29 November, 2011
The Separation of Church and State Myth
I get blasted with this regularly, but much more so in recent weeks for my promoting Herman Cain for President, and my outspoken statements against our current President. Today, I literally had more than two dozen messages sent to me railing about how I was violating the "separation of Church and State" laws, with almost all of these messages hurling insults and profane statements about myself and my family. One has to wonder, do any of these people understand that they show their own ignorance of the Constitution and the Law of the Land? More so, do they comprehend that when they resort to insults and profanity, it just further proves they do not have an intelligent argument, so they resort to what they know. I'm convinced that people of low intelligence give that fact away by resorting to using profane language and insults because they cannot put together a sound defense of their position, so they try to bully their way through a conversation.
There is so much said about the separation of church and state in the times we live in. Even uninformed or clueless news anchors and talk show hosts will try to use this argument. However, there is absolutely nothing in the United States Constitution that uses this phrase, or anything remotely like it. What you will find is that the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Uninformed people, or those who know the truth but want to twist it in an attempt to sway the opinion of others... usually those who hate religion, often twist the meaning of the first Amendment. They pervert this amendment, and will use it to say that the church should stay completely out of politics. But with a simple reading and the understanding of that of a third grader it is clear that the Amendment says nothing that restricts religion or the church from involvement government. Rather, it's intended purpose is to restrict “Congress” not the church. It also frees those who believe in their religion to exercise their religion as they see fit. It means that all Americans are free to worship however, whomever, whatever and whenever we want... and it also frees those who choose not to worship. It says that the government will not infringe upon our rights to exercise our religious beliefs, or unbelief's. That's it. End of story.
One of our founding fathers of our country, James Madison, expressed his understanding of the Amendment with this statement: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” He makes it perfectly clear that the Amendment is simply forbidding a national religion, but he also cautions that the Amendment shall not abridge anyone of his civil rights because he holds to a particular religious belief. We see many trying to hinder the civil rights of those with religious convictions. They cry foul when someone with deep conviction speaks his mind politically. This is what all these people have been trying to do to me. I've had people here in the town where I live tell me that a minister cannot speak on anything politically. In fact, last year I had a couple with whom I had been friends with for 28 years become so enraged that I would not remain silent politically, that they ended our friendship and we have not spoken in more than a year. People have been deceived and do not understand the law of the land.
There is another reference about government and religion found in Article VI, Section 3: “[No] religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” What this means, quite simply, is that anyone, no matter what they believe, can be a government official. This means an atheist can... as can a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, or one who practices any other religion. So, what is implied is that even a minister can sit in a public office. But if you notice, the moment someone in the clergy runs for office, or even the clergy’s spouse, people declare it wrong and claim there is a separation of church and state. The fact of the matter is that it is unconstitutional to try to restrict the clergy (or any other Christian) from influencing government. Guess what? Clergy are citizens too! Everyone, regardless of race, sexual preference or religion has a right to be involved in government. In fact, many of the founders of this nation had theological degrees. Why is it that we do not mind lawyers running for office, but not ministers? Who do you trust more? How far has our country fallen when they think clergy cannot be public officials!?
In and effort to control the church, the IRS set guidelines for what the clergy can or cannot do in order to maintain the church’s tax exempt status. Basically a pastor can do anything, including telling people how to vote on specific issues, except using the pulpit during the religious service to endorse a “person” for office. Understand, a minister can endorse anyone, including through the media or public speaking... but it must be done outside the pulpit during a religious service. He can hold a meeting in the church, for the purpose of a political rally, but it cannot be a part of the regular worship service.
I have always attempted to follow these guidelines, even though I personally think the guidelines are unconstitutional. There is a major law firm which protects religious liberties that is hoping the IRS tries to revoke a church of its tax exempt status if it endorses candidates. They are at the wings waiting for such a case so it can be brought before the US Supreme Court because they are confident that the Court will side with the rights of pastors to say or endorse whoever they want at any time. However, the IRS has been reluctant to take on such a case thus far. It is my opinion that they would prefer to allow fear to rule the pulpits than to once and for all remove the fear when the Supreme Courts rules in favor of religious liberties.
Christians... Pastors... do not be afraid to speak up and speak out for the truth. Will there be ramifications if you do? Yes, it is possible. But do not cave in to fear. We are not called to be cowards but to be fearless. May we all be bold and speak the truth in love to a society and a government that have lost its way.The next time someone says to you, "Separation of Church and State", ask them to show that to you in the Constitution and then educate them as to what the Constitution does say.
We need God in America again today!