Today we live with Alice in Wonderland, where up is down, and down is up, and little in the world makes logical sense. Nowhere is this more evident than the twisted logic used by progressives to literally hijack the “establishment clause” in the 1st Amendment, and then use it to establish a religion of their own.
The clause is very straightforward:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
In order to understand its original meaning, we must know the definitions of the key words as they were used during the time period when the Constitution was written. The most accurate source we have for these definitions is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It defines several of the key words in the clause as follows:
1. Participle present tense; Regarding; having regard to; relating to.
Establishment (as in, “to establish”):
1. To set and fix firmly or unalterably; to settle permanently.
2. To found permanently; to erect and fix or settle; as, to establish a colony or an empire.
3. To enact or decree by authority and for permanence; to ordain; to appoint; as, to establish laws, regulations, institutions, rules, ordinances, etc.
4. To settle or fix; to confirm; as, to establish a person, society or corporation, in possessions or privileges.
1. Religion in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God.
2. Religion as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law.
3. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of Christians; any religion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers.
By these definitions, there is absolutely no logical argument that can be made that the Federal Government ever has nor is currently engaged in specifically, permanently, and firmly erecting laws, regulations, institutions, rules, or ordinances to “establish” an official national religion. If understood in its original context, a rational mind would not conceive that this clause has been violated by the Federal Government.
Yet, the progressives today have successfully hijacked the clause using propaganda and the public education system. They have redefined it to mean, “No governmental agency or property shall in any way reference religion, Christianity in particular.” This is the new operative definition of the “establishment clause”, and progressives are using it to drive out from the public any reference to the Christian religion.
The problem is, Congress has passed no law establishing Christianity as our nation’s religion, that the progressives can overturn. Thus, led by the ACLU and atheist organizations, they have strategically moved the battle directly into the courts.
Judges that hear these cases have no laws to cite that they can deem unconstitutional. They are thus left to legislate from the bench when they reference the “establishment clause” as reasons to overturn state and local laws permitting public discussion of religion, or display or religious materials. Yes, the “establishment clause” has been killed, redefined, and resurrected as a convenient straw man. Wikipedia’s definition of a straw man includes this insightful observation:
“To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.”
The arguments used by the progressives that cite the “establishment clause” should be laughed right out of the courtroom. Unfortunately, the public is ignorant of the original argument, and the judges involved support the progressive agenda. Thus, they easily knock over their straw man. As a result, life in the United States is being radically transformed.
Every society adopts a core belief system that determines how people interact with one another, and the standards of morality they collectively practice. In the United States, the underlying constructs of society were derived from Judeo/Christian principles. As these constructs are removed, they must be replaced by something.
In a hypocritical twist common to progressives, they are using their distorted definition of the establishment clause to actually establish a “religion” of their own. As part of their propaganda, they have exempted the belief system of secular humanism from being defined as a “religion.” This removes all restrictions from using the force of law to enact or rescind existing law in order to create a moral and social vacuum that only their religion can fill.
Webster’s definition of “religion” also includes a “belief of a superior power, or powers governing the world.” In the progressive’s case, the religion of secular humanism places the state as the superior power to govern the world. The ruling elite are its “gods.” Their superior human reason is the means by which society is to be ordered.
There is great danger in such a belief system. Never in the course of human history has such a “religion” succeeded in governing its citizens without bloody oppression. In a recent event at the University of Pennsylvania, a student asked renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, the following question:
“Why are you so afraid of subjective moral reasoning?”
This question goes to the heart of the progressive appeal to allow the secular humanist religion to govern mankind. They truly believe that, left to his own devices, man can and will use reason to order society to peacefully benefit all. Dr. Zacharias’ response is classic:
“Do you lock your doors at night?”
That simple question made his point. Undeterred, the young man tried to argue that China is an example of a “peaceful” secular society. Dr. Zacharias reminded the young man of the bloody atrocities committed by secular China during the Red Guard’s Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion. He reminded him that a secular China and Russia have killed 60 million people apiece during the 20th century. He then summarized the obvious, “When subjective morality becomes totally subjectivized, this [bloody oppression] is what happens in society.”
