You can never go very far without running into someone who thinks Christianity must be denied any role in public life because of “separation of church and state”—as if the church carried some contagion from which the state must be protected.
In the now-famous example of the high-school kid who was suspended for saying “Bless you” after someone sneezed, a reader told me that the teacher “was only acting wisely to preserve the separation of church and state.” There are several big things wrong with that remark.
The words “separation of church and state” are not in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. If you don’t believe me, I don’t mind waiting while you look it up. There is no law mandating any “separation” between church and state; and anyone who says there is, is ignorant.
The First Amendment, rather than quarantining the public sector from the malefic influence of the gospel, says two things about religion. Congress, the United States Congress, “shall make no law” establishing a state church at the expense of other churches. (At the time, some states did recognize a particular denomination as its state church.) Secondly, Congress “shall make no law” to restrict anyone’s “free exercise of religion.”
Those two clauses are all the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, has to say about religion.
Most of you probably know that. It’s basic civics. But it’s been a long, long time since that was taught in public schools, and there’s a lot of ignorance out there—purposely instilled in the American mind by persons hostile to the Christian faith.
The phrase “separation of church and state,” or “wall of separation,” comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, to reassured them that the federal government would not disadvantage them in favor of some other Christian sect. Jefferson himself had some peculiar religious notions. But one thing we can be sure that Jefferson did not believe is that the public sector must be thoroughly sealed off from Christianity.
He wasn’t trying to abolish public prayer, nativity scenes, or saying “Bless you” to a sneezer. He was only trying to ensure that the federal government would not take it upon itself to lord it over people’s consciences.
Which, course, is exactly what we’ve wound up with, the very thing the First Amendment was enacted to prevent—the heavy-handed imposition of a state religion: in this case, the atheistic worship of the secular state.
And so our public schools are rabidly anti-Christian. Under color of a law that does not, in fact, exist, the teacher feels free to dictate that there shall be “no godly language” in her classroom. Under this non-existent “law” of separation, agencies of government ban prayer, Bible reading, Christmas parades, and any other free exercise of religion they can get their hands on. With anti-Christianity functioning as if it really were a law, government forces Christians to cater homosexual “weddings,” pay for abortions, and pay “teachers” to teach their children that Christianity is wrong. The public schools, which are the Sunday schools and churches of anti-Christianity, teach children about “gender choices” and urge them to experiment with aberrant and sinful forms of sexuality. If that is “part of who you are,” the school demands that it be “celebrated.” But if Christian faith is “part of who you are,” you’d better just shut up about it.
How many times have you heard an atheist complain that “you Christians are trying to force your ideas on everybody else”? That’s projection. It isn’t Christians who are doing that, but anti-Christians. These are the people, not Christians, who routinely succeed in forcing their ideas on everybody else, backed up by the coercive power of an aggressively secular state.
How many children, and even teachers, have been harshly “disciplined” by public schools and universities for failing to keep their religious beliefs rigorously private? Some of those “educators,” if you showed them a crucifix, would foam at the mouth and turn into bats. Maybe we ought to replace George Washington’s picture on the dollar bill with Dracula’s.
Why is a country populated by a Christian majority ruled over by an anti-Christian minority?
Because, to a “progressive,” religion is an obstacle to the establishment of the state as god—all-powerful, all-wise, supreme in its authority. The Bible denies such power to the state, and denies it to the state’s apparatchiks. So the Bible must go.
If there ever was a time for a massive, nation-wide “pray-in,” this is it.
Quite simply, things will not begin to get better for us until we turn whole-heartedly back to God. There is no other way for that to happen.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.