The Misappropriation of Christ

religiousfreedomstampI believe in God but I don’t want God all up in my government.

At first read, you’d think I was a backsliding sinner with nary a clue of what it means to be a moral person or Christian.  You’d think that without the emphasis on and the unswerving spiritual direction that God provides would doom an administration down a path of destruction, hate, evil and sin.  If you thought that, you’d be mistaken.  That’s because I believe God is already present and a factor in government as long as men behave compassionately towards their fellow man; a subtle, guiding hand lending itself to decisions based on decency and responsibility.    However, too much is definitely not a good thing. 

More lives have been lost, properties burned and people persecuted in the name of God than a little bit and there’s only one reason for that: Man!  Mankind has a pesky habit of manipulating all religion to his own petty and personally rewarding agenda.  That’s why I believe the Supreme Being has no place in any government other the place he occupies in a secular leader’s heart.

Collective in nature and on everyone’s side, taking God away from that ethereal environment and putting him out and up front, a supposedly deciding factor in all of an administration’s endeavors along with their earthy ambitions and desires, makes God partisan.  And once God becomes biased, it’s not long after that he’s used as a weapon; a coercive factor to sway votes and manipulate policy or protocol.  The forefathers understood the danger of such misuse.

They knew that religious prejudice ultimately drove persecution; in fact, many had immigrated to America to get away from such hostility. And now centuries later, we’re on the precipice of becoming exactly the type of government early Americans fled in terror.  Trump’s nod to the country’s evangelicals at the Nations Prayer Meeting by intimating he’d roll back the “Johnson Amendment” was a decisive and dangerous s step towards a religion-based government; something many conservatives seek.  It figures especially since they’re already taking the first steps of isolating and disenfranchising specific groups of citizens or nations.  What better way to justify and equivocate such actions than by stating that it’s the will or the work of God.  Besides, we’ve seen that already in our nation’s abortion debate.

“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 & State.

Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in an 1802 letter

A government has no business trying to decide whether to be “pro-life” or “pro-choice”.  Being pro-life, aside from being a moral stance, it’s also a religious, faith-based one.  A secular government should only seek to be “pro-woman” and institute programs that benefit all women regardless of their religious convictions.  Doing anything other than that jeopardizes the precarious separation that exists, or should exist, between church and state.  Worse even, it denies the secular woman her right to choose a remedy without having religion involved.

It occurs to me that today we’re looking at it from the wrong end of the equation.  Jefferson and others sought to put emphasis on protecting the average citizen feeling correctly that organized religion coupled with the state was strong enough to take care of itself and that it was the citizen who could be in jeopardy left alone against it.  On the other hand, today our emphasis is on the protection of the religious status quo at the expense of the ordinary citizen.  And in a world that produces radical forms of religious expression, we’re oblivious to the fact that slowly but surely we’re becoming just like those governments we sanction.

Question: Have we cast aside our policy of a separation between church and state?  Can we still be a faith-based nation with it?  I’m both pro-choice and pro-life and will defend a pro-choice agenda for the state and a pro-life agenda personally.  Can we do and have both and maintain our convictions?  I say yes!  What do you say?

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Filed under Opinion, Politics and Government, Religion

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