edition) which stated: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Proverbs 2, 3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein."
Yale University Student Guidelines (1787 edition) which stated: "All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion."
United States Supreme Court ruling in Vidal v. Girard's Executors (1844), a unanimous decision regarding the teaching of the Bible in public schools which stated: "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] - its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated?...Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"
I could also list dozens of pages of quotes from the Bible regarding the need for Christian faith and beliefs in order to effect a positive change in our nation, but I will settle for only one. The King James Version of the Holy Bible states in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 as follows:
"If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
For the record, I became a Christian at Woodforest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas back in 1982 while I was a student at North Shore Senior High School. I have tried to live a Christian lifestyle, but I am human, and I have often failed to live up to the standards which were set by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, and if I earnestly pray for forgiveness of my sins, He will grant me forgiveness.
Sexual orientation issues
Sexual orientation has always been a dividing issue among religious believers. Homosexuality is classified as a sin in the Bible, one of many sins we are taught to avoid. Some religious leaders believe we should be accepting of others regardless of sexual orientation because we believe God is love, and if we have the love of God in our hearts then we should love one another.
We should love our neighbor regardless of their sins because we know that we are also sinners. We are taught "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
The underlying assumption is we cannot decide as individuals to classify some sins as acceptable while other sins are an abomination. Divorce and adultery are classified as sins, but these have somehow become acceptable in our modern society, even within our churches. I know this is going to upset a lot of so-called Christians, but you don't get to pick and choose which sins are tolerable and which are not.
So do we, as Christians, actually follow the scriptures exactly as they are written? Definitely not. We would like to believe that we do, but the truth is our religious beliefs tend to adjust for changes in society. If we followed the scriptures exactly as written, we would be conducting daily executions for all manner of offenses. For example, Leviticus 20:10-13 tells us "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death" and goes on to say "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death, their blood will be on their own heads."
I do not believe we need to start having public executions for adultery or homosexuality, I think some Christians need to re-evaluate whether or not their hearts are filled with love for their fellow man.
I am a heterosexual white male, always have been, always will be. I didn't have a choice in life if I would be sexually attracted to women or men. I've always known that I wanted to be with women, get married to a woman, and live the typical heterosexual lifestyle. This is why I can categorically declare that homosexuality is not a choice.
You can't become a homosexual by spending time in prison, and you definitely can't pray away someone else's homosexuality by having them participate in a strict religious program. There is no amount of homosexual literature, debate, or pornographic materials that will ever convert me from women to men, so how can some religious leaders think the reverse is true?
Homosexuality has obviously been around since the beginning of recorded history, so I would encourage Christians to focus their energy on the Biblical principle of “love one another” rather than continuous failed attempts to legislate so-called morality in a select group of people.
There have been a variety of laws, both state and federal, attempting to prevent gay marriage. These laws have been found to be unconstitutional which, of course, triggers claims of secularization in our otherwise Christian nation.
Some have even declared that we changed the definition of marriage. Well, if we look in the Bible, marriage was defined as between a man and as many women necessary to keep him happy, assuming he can afford the large number of cattle, sheep and other dowry items necessary to purchase these women.
The Bible also tells us that divorce is unacceptable unless one of your wives has committed adultery. The Bible goes on to say divorced people cannot get remarried or they will be committing adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced person commits adultery.
Currently, we have no-fault divorces and divorced people getting remarried every day. If we are not going to pass a law saying that divorce is illegal because it's a sin, and if we do not pass a law stating that divorced people cannot get married, then we cannot pass a law declaring that homosexuals cannot get married.
Once again, we Christians do not get to pick and choose which sins are acceptable and which are not. Our Constitutional right to freedom of religion does not include the right to legislate morality according to our personal religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. Let me say that again: Freedom of religion is also freedom FROM religion.
Abortion and birth control
Let me begin this discussion by saying I believe life begins at conception regardless of the developmental progress or viability outside of the mother. I also believe that all women have the right to decide if birth control and abortion should be part of their personal lifestyle choices. Our Constitution guarantees these rights to all women regardless if you personally agree or not, based on your personal beliefs. My issue stems from those who try to legislate morality then turn to violence when society does not follow the same personal beliefs.
