Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Greater Wall

In my considered opinion, there is one monument in human history--one singular edifice--that outstrips all others. It is greater than the pyramids, or the now crumbled six other wonders of the ancient world.  It is a wall greater than that of China, or that lesser cousin that attempts to run the length of America's southern border.

However, despite its strength, there are those who continue to assault it.  There are those who wish to tear it apart, brick by brick, until it lies in a ruin much more final than that of Berlin.

That wall is the Separation of Church and State.  And when considered carefully, it can be seen for what it is: the only serious protection you have against me, and that I have against you.  "Why?" you ask.  Because without it, any slim majority can tell you who you are, when no one has the right to dictate that to any of us. 

But this wall is not made of hands, much like that described in Mark 14, but instead is composed of words and ideas.  Fortunately, you cannot kill an idea, but there are still many who wish to erase the words.  The words framed in First Amendment, and the 11th Article of the Treaty of Tripoli, and the incorporating properties of the Fourteenth Amendment--they being the bricks and mortar that forbid the government of the United States of America from establishing any religion, or from showing favor to any therein.

If you follow the news, you'll know immediately that there is an assault on this wall nearly every day.  What is shameful is that it almost always comes from people who refer to themselves as Christians.  It is ironic, as they have either never read their own history or elect to ignore it.  Had they checked, they would have seen the Pandora's Box waiting for them.

I could go on about this forever.  Of most issues I get irritated about, the cominglement of church and state is probably at or near the top.  It wishes to deny us basic human rights and clothe it in the name of righteousness.  However, I realize there are always those on the conservative side of this argument who think that Jesus somehow wants them to legislate morality and vote their way into establishing a Christian state on earth.  Aside from the fact that no two Christians could probably give an identical description of what a Christian state would be, it is ultimately redundant to try as humanity has already lived through this and has spent the better part of 1500 years trying to undo the damage.

All that aside, I realize that for many my reasons for avoiding a Christian state are not serious consideration.  As far as they may be concerned, we've always been a Christian is merely those "activist judges" and socialists who have robbed it from them.  Many feel that George Washington and Jesus wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights together after a rousing Southern Baptist Church service.  Thomas Jefferson didn't really rewrite the Bible to exclude the miracles and he wasn't really opposed to a Christian state.  They all know that the founders were really all Christians...not an amalgam of Christians, Deists, and Atheists.  And if the Texas School Board has their way we'll have a generation of Texans who believe just that.

And why do they think these things?  Because they've been, to be blunt, lied to.

They'll believe that Thomas Paine must have been a good Christian since Glenn Beck wrote a book in his honor, which our dear Harlequin has actually had the stomach to read.  They'll never actually read Paine's Common Sense, and they'll never actually read his Age of Reason, in which he systematically tries to disprove Christianity (both which I have read, not surprisingly). 

They won't believe that Paine said: "The story of the redemption will not stand examination. That man should redeem himself from the sin of eating an apple by committing a murder on Jesus Christ, is the strangest system of religion ever set up."  Or: "The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing and admits of no conclusion."  And most notably not: "Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."

And it doesn't stop with more historical figures...apparently anyone the conservative party needs to invoke to pay the intellectual capital for their ideology must also be a Christian.  You know, such as the most favorite cited pro-capitalist of all American writers...Ayn Rand.

Thus it is this same lack of self-examination or historical introspection that leads those same individuals today to listen and nod when talking heads at Fox News discuss Ayn Rand in glowing terms (either The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged).  They mention that sales during periods of liberalism skyrocket (I can personally vouch for this).  They hold their highlighted copies with broken bindings aloft and tell us about why taxation is wrong (yes, I've watched Glenn Beck and yes he does this), but they never tell us how badly Ayn Rand hated Christianity, or why there's nothing Christian whatsoever about Objectivism--her own personal ideology of social-Darwinism that she wove into the fabric of her tomes. 

They don't quote Rand when she says: "And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word, ‘I’”.  Or: "I have come here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life, it had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self sacrifice."