Progressives who subscribe to the religion of secular humanism must be approached with truth, reason, and the undeniable evidence of history. Christians should not be cowered by their tactics, a favorite of which is the increasingly aggressive implementation of the homosexual agenda as a wedge issue (two books on the subject, one from each side can be found here and here). While many Christians may disagree on how to deal with issue of homosexuality, the homosexual community’s political agenda is the tip of the spear being used to set the legal and social precedents undermining our society’s Judeo/Christian foundation.
What Then Is Our Future?
Progressives have successfully hijacked the establishment clause, creating a social and political environment where they are using the clause as a pretense to do exactly what it was meant to prevent – establish, through the force of law, a national religion. If they succeed in establishing secular humanism as the de-facto national religion, it will only be a matter of time before the United States experiences a fate similar to that of past secular governments. That bloody future is not something we want our children and grandchildren to face.
You must step up and help remove the scales from the eyes of your Christian friends and family. Share the news and sources you read. Gently, but persistently engage in conversations with them. Network with others who are like-minded, not only for support, but for ideas on how to get involved in stopping this trend. Finally, do not shrink back from taking the progressives to task. Exposing hypocrisy is one of the most effective ways to shine light on the gathering darkness, and to defeat it.
Today, many pastors teach that Christians should not concern themselves with politics, and are only to concern themselves with their “spiritual” liberty. If the state becomes tyrannical, well – that is just God’s will and we are to live with it.
This is prima facie an absurd notion. It is, in fact, heresy. We are made in the image of God. That is, we project His attributes. God is not, nor ever will be a slave. This is why at the core of their being, every human longs to be free. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to grant us our freedom – in all of its forms.
The Old Testament sends a clear message that God takes the civil liberty of His people very seriously:
• God’s own words in the preamble to the first commandment are a reminder that He delivered Israel “out of the house of bondage.”
• The deliverance from Egyptian bondage is one of the most celebrated events in all of Jewish history, because God commanded that it be celebrated by establishing “an everlasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14).
• God uses the loss of civil liberty as a primary means to get the attention of His people when they fall into idol worship and disobedience (see the entire book of Judges).
• God gave clear warning that the penalty for unrepentant idolatry and disobedience was the loss of civil liberty (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, et. al.)
• Maintaining or restoring civil liberty was conditional upon Israel heeding the call to repentance from their idolatry and disobedience. (Jeremiah Ch 3, Joel Ch 2, Amos Ch 5, Zephaniah Ch 2, Zechariah Ch 1)
The Key to Liberty
The Old Testament makes it clear how valuable our civil liberty is, not just to us, but also to God. Just in case anyone missed it, Jesus made it absolutely clear when early in His ministry, He read out of the book of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The freedom Jesus came to give us included every form, emotional, spiritual, and civil. The Apostle Paul understood this, and introduced the concept that would be the key to unlocking civil liberty on a scale never before experienced by mankind.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” -Galatians 3:26-28
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11
No individual is greater than another? All men are created equal? This was a radical assertion in a time when kings and tyrants, along with their elite nobles, had ruled pagan nations for thousands of years. It was a new concept. Yet Paul’s letters, taken together, began to give clearer understanding on this important truth.
“Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” -1 Corinthians 7:21-23
Don’t be concerned if you are a slave. Civil liberty is coming. It’s a matter of time before people realize that all men are equal in God’s eyes. When the time comes that you can be made free, use it for God’s glory. And then, always remember that “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
We do not realize just how revolutionary this idea was. Yet there was one little letter that explained it all.
Paul’s Treatise on Civil Liberty
In the book of Philemon, Paul penned a subtle yet profound rebuke against the institution of civil slavery. Few in words, the letter is huge in content. Its implications for mankind have been profound.
When Paul discovered that a fellow brother in Christ named Onesimus was a slave, he sent him back to his master along with his letter. Verses 8-17 form the heart of Paul’s message to Philemon:
“Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you —being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.
For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me.” -Philemon 8-17
His letter was a very personal appeal from one Christian to another. Paul refrained from making a legalistic declaration of what he felt should be self evident to any Christian – that it is wrong to keep a fellow Christian as a slave (v8). Instead, Paul appeals to Spirit led Christian love as the reason that Philemon should grant his request and set Onesimus free. Paul’s approach sets a very important precedent. One that has broad implications, even to this day.
