Friday, December 03, 2004

Separation Anxiety

In the national (if not global) post-election counseling session to relieve the Post-Election Stress Trauma there is a lot of hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing, and blubbering going on. Many people are whimpering in abject depression and pathetic ire about “Biblical Morals.” The saddest part is that most don’t have a clue what a “biblical moral” is, so they make weird and obtuse statements about them. What may be sadder still is that the analyses are showing religion really didn’t play that great a role in this election. Values, yes, but religious values, no. Are values “more important than the deficit, healthcare, our schools, and even the war”? It’s a simple-minded question. The answer is, of course! Without a solid foundation a house will not stand, and values are the foundation of any civilization. It is our values that are the underpinnings of all social issues. What this election tells me is that Americans are rousing and speaking out against the dissolution of the moral fabric of their country. If you’re feeling left out or passed over, then perhaps you should examine your philosophies. Ours is a country that is at high risk of losing it’s way.

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” It does not say, as so many wish it did, that there is a “separation of church and state.” In point of fact, there is no instance of “the separation of church and state” in any ‘founding’ document whatsoever and exists solely as the result of moral relativists and activist judges. The phrase “separation of church and state” comes from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote. Thomas Jefferson, for those who don’t know, is credited with writing the Declaration of Independence and was the third President of the United States. On January 1, 1802, he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut who were worried by rumors that the Congregationalist denomination was to become the national religion. Jefferson was assuring them that the First Amendment would defend the church from the state, so as to avoid another Church of England. Not one of the Founders failed to recognize the value of religion. The wording of the Amendment was carefully crafted so as to prevent the state from corrupting the church and leave it free to promote Biblical values.

In January 1844 the Supreme Court heard Vidal v. Girard's Executors. The case involved a school to be built without ecclesiastic involvement. The argument revolved around whether or not a layman could teach. The Supreme Court held that the church could be excluded, but that, "...there is an obligation to teach what the Bible alone can teach, viz. a pure system of morality." In June 1961 the Supreme Court heard Torcaso v. Watkins which focused attention on religious tolerance. The Court noted that, "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others." In October 1961 the Supreme Court heard Engel v. Vitale. At issue was this prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country." It was argued that the First Amendment prohibited public schools from engaging students in prayer, even when non-denominational. This was the landmark case which removed prayer from schools on the grounds that the Constitution prohibits any law respecting an establishment of religion.

Religion is a funny thing. There are many people in the country today who hold to alternative faiths: wiccans, new agers, pagans, just to name a few, even atheists. I include atheists because, despite what they’d like you to believe, atheism is probably the most fanatical fundamentalist religion of them all. At it’s simplest, Faith is belief without proof and the atheist must accept on faith that there is no God. The beauty of the system in the United States is that atheists are free to be atheists here. The weakness of our system is that atheists, and others, have been able to turn that freedom around and use it as a bludgeon against the predominant religion in this country and anything related to it.

The Boy Scouts of America have an oath to “affirm a duty to God” and be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” They are not the Knights Templar or some other order of the Church. They are kids, boys, who work long hours to be the best that they can be, to be good citizens and supporters of their communities. A brother of mine was a Boy Scout and he was far from an altar boy. Being a good, civic-minded group isn’t enough these days. In Portland, Oregon, Nancy Powell (self-avowed atheist) has waged a 7-year legal fight against the Boy Scouts alleged the Scouts discriminated against her son. She is leading the charge against the school board to ban Scout literature (i.e. recruiting leaflets) from schools. By her side is ACLU legislative director, Andrea Meyer. In late November 2004, the Department of Defense caved to an ACLU suit charging the DOD with violating the “separation of church and state” specifically naming the Scouts as a religious group using Army bases (government property) for Jamborees and getting mentorship from military personnel.

Have you ever heard any court cases involving the display of a menorah or a Star of David? How about teachers protesting a classroom unit on Kwanza? It has become “de rigeur” for the lead-up to Christmas to see town after town be brow-beaten into removing Nativity scenes and crosses. This year Denver, Colorado has set a new low taking the 30-year-old traditional Parade of Lights and redefining it as an “international procession”. According to Michael Krikorian, a spokesman for Denver, the parade would not include “Merry Christmas” signs or traditional Christmas hymns. His explanation: “We want to avoid that specific religious message out of respect for other religions in the region.” It seems ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem “could be construed as disrespectful to other people who enjoy a parade each year.” To celebrate ethnic diversity the ‘Parade of (non-Christian) Lights’ will feature; German folk dance, a Chinese New Year Lion Dance (a ceremonial dance to bring good luck and dispel evil spirits), and the Two Spirit Society (a group dedicated to holy American Indians who also happen to be gay or lesbian). The Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada has been barred from the parade as it’s float would have “direct religious themes”.

The ACLU, atheists, the radical homosexual movement, and the proponents of moral relativism (such as people that see no difference between the US and the regime of Saddam Hussein) have waged a moral war. The battlefield is the United States Constitution. Victory will be an America where satanists are revered and pastors are reviled. It is already happening and this election was a clarion call. The American people are rousing and beginning to take back the country. “No law respecting an establishment of religion” does not mean there shall be no religion, does not mean that the state is anti-religion, as the ACLU would have us believe. Ask yourself, why does every state congress open with a prayer? Why were the ten commandments engraved in the Supreme Court? Why did the Founders, to a man, write that a government without religion would fail and be corrupt?

America is a profoundly religious country - even those of us who are not religious by nature. Our revolution was founded on the religious precept that “all men are created equal and endowed by God with inalienable rights”. The English had a revolution before ours which secured the aristocracy. The French followed our lead but their revolution was soulless, became a bloodbath, and failed. The Russians, the Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, one after another, each revolution founded on the primacy of man and floundered from a lack of God. God is intrinsic to freedom because God holds the ultimate accountability. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. The Boy Scouts know this. The Church teaches this. When we walk away from our values (be they Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, whatever) we surrender our freedom. Perhaps not immediately; Jefferson wrote his “separation of church and state” letter in 1802 and it has taken us 202 years to get to here. Where will we be in another 200 years continuing down this road?

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