But I digress...except that I continue to be amazed at how frequently those on the right paint America as a Christian nation, and yet are disproved by every single source they cite, from the founding documents, to the founder's personal notes and letters about their beliefs, to the greatest sources of their own intellectual reasons for the creation of our nation (Paine) to the defense of their preferred method of economics (Rand).  Even Jesus, when not muffled by his own followers, reminds us to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." (Mark 12:17)

At long last I have finally encountered a serious, conservative, evangelical Christian's reasons for maintaining the Wall of Separation.  I word it this way because I am rarely considered a serious Christian, nor am I conservative (religiously), and in my old age I'm decidedly not evangelical.  So it is nice to read a thoughtful article written by no less than a pastor (Jimi Jobin) who graduated from Liberty University (of all places), one of the most fundamentalist and anti-separationist organizations in the United States.

I quote it here in full for both your information and entertainment.  You should know that his article is a response to the actions of Rev. H. Wayne Williams who has defied the IRS Law denying churches the ability to publicly support political candidates.  Williams has chosen to endorse Gordon Howie for Governor of South Dakota from the pulpit. Howie has asked for pastoral support and in return has promised to assist those pastors in taking their inevitable IRS trials to the Supreme Court in an effort to end separation of church and state in America.  To make it clearer, he was approached by the Alliance Defense Fund (an organization I categorically despise almost as much as the the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family) to make such a move in order to create a situation whereby they could take the case to the Supreme Court with the hopes of overturning the Constitutionality of the Separation of Church and State.

Pastor Jimi Jobin's article:

Pastor, I recognize your frustration, and I see how things have come to this. For years America has only shrugged at religion, and recently Christianity has been caught in a violent tug of war between Republicans and Democrats. We feel, as leaders, entitled to make political endorsements. Why shouldn’t we—particularly in a democracy where endorsements translate directly to power—take up our biblically-informed opinion, get behind a pulpit, and urge our people to support a candidate? Why shouldn’t we support the rulers we stand to benefit the most from, and give them a divine leg up?

For the historically minded among us, the reasons for not bringing our spiritual authority into political campaigns are blood red. For nearly 2,000 years our faith forefathers were persecuted and oppressed; not always by the irreligious, but more often by competing tribes within Christianity. Clerics would jockey for favor in the kingdoms of men, then use any clout gained to suppress the views of their theological enemies.

Over and again we stamped out those who did not fit into our au courant idea of orthodoxy and we entrenched ourselves into division, using the steel of our ruler’s swords to proclaim our theological certainty. Christians have killed and tortured more of their own than any other group in history, and this was possible solely because of the unholy union of church and state. Pastors gave rulers their blessing, and rulers returned the favor by silencing the pastor’s critics, a fantastic deal for the pastor who courts the powers, but a dangerous and painful reality for those who do not.

There isn’t a Christian denomination in existence that has not been slaughtered by its theological opponents. The Pope used his political power in Spain to launch the Inquisition. Bloody Mary earned her moniker by burning 300 dissenters of Roman Catholicism at the stake. The Calvinists and Lutherans used their influence over the German princes to commit near genocide of Catholics all over Europe during the 30 Years War. Catholics in the third Crusade almost exterminated the Orthodox church in Constantinople. Anabaptists have been drowned, burned, and exiled under each of the other major sects.

For almost 1500 years, Christians wielded political power to slay one another; until the founding of America. America was the first country without a designated faith, here was the only place in the world where Catholics and Protestants, Radical Reformationists and Orthodox (not to mention Jews, Muslims, non-believers and others) could live as neighbors. An accomplishment not won by better theology nor a love of peace, but because each lacked the ability to oppress one another by controlling the government.

We have created a land where church and state are separated to protect them from one another, not to diminish the role of either. The integrity of the church is jeopardized when politicians can appeal to spiritual leaders and gain their endorsement because the opportunities for abuse and ambition are too rampant. The same quid pro quo corruption that taints those tempted by lobbyists will await pastors when their support can yield inexhaustible American power. This is why America has passed laws to preserve the dignity and purity of the pastoral office, exchanging tax exemption (a unique phenomenon in the world) with the trust that the nation’s charitable goodwill can't be used as a political force.

