Separation of Church and State – Part 4

The Bible NEVER gives the responsibility of education to the government. NEVER! God has given the primary responsibility of education to the child’s parents. The Bible also gives command for the churches to teach in spiritual matters as well as assisting in “carnal” or “natural” things (education, among others, such as food, clothing, etc.). Neither the church nor the state has the right to take the parents’ role of educating their children; however, the parents may choose to seek outside assistance with their responsibility.

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Now that we are on the fourth and last part of this Separation of Church and State, some may be wondering, “What does this have to do with education?” First of all, a look at some of my other blog posts would be helpful, but I will summarize here.

The Bible NEVER gives the responsibility of education to the government. NEVER! God has given the primary responsibility of education to the child’s parents. The Bible also gives command for the churches to teach in spiritual matters as well as assisting in “carnal” or “natural” things (education, among others, such as food, clothing, etc.). Neither the church nor the state has the right to take the parents’ role of educating their children; however, the parents may choose to seek outside assistance with their responsibility.

During the colonial days and into the early years of our country, there was an established public school system. During those times, the schools were not as corrupt as they are today. They had the Bible as their main textbook, morals were taught, and discipline was enforced (if not expected) when there was disobedience or disorder. The schools were kept and run on a very local level, with the local parents as the “school board.” There was little that people saw wrong with this setup.

There was a problem, however. If not at first, it soon became influenced and controlled through government (first local government, then expanding outwardly). The governments involvement has corrupted the entire system, and today it is illegal to have anything related to Christianity (not all religion is banned).

The First Amendment was and is supposed to have a separation of church and state, but, because the overall tone of America was moral Christianity, that influence blended with the government through the nineteenth century – not to mention that there were still those that wanted to have a marriage between church and state. D. James Kennedy makes this observation in his book, Character and Destiny:

To remember how Christian the schools in this country truly were, one has but to recall that in 1890 the Roman Catholic Church started its own school system. Why? Was it because of the secular element in the schools? No. It was because the public schools were so overwhelmingly Protestant that the Catholic families and their priests felt that they needed to start their own school system in order to make sure their own point of view was expressed. (p. 54)

Protestant (Reformed) Christianity was the general rule in the public schools. The Reformed influence promoted the religious lifestyle of the founders of our country, but they were able to bury Baptist and other dissenter influence. The Protestant influence was so great it led to the Catholics starting their own school system in the late 1800’s. By the 1950’s, the public schools lost their Protestantism to secularism and paganism (humanism). This led to the Christian school/homeschool movement.

The movement was mainly a Baptist movement (at first), but several smooth-talking Reformed theologians joined in. Reformed doctrine was brought into the Christian school curricula, and, again, Baptist heritage was buried.

The point of this article, however, is not primarily our Baptist heritage in this country. The point is that our history has proven the Bible’s teaching – the government is not to be involved the education of our children. The government’s goal is not the child’s or the family’s well-being – it’s goal and interest is whatever is better for the country’s future.

There IS to be a separation of church and state – not how the secularist are trying to promote. Everyone has the right to be able to worship God (or not worship) as they see fit, and the government has NO right to interfere with that.

This four-part series on Separation of Church and State:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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Separation of Church and State – Part 3

Anytime you hear the concept of the separation of church and state being talked about these days, it is never in regard to maintaining the restraints on government; instead, it is always talking about what Christians and churches cannot do. (D. James Kennedy, “Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul,” p. 50)

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Anytime you hear the concept of the separation of church and state being talked about these days, it is never in regard to maintaining the restraints on government; instead, it is always talking about what Christians and churches cannot do. (D. James Kennedy, “Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul,” p. 50)

James Kennedy, in this quote, tries to prove that there should not be a separation between church and state. He is saying that, because of the modern-day secularists are trying to restrain religion and not the government, that there should not be a separation. That, however, is not a legitimate reason. The world has always and will always oppose religion, especially true Christianity. He also has the following quotes:

And the real danger of the so-called “sepatation” doctrine is not that religion has been put at arm’s length from the govenment, but that this false concept has been used to install government as the sovereign power and benefactor of the nation. (p. 123)

“The real object of the First Amendment,” said Justice Story, “was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahomentanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exlude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiatical establishment.” (p. 126)

Our government was set up to have a separation between it and religion. The Framers and Founders of our country knew and understood what government was like when there was a blending of church and state. Yes, they established our government on the Bible; but, along with that, they were putting the government into its rightful and proper Biblical place. Government is to protect life, liberty, and property. As long as religion does not physically threaten a person, a person is allowed to believe and worship as they believe they should (liberty of conscience).  For example, public prayer does not hurt a person, even if it is in court or the senate; if there are hurtful things said, that may make it inappropriate, but not unconstitutional.

Mr. Kennedy further defends his position by using issues such as divorce, teen suicide, drug abuse, and violent crime:

Given all these intractable problems, Christians have no other option. They have to speak up, and they have to be involved in offering solutions. Throwing more money at problems such as these will not solve them. Government will never be able to solve any of these problems, becuase they are moral problems that affect the depths of the human soul. And that is an area that can only be touched by faith. (p. 66)

He is correct in saying that government will not be able to solve these problems by throwing money at them (which is exactly what they are doing now). They can only be truly addressed through the Word of God – BUT that does not mean that the government should enforce Biblical principles to “solve” these issues. The solution lies in the preaching of God’s Word, both publicly and privately (soul winning). When churches stopped following God’s command in these areas, that’s when society began falling apart and the government swooped in to “save the day.”

