Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What is the Role of Religion in America?

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State…." This is a quote, taken from Thomas Jefferson, that many today use to strike down Christianity. They say that this quote proves that our Founding Fathers did not want God in American government.

It’s true that our country’s founders did not want church-run government, the kind of government they left behind in Europe. They knew the atrocities that had been committed in the name of “God’s Will” and did not want that type of rule in America. At the same time, “Separation of Church and State” has been taken to far and has interfered with our First Amendment right that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This amendment prevents the government from establishing a church, but it also gives Americans the right to exercise their religion.

Thomas Jefferson was right when he proposed this language for the Virginia constitution, “All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution.” No person should be required or forced to believe in, or not believe in any certain religion or be restricted from practicing their faith. Neither the First Amendment nor the words of Thomas Jefferson allow our government to stop public prayer or prevent politicians from practicing their faith publicly. They don’t give individuals, or groups (such as the ACLU), the right to sue the government for showing the Ten Commandments or sue others for praying where they can hear. If that was the case then I could sue anyone for playing their music a little too loudly or for saying they don’t believe in Christ or God.

The Treaty of Tripoli has language in it that some use to further support separation of Church and State. The 12th Article reads as follows, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen [Muslims]…” Many take the first portion, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” and omit the rest to support the infringement of our first amendment right to practice our faith freely. To fully understand the meaning of this part of the treaty you have to look at a couple of things.

The first is to just include all of the text, not just bits and pieces. If you read that first part and then include the rest it explains what it means. The treaty does not simply say that the United States is not a Christian nation, what it says is that it is not a Christian nation like European nations were. So called “Christian” European nations were always at war with Muslims over their religion (hence the Crusades) and the United States wanted to make sure that the Barbary States understood that they would not follow in Europe’s footsteps.

Second, you have to look at the position the United States was in when this treaty was written and signed. The Barbary States knew Christian nations to be warlike nations. To them a Christian nation was a threat, an enemy. The United States had just become an independent country and had few resources due to war (Revolutionary War). The United States had no navy and our trading ships were being attacked by the Barbary States. With our resources limited and no navy, the United States had no choice but to enter into a treaty with the Barbary States (who considered the United States an enemy at the time).

’s president at that time was President John Adams. President Adams was America’s 2nd president and the president that signed this treaty and sent it to the Senate to be ratified. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other," those were President Adams’ words just two years after signing the treaty. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, Adams wrote, “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite. ... And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were united." It is obviously clear that Adams was a Christian and that he believed, and knew, that the Constitution was made for Christians and “religious people.”

Regarding the Treaty of Tripoli and taking those points into consideration, it’s fair to say that the treaty does not mean America is not a Christian nation, but that it means that America will not follow Europe’s example and fight more religious wars or persecute those for their faith. Also, judging from Adams’ words after the treaty it is evident he, and many others, knew that the United States was founded on Christian principles.

Many secularists argue that the Declaration of Independence is not law and because of that it’s not relevant that it includes “Our Creator.” They also argue the fact that the word “God” is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution is proof enough that the founders had no desire for God to be part of American government and that their (secularists) view of separation of Church and State is right. This, like so many other things they believe in, is not true. Although the word God does not appear in the Constitution, a reference to our Lord does. In Article VII, of the United States Constitution, there are these words, “…Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven…”

First, let’s just make clear that the U.S. Constitution was done by the “Unanimous Consent of the States present…” So now that we know that it was unanimous lets look at the reference to “our Lord.” Now who is this Lord that they are referring to? Is it just a word they through in to make it sound better? No. Is it just the date? No, they could have done that without referring to our Lord. Then who is this Lord and Creator they are speaking of? John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Charles Carroll, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Johnston, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, James McHenry and many, many more Founding Fathers and early country leaders have made it very clear. From public speeches to military addresses to private letters to congressional debating they make it very clear. This Lord they were referring to is Jesus Christ, and the Creator, God.

Did the Founding Fathers want a separation of church and state? I believe the answer is in the First Amendment. That amendment, though very short, explains the Founders’ intent concerning religion and government. There should not be a government-run church or church-run government. The people of the United States have the right to practice their faith, or lack of faith, freely and should not be discriminated against for their choice of faith. They should not be forced to believe in something or restricted from practicing their faith.

What about God and government? Our country’s founders have made it very clear. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the words spoken and written by these very men, it’s easy to see that they intended for a country founded on God. For a country with the most solid foundation available. They knew that there were no better principles than those of Christ. This is clear in their own words, such as,
“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God,” by John Adams. Or, “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus,” and “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus,” by Thomas Jefferson.

Separation of Church and State has been taken too far. America needs to go back to our founding documents and reexamine our country. God was intended to be part of America and should continue to be our foundation.


Anonymous said...

i take the view that the founding fathers didn't mind a little church
in gov't...what they didn't want was a little gov't in church...


Deirdre said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yankee Doodle said...

Well, I believe there's the phrase "separation between church and state" right next to the abortion clause. That's what I learned at public school.

Fonso_2006 said...

Of course you would in public schools. They are liberal indoctrination centers now.

mud_rake said...

"Of course you would in public schools. They are liberal indoctrination centers now."

Conspiracy theory sponge.

snodly said...

Truth is not a conspiracy. Nor is a "theory" necessarily the truth.