Christianity has flourished in America, due in large to the inability of any one religious sect to silence the others by electing one of their own. Consider how different things would be if all along pastors had the ability to endorse candidates, if the elected then changed the social landscape to keep the favor of the pastors—like Mr. Howie is promising to do today. What if JFK had been endorsed by the Pope, what might he have done to protestants? What if Billy Graham had used his crusades to call for the reelection of his close friend, Richard Nixon?

Pastors needn’t remain neutral when it comes to social change. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. championed civil rights, Rev. Charles Finney fought to abolish slavery, and many more contributed to all the progressive reforms of the 19th century, from Women’s Suffrage to Child Labor Laws. But we stir change by stinging the national conscience, by being a prophetic witness for biblical values and obedience to Christ from the pulpit, not by taking the dangerous short cut of merely electing somebody to make a sweeping change in our favor.

Pastors are here to bring the optimism of a better world, a Kingdom of God where it can be on Earth as it is in Heaven. We aren’t here to arbitrate the national discussion, or to be some sort of referee who awards polling points to one side while punishing the other using our immense spiritual clout. Are we willing to compromise our ability to provide hope for the chance to pronounce judgment? Will we use the cross as Caesar did, to dominate political foes, or as Jesus did, to liberate the unseen?

It desecrates our pulpit to yield it to politics. We are called to something higher than to meddle in the affairs of ambitious men. We are not so Holy that we can merely baptize a candidate, and never drink the poison of his words. We do not stump for senators, we do not campaign for congressman, we do not preach for presidents, because the name of Christ is too precious to risk on a common election, no matter how important the issues at stake may seem. We cannot allow Jesus to become a political puppet, a sock on the arm of the statesman. Our role is to translate the values of scripture into the hearts and minds of every American, not to rule those Americans or force our values on them by manipulating the vote. The humble witness of Jesus is weakened when it is communicated through the edicts of rulers rather than the powerful persuasion of changed lives, hearts, and minds. The Kingdom of God cannot be voted into existence.

Pastor H. Wayne Williams, I beg you to take your opinion to the poll and not the pulpit. Encourage your church to lobby their convictions, but don’t let a lobbyist lead your church. Your vote belongs to a candidate, but your pulpit belongs to Christ, so “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give unto God what is God’s.”
I have one word Pastor Jobin.  Amen.


Diakonou Euangellion said...


I could respond now, but ironically enough and completely unassociated with your article, I am working on an article covering the same issue from what you MIGHT call an opposing view. I do intend on proposing a more informed conservative view that will share the ideas of some of the conservative extremists as you suggest and with Pastor Jimi Jobin who you quote here.

I look forward to completing my research but may be delayed due to the coming arrival of my first born. I can imagine I won't have as much time as I would like when he comes. But I do look forward to getting into the debate.

Aiden Tharsos said...

Diakonou, what is the due date?

As to the article, I do look forward to it. Particularly, to a anti-separationist Christian rebuttal to the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment (which forbids the federal government from establishing a religion), 14th Amendment (which causes the various states to be subject to the 1st Amendment), 11th Article of the Treaty of Tripoli (which states that the United States is in no way a Christian nation, and as a treaty approved by the Senate has binding authority at the level of the Constitution), and the Johnson Amendment (which prohibits any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization such as a church from making political endorsements).

I really hope that your argument will have something to say about these points, or perhaps a conservative rebuttal about how the largely evangelical community is attempting to hijack American history and remake it in a Christian image.

Harlequin Heretic said...

Few topics are more provoking, I cant wait.

Harlequin Heretic said...

“Conquest and tyranny, at some early period, dispossessed man of his rights, and he is now recovering them.”-Thomas Paine
In the discussion of Church and State it is quite common to find in the forefront Locke, Jefferson, and Thomas Paine. While I intend to mention most of them I think this discussion is best moved forward with a look at James Madison, the proclaimed Father of the Constitution. I will present his ideas, which I believe clearly demonstrate an advocacy for a Wall of Separation. I will also bring into question the concept of G-d as it relates to our founding documents. Lastly I will touch on the words of Jobin as well as the 501(c)(3) tax exemption for churches.
Consider the common argument among conservative Christians who like to claim that the notion involving the Separation of Church and State is a notion not alluded to in our founding documents or that is uniquely Jeffersonian. Here are the words of Sean Hannity :
"It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state." (8/25/03)
"You want to refer to some liberal activist judge..., that's fine, but I'm going to go directly to the source. The author of the Bill of Rights [James Madison] hired the first chaplain in 1789, and I gotta' tell ya' somethin', I think the author of the Bill of Rights knows more about the original intent--no offense to you and your liberal atheist activism--knows more about it than you do." (9/4/02)
(I will come back to this second quote.)

