How do you suppose the courts would view a letter from a teacher to her students ending with the wording, “I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man”? A little awkward for 21st Century English, but this is how Thomas Jefferson ended a letter that he wrote in January of 1802. Was Jefferson acting in violation of the U.S. Constitution by penning such a letter from the Oval Office?
Noting the American jurisprudence of the past fifty years, I think it would be a safe bet that a public school teacher writing such words in her official capacity would receive a stern ruler on the back of the hand. After all, there is “a wall of separation between church and state.” The challenge that the courts would have to overcome in this case, however, is that the recognition of a “common Father and Creator of man” is the closing that President Jefferson used to conclude the very letter that originated the famous phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state.”
The ACLU has skillfully yet gracelessly elevated that phrase to the level of constitutional deposition. It seems inconsistent to me that the courts would find one portion of a presidential letter to provide the basis of legal precedence and refute the subsequent paragraph. But so goes the mission-creep of the State.
The Bible instructs citizens to be decidedly obedient to their government. Romans 13 includes, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” 1st Peter 2 adds, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God ...”
So, Pastors -- given these instructions, is there an appropriate limit to the role of government in the eyes of God? Dr. Del Tackett, in his renowned video series The Truth Project, describes civil life as existing in six, sovereign spheres; the Family, Labor, the State, the Church, the Community, and Gods relationship with Man. And, while there are natural interactions and healthy influences, none of these spheres is designed to have control over the others.
But, Pastors -- one of these spheres is indeed growing beyond its intended station, and one of its targets for subjugation is your church. If the aggressive sphere were the Family, you may find it an annoyance. But, of course, I am warning about the State, which has begun to move at will against the other spheres with the force of law, which it exclusively owns. Your church is in a disadvantaged competition against what Jewish commentator Dennis Prager recently called, “the world’s most dynamic religion,” that being left-wing political philosophy.
In one of its most successful assaults on the Family sphere, the State has seized the role of providing for the health care of the Family’s members. At the same time, the State is moving to redefine what it means to be a family.
These two tactics are also being used in the State’s assault on the Church. Using new health care laws, religious institutions are being forced to provide contraceptive and abortion benefits in conflict with their beliefs. Religious agencies that for decades assisted in placing orphaned children with adoptive families are now being forced to do so in conflict with their religious views on same-sex parenting. Will it be long before your church is required to perform marriages for same-sex couples?
The first displacement of the Church by the State seems to have been the practice of charity. I have heard pastors on several occasions over the years delighting in the growth of government as a proper vehicle for caring for the poor. Today, in conflict with 2 Corinthians 9:7, the high level of compulsory taxation for government charity has left much less for the cheerful giver to tithe on Sunday mornings.
Jesus said to give to the government (Caesar) that which belongs to the government. But, likewise he instructed us to give to God the things that belong to God. And when the people told Samuel that they wanted a human king to rule over them, God explained that this act of the people voting for their State sphere to rule over their Community sphere was an unwise rejection of Him. Those of you in the Clergy have always held these truths in the book in your hands, and perhaps a bit too tightly.
Most pastors initially avoided addressing these topics out of fear of jeopardizing a tax-exempt status. Then, pastors shied away from political controversy out of fear of offending some members. At this point in America’s rapidly evolving history, the State moves against the Church as if it is unchecked by any objections of critical mass.
I write these words in the hope that they find their way to some influential pastors who have avoided this area of responsibility in their teachings. I have come to realize and appreciate the critical role that you hold in educating voters about truthful and healthy world views. I work in the political realm as a writer and a volunteer. And I see an enormous vacuum of understanding and wisdom among the citizens when it comes to God’s design for humans to govern themselves.
Most people seem to lack the basic proficiencies in the lessons of human history. And those whose Church is the State are taking full advantage of their ignorance. Frankly, it seems evident that most of America’s pastors have not been doing their job in this area.
With the rejection of traditional history in education, America desperately needs your help. I urge you to find sound resources and to act boldly. I offer the example of Father Andrew Kemberling, a Catholic priest in the Denver, Colorado area. See his assertive and balanced address to the Republican State Assembly earlier this year: http://youtu.be/6HLZPbQIK-c
A State that has been granted too much power is a State that demands our fear, rather than the mere honor of government that is called for by God’s design. Perhaps you can begin with teaching this perspective: “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:16-17)