I don't care what you think the Bible says, there is no justification for bombing an abortion clinic or shooting a doctor who performs abortions. I suppose you could quote an Old Testament passage such as Leviticus 24:17-20 which says "If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death...If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he had done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured."
Jesus referenced this same passage in Matthew 5:21-45 when He said "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment...You have heard that it was said, Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous."
In other words, it's not up to us to decide who will receive God's judgment or how that judgment should be administered. We are to treat each other with love and kindness, anything less is unacceptable.
Abortion is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but the Ten Commandments are clear about "thou shall not kill." I believe abortion is a sin because it involves killing an unborn child. It doesn't take a deeply religious person to know that murder is morally wrong and cannot be justified in an advanced society. However, some forms of murder are somehow justified by Christians, including myself, because of the circumstances surrounding the act.
For example, I support the death penalty and the killing of anyone convicted of murder or other heinous activities. I support the use of our military to achieve security for our homeland, knowing that our capability and willingness to commit mass murder is undoubtedly the primary component of our military strength. I also support those states who have passed assisted suicide laws, allowing families to control end-of-life decisions when necessary.
In fact, I have several loved ones who listed me on their Living Will as being the decision maker for end-of-life decisions. This means I have the potential responsibility for deciding when to "pull the plug" and authorize the murder of my closest friends and family members.
As you can see, the term “murder” is a somewhat fluid concept in our modern society. Some activities we automatically label as murder, and other activities are selectively included or not included depending on your political and religious beliefs. If a woman becomes pregnant as a consequence of rape or incest, then I would find it difficult to classify abortion as murder in those circumstances. I do not, however, support the idea of abortion as an alternative to birth control.
Some Christians also believe that birth control is a sin, an attempt to override God’s plan for you to get pregnant, or something like that. Some also view birth control as an attempt to encourage promiscuity, pre-marital sex, and extra-marital sex, all of which are classified as sins. Any lawmaker, employer, or organization who attempts to limit or prevent a woman's access to an abortion or birth control is merely trying to legislate morality based on personal religious beliefs, which is unacceptable. Once again, freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. Period.
There are radicals within the Christian faith as well as Muslims. The folks who carry signs saying "God hates fags" might consider themselves to be the standard bearers for the Christian faith, but I can guarantee you the majority of Christians believe God is love and Jesus died on the cross for everyone's sins, not just heterosexuals.
Just as some Christians have a distorted view of their faith, some Muslims have a distorted view of their faith as well. These are the radicalized Muslims we always hear about on the news, usually associated with terrorism or other acts of violence.
I'm not trying to justify anybody's activities, I'm just saying most Christians are peaceful, loving people and most Muslims are peaceful, loving people. We're really not that different, if at all. Christians pray to the God of Abraham. Jews pray to the God of Abraham. Muslims pray to the God of Abraham. I'm no religious scholar, but it seems to me that we're all praying to the same God. Shouldn't that tell us something about our religious differences? Or lack of them?
Other nations view our foreign policy decisions as being driven by religious beliefs. We have created enemies because we occupy Muslim countries with soldiers and advisors while claiming to be a Christian nation, thereby creating a Holy War in regions already suffering from war for centuries.
Selective foreign policies of regime change and nation building only reinforce these perceptions. I've written a whole chapter on Foreign Policy so I won't cover it here. I'm only asking you to realize that other countries view us as being very religious and very Christian, while the rest of the world is predominantly Muslim.
Christianity by osmosis
I'm going to upset a lot of folks with this statement, but just because you go to church on a regular basis doesn't make you a Christian. You might have been raised by Christian parents who made sure you never missed Sunday School or church for any reason. You can show up every time the doors are open, occupy your same seat week after week, sing in the choir, or serve on a church committee, but that doesn't make you a Christian.
Attendance is not Christianity. There is no Christianity by osmosis. Good deeds or a spiritual life, in and of themselves, are not Christianity.
Christianity only comes when you recognize that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, pray to God to ask forgiveness for your sins, and pray that God will come into your heart and save you and make you a Christian. You have to pray and ask. If you have never prayed the sinner's prayer and asked God to come into your heart and save you, I would suggest you CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION.
I sleep well at night because I know, that I know, that I know I'm a Christian. Do you?