In our previous article, we discussed how America had made a Faustian Bargain with the state concerning religion, expressed in the cliché, “Separation of Church and State”. The unspoken terms of this bargain is that the government will tolerate all religion so long as it is confined to religious activities conducted within prescribed religious settings and involving only those people amicable to the religious beliefs being expressed. In return, government agrees not to establish by law any official religious group or levy taxes for its support. This arrangement is unworkable for a number of reasons, chiefly because it makes religion dependent on retaining the good will of the government.
Contrary to popular belief, religion cannot be isolated from government. They are inseparably linked together through the culture. The best we can do is to make the institution of religion independent of the legislative and therefore coercive powers of government. That is what the Founders attempted to do with the First Amendment.
Every nation on earth throughout history, has had a predominant religion; paganism, Mohammedism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Biblical Christianity, Humanism or Secular Humanism. Invariably these religions shape the culture of their respective nations and ultimately determine the laws and policies of government. (“By their fruits shall ye know them”). This is a self-evident truth that can easily be discovered by simply observing the underlying connections between government, culture and religion in any nation on earth today or any that have existed in the past.
Prior to the mid-twentieth century Protestant Christianity was the dominant religion in America. (For the sake of brevity, I include independent Christian Churches within Protestant Christianity.) Its influence could be seen in the laws and policies of communities throughout the nation during that time; Sunday closing laws, the prohibition of liquor sales before noon on Sunday, anti-prostitution laws, anti-gambling laws, divorce laws, and anti-abortion laws, just to name a few. With the rise of socialism during the past century, Christianity has gradually lost its influence on government to be replaced with Humanism, the oldest form of religion, dating back to the Garden of Eden. The primary feature of Humanism is the elevation of man and rebellion against the laws of God. Throughout Biblically recorded history, its practice always brought about the judgment of God; Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the Flood, confusion of language and dispersion throughout the world from the Tower of Babel, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are some well-known examples.
In spite of the prohibition against an established religion in America in the Bill of Rights and the Faustian Bargain between “Church and State” already mentioned, America has made Humanism the de facto established religion of the nation. Billions of tax dollars are spent each year to further its doctrines and thousands of laws and bureaucratic rules are implemented to enforce its belief system. The Humanist doctrine of evolution is mandated to be taught in our public schools and the Christian doctrine of creation is forbidden by law. Radical environmentalism, evolution, radical feminism, multi-culturalism, open borders, world government, sodomite marriage, bi-lingual education, etc., are all Humanist doctrines promoted under the umbrella doctrines of pseudo-science and social justice.
Those among us who insist that America is a secular nation are advocating Secular Humanism, the ultimate form of Humanism, wittingly or unwittingly. Using history as our guide, we can see that secular Humanism inevitably leads to totalitarian Socialism and eventually to Communism. We only have to look at the history of the twentieth century to prove this truth. Consider the history of Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. When one occurs, something else always rushes in to fill the void. Government cannot exist unless it is compatible with its culture, and culture cannot exist without an underlying belief system or religion. Since the desire to worship a supreme being is inherent in human nature, when a religion loses its influence in the culture, it creates a vacuum that must be filled with another one. In America that void is being filled with Humanism.
The modern understanding of the purpose of the First Amendment and the popular interpretation of the doctrine of church and state leaves Christianity defenseless in human terms. Government can use the coercive powers of government to promote Humanism. The Church has no coercive powers. It must rely on the persuasive powers of the written and spoken word to accomplish its ends. That is why the role of Pastors and Teachers in the Churches are so important. While I do not agree with many of the doctrines preached by Charles Finney during the Second Great Awakening, his words do ring true today.
“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
~ Charles G. Finney
Churches must get outside their cloistered walls and bear testimony to the world at large if we are to have any effect on the creeping destruction of our nation. Although “we are in the world but not of the world” we have the responsibility of being good citizens of the world while we are here. That involves carrying out the great commission in its totality, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19, 20 (emphasis added)[Beginning first at Jerusalem]