The answer? The government needs to step back, separate from the church, and allow the church to do what it ought to do. The church needs to get back to old fashioned, Biblical teaching and preaching.

This four-part series on Separation of Church and State:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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Separation of Church and State – Part 2

When Thomas Jefferson wrote his letter to the Baptist congregation in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802, eleven years after the Bill of Rights had been ratified, he said that the First Amendment errected a “wall of separation” between Church and State. Even though Jefferson was a brilliant man and an important force in helping to establish many of our early laws and traditions, his statement was simply not true.

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When Thomas Jefferson wrote his letter to the Baptist congregation in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802, eleven years after the Bill of Rights had been ratified, he said that the First Amendment errected a “wall of separation” between Church and State. Even though Jefferson was a brilliant man and an important force in helping to establish many of our early laws and traditions, his statement was simply not true. I suspect it was a convenient excuse, perhaps a white lie to avoid some sort of lingering entanglement. But it was, nevertheless, a lie. (D. James Kennedy, “Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul,” p. 123)

This statement by Mr. Kennedy is a common sentiment among those that are against a separation of Church and State.  This statement does not make sense when it is compared to historical facts.

First of all, Thomas Jefferson was not a person that was concerned about entanglements and troubles: he was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence.  He, at age 34, was ready to lay his life on the line for the sake of true liberty that he committed high treason by writing the most influential and inspirational document (outside of Scripture).  I believe that if he was not afraid at that time, a possible entanglement would not even be a speed bump for him.

Secondly, the first clause of the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The words “separation of Church and State” are not there, but the premise is implied.  There is an obvious separation keeping the government from interfering with religion; but there is also restriction on religion.  There have been, and still are, people that are trying to push religiously-biased morals through legislation; and these pieces of legislation would either target or single-out one or more religions.  This kind of legislation is prohibited by the First Amendment.

Some issues are not actually moral issues, even though they are treated that way.  Abortion is one such issue.  Abortion is not just a moral decision, it is outright murder of an innocent person.  Proponents of abortion have a double-standard: if a woman decides to have an abortion, it’s okay; but if she is harmed and the baby dies, it is considered murder then.

Thirdly, we must realize and remember the events preceding the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  In this country, there were persecutions based on religion.  These persecutions started from the established religions, passed through the government as law, and were strictly enforced.  Those that opposed these laws (Baptists were the leaders among these) were dissenters; and the punishment would be fines, imprisonment, public humiliation, whippings/beatings, banishment, to death.  Baptists and other dissenters fought to have true religious liberty, or liberty of conscience.  The first colony to have liberty of conscience was Rhode Island (founded by Roger Williams, who was banished from Massachusets for spreading “new and dangerous opinions” regarding religious freedom), in which any religion was able to worship freely without punishment or restriction by the law.

Separation of Church and State?  You better believe that the founders intended to have a separation, and they knew all too well the need of it.  Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, and others were influenced by Baptists to come to their conclusions and convictions regarding liberty of conscience and the importance of Separation of Church and State.

This four-part series on Separation of Church and State:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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Separation of Church and State – Part 1

The issue about the separation of Church and State has been, and continues to be, a pressing and misunderstood matter. It is my plan in the next several weeks to post articles pertaining to this issue. In this post, I am starting from the beginning: the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association to the President and then the letter of his reply to them.

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The issue about the separation of Church and State has been, and continues to be, a pressing and misunderstood matter. It is my plan in the next several weeks to post articles pertaining to this issue. In this post, I am starting from the beginning: the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association to the President and then the letter of his reply to them.

The Danbury Baptist’s letter to the President:

The address of the Danbury Baptists Association in the state of
Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801. To Thomas Jefferson,
Esq., President of the United States of America.

Sir,

Among the many million in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief magistracy in the United States: And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, sir, to believe that none are more sincere.

Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty–that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals–that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions–that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbors; But, sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the law made coincident therewith, were adopted as the basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our laws and usages, and such still are; that religion is considered as the first object of legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the state) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights; and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those who seek after power and gain under the pretense of government and religion should reproach their fellow men–should reproach their order magistrate, as a enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dare not, assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make laws to govern the kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the president of the United States is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each state; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved president, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these states and all the world, till hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America’s God has raised you up to fill the chair of state out of that goodwill which he bears to the millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for your arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you to sustain and support you enjoy administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to raise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his heavenly kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.

Signed in behalf of the association,

Nehemiah Dodge
Ephraim Robbins
Stephen S. Nelson

President Thomas Jefferson’s reply:

Mr. President

To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, 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 and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

(signed) Thomas Jefferson
Jan.1.1802.

In the coming weeks, we will take a look at what these letters say, look at some history, examine some recent statements, and set the record straight.

This four-part series on Separation of Church and State:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

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