Harlequin Heretic said...

There is a lot of support for the conservative David Barton who is criticized by atheists and histoirians for using quotations of questionable authenticity to promote his agenda, which in some cases he has admitted to. He is the founder of an organization known as Wallbuilders an organization that believes in:
WallBuilders' goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.
Some quotes of questionable validity. The effort to verify these quotes was led by Madison scholar, Professor Robert S. Alley:
1) "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Patrick Henry
The truth =Patrick Henry. Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. We have heard a great deal about the benevolence and holy zeal of our reverend clergy, but how is this manifested? Do they manifest their zeal in the cause of religion and humanities, by practicing the mild and benevolent precepts of the Gospel of Jesus? Do they feed the hungry and clother the naked? Oh no, gentlemen! Instead of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, these rapacious harpies would, were their powers equal to their will, snatch from the hearth of their honest parishoner his last hoe cake, from the widow and her orphan children their last milch cow, the last bed, nay, the last blanket from the lying-in woman!
He fought in court and stopped the paying of tax money to Christian ministers as was done in Europe

2) "The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion." - Abraham Lincoln
The truth-Abraham Lincoln actually said: "Christianity is not my religion and the bible is not my book. I have never united myself in any church because I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian doctrine and dogma." Lincoln never joined any church and was never baptized, looking upon it as superstition. His wife said: "my husband is not a Christian

3) "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." - George Washington
The truth=George Washington FactsIn 1831, Episcopalian minister Bird Wilson said in a sermon: "Washington is no more than a Unitarian, if anything." Washington refused to take communion, looking upon it as superstition. He refused to ever kneel in church according to his wife and minister

4) "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian." - Holy Trinity v. U. S. (Supreme Court case)

5) "The principles of all genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations are to be drown from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man therefore who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that book may be assessory [sic] to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer." - Noah Webster

Harlequin Heretic said...

6) "A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or eternal invader." - Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams was only a governor.
The truth, His cousin: President John Adams in a letter to Jefferson wrote. "This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it."

7) "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves ... according to the Ten Commandments of God." - James Madison
The truth =James Madison actually wrote "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."(8) "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? more or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

8) "There are two powers only which are sufficient to control men, and secure the rights of individuals and a peaceable administration; these are the combined force of religion and law, and the force or fear of the bayonet." - Noah Webster

9) "Whosoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." - Benjamin Franklin
The truth =Benjamin Franklin actually wrote a month before he died "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion ... has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble." (12) He died a month later.
"Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another."--Benjamin Franklin

10) "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." - Abraham Lincoln

11) "I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens." - Thomas Jefferson
The truth=Thomas Jefferson actually wrote: "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular Superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men women and children since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

Harlequin Heretic said...

His misuse or falsification of quotes will only hurt the Christian cause. He has the support of many Christian groups that trust his research to accurate as well as some media outlets. It concerns me that Christian institutions like Liberty University and media personalities Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee widely promote his work. In the long run it will only further the stereotype that religion, especially Christianity and ignorance go hand-in-hand. Then again stereotypes usually contain a hint of the truth (maybe a bit more in this case). Does it bother anyone that some Christians will shamelessly use the work of anyone that supports their agenda without substantiating?

Another common argument for a Christian state is that our common law as influenced by British common law which was supposedly inspired by Christian thought. In actuality our common as inspired by British common law which as inspired by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon common law.
Madison’s was deeply concerned with any faction that could impose its will on the people (Google search for the Federalist Papers). Madison was well aware of the tyranny that could ensue if Church and State were not compartmentalized. In Madison’s, Detached Memoranda, he states the following:
"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."

Another Madison quote:

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."

Notice that Madison believes that the Constitution intentionally provides Separation of Church and State. It is interesting because most opponents of the idea claim that because the explicit phrasing isn’t mentioned in the Constitution or other founding documents that this notion is just some liberal fallacy. However, I think many of these opponents (usually Christian) to the notion wouldn’t deny the Trinity of the Godhead despite its absence from scripture. Interestingly enough this very same work of Madison also deals with the idea of the tax exemption of religious entities. In the Detached Memoranda, Madison also voices his disdain for having a congressional chaplain or chaplain in any of the armed services (despite what Hannity thinks):

Harlequin Heretic said...

Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation?
The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain! To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers or that the major sects have a tight to govern the minor.
It is important to understand that the Christianity of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin was a very different Christianity than that espoused by modern Protestants, Catholics, or Non-Denominational congregations. In fact, it probably wouldn’t even qualify as being Christianity at all in some cases. Of course, that would never be said because then evangelicals couldn’t continue insisting that this was and is a Christian nation. Conservative Christians will likely cringe at the claim I am about to make:
The G-d mentioned and alluded to in our founding documents is not the same G-d as that of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is the Humanist G-d, a god of Nature and of Reason. It is equivalent to the god that inspired the Enlightenment and also the ideals of the French Revolution.

Harlequin Heretic said...

Consider the following founders and their beliefs. Many of these men are assumed to be Christians by modern evangelicals:
Washington-Deist Christian
Jefferson-Agnostic Christian
Adams-Unitarian that did not believe in eternal damnation
Franklin-Deist who championed toleration
Adam Smith-Deist
Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
This treaty was unanimously approved by the Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by John Adams.
While there was a proposal to insert the phrase, “Jesus Christ” into the preamble after our Lord, there was not enough support to pass the motion. From this we cannot say make any conclusions as to the number of Christians versus the number of Deists. What can be concluded is that the majority of delegates valued a Separation of Church and State.

Harlequin Heretic said...

Consider the following founders and their beliefs. Many of these men are assumed to be Christians by modern evangelicals:
Washington-Deist Christian
Jefferson-Agnostic Christian
Adams-Unitarian that did not believe in eternal damnation
Franklin-Deist who championed toleration
Adam Smith-Deist
Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
This treaty was unanimously approved by the Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by John Adams.
While there was a proposal to insert the phrase, “Jesus Christ” into the preamble after our Lord, there was not enough support to pass the motion. From this we cannot say make any conclusions as to the number of Christians versus the number of Deists. What can be concluded is that the majority of delegates valued a Separation of Church and State.

Harlequin Heretic said...

While the Separation of Church and State an issue that of the utmost importance for me I am wary not to fully endorse the views of Pastor Jobin lest I become one of the ignorant and selfish fools that jump on any bandwagon that will champion their cause.
Of Jobin’s words I found the most important to be:
“We are not so Holy that we can merely baptize a candidate, and never drink the poison of his words.”
Based on the tax code that allows for exemption it is apparent that many churches violate the rules of their exertion. In fact, I don’t know that I have ever been in a church (that I have visited multiple times) that did not violate this exemption. The Mormon campaign against Prop 8 is a gross violation and the church should be fined according to the penalties outlined in 501(c)(3) guidelines. If the violations persist then the IRS should consider revoking their status. This should be true of all churches. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a few SBC churches investigated where I have personally heard the endorsement of a candidate to a congregation of about 10,000 people.
Personally, I find the evidence for the Separation of Church and State as an ideal espoused by our Founding Fathers and promoted and protected by our founding documents to be conclusive. I also hope our country never sees the day when evangelicals have the influence to alter American society so that it mimics the conservative Christian notion of Kingdom of G-d. Such a society would be the very antithesis of the America of our Founding Fathers, which is the America I always hope to live in.
My question for those who agree with David Barton’s ideals or those who share the notion a Christian America:
Can you honestly say that you are objective in examining this issue, and that your Christian beliefs are not actually skewing your perspective? When you are given “ammo” to support what you would like the outcome to be, do you questions its validity or do you assume it is credible?