It is only through Christ’s love, as demonstrated by His death on the cross for our sins, that one is able to grasp the concept of man’s equality before God. Equal in sin. Equal in guilt. Yet equal in redemption and forgiveness as well! This understanding provides the capacity for one to restrain from imposing tyranny on his fellow man.
Our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of governance by leaders who understand this. Thus, they codified in the Constitution, a principle first demonstrated through the divinely orchestrated circumstances of a runaway slave and his Christian owner.
“For perhaps he [Onesimus] departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave – a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” -Philemon v15
“Both in the flesh and in the Lord.” Free to enjoy spiritual and civil liberty.
Christians – The Guardians of Freedom
We have been blessed to have a form of government that explicitly recognizes the fact that “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them are the right, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet this form of government cannot exist in perpetuity unless Christians are involved. Why?
Because the words Paul wrote concerning the importance of civil liberty were written to other Christians. Unbelievers have no reason to heed them. Nor will they. Unless Christians inhabit the offices of civil government, they will eventually become subject to civil tyranny. That is clearly not God’s will for His people. Dear Christian brothers and sisters. Civil liberty is a universal, fundamental, unalienable right that is highly valued by God! We are to serve in positions of leadership and guard liberty as jealously as God would. When we fail in that task, our nation will fall into idolatry and disobedience. Then, as has been clearly demonstrated throughout history, God will allow us to lose our precious civil liberties.
The fact that we are losing our freedoms in this nation at a breathtaking pace should be a clarion call to the church to repent, and for Christians to take positions of servant leadership in all levels of government without delay. It is important to you. It is important to your children. But most of all, it is important to God!
There is a strong historical and constitutional case for using gold and silver as money in the United States. Our Founding Fathers understood the value of using honest weights and measures, and understood that gold and silver have historically fulfilled that role.
However, just as with reading Scripture, context is king. We must take into account that our Founders generally viewed money and monetary systems from within their existing Western paradigm. Their understanding of money was based on a system that originated in the 1600s, first with Sweden’s central bank, then soon followed by the establishment of the Bank of England.
This type of monetary system could be expected to arise when the form of government is a monarchy, such as was the case in England in the 1600s. All citizens were subject to the king, and his interests were favored over those of his subjects. Yet the representative republic that was birthed with the adoption of our Constitution sought to eliminate the possibility of a monarchy (or any other form of tyrannical government) rising within the United States. Read more
My family and I watched with interest the debate last night between Ken Ham and Bill Nye (the self proclaimed “Science guy”). As debates go, it was entertaining. Unfortunately, as most debates also go, both sides gave little compelling information that would actually change people’s minds. So the winner is?
Nobody. But there are plenty of losers. One is the Christian witness.
The debate was over no more than 15 minutes when I thought I’d head to Facebook and catch some post-debate commentary. Unfortunately, what I found did not surprise me. While there was a good deal of civil discussion amongst Christians I follow on Facebook, I saw a many others ripping each other apart over being a “young earth creationist” or a “God directed evolutionist.” Each was convinced that the other was spreading heresy and destroying the good name of Christianity by their foolishness.
Really? Destroying the good name of Christianity? Sorry, but it is those who engage in this grade-school name calling who are destroying the good name of Christianity.
Ken Ham was the first to admit (multiple times) that the age of the earth is not scientifically provable – by either side. He bases his belief on the combination of observable science and the authority of Scripture. Could he be wrong? Yes. Does he have a compelling argument? While I don’t think he gave the best debate performance last night, the evidence I’ve seen at Answers In Genesis and other similar sites is as compelling as any other explanation out there.
For the record, I am a young earth creationist. But my Christianity does not live or die on that hill. I will not publicly rip another Christian for believing in God directed evolution. There is nowhere in Scripture where that type of behavior toward other brothers and sisters in Christ is commanded. Nowhere. In fact, we have very clear instructions when we believe someone is in error:
“that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ..” Ephesians 4:14-15
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:13-15
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
And I could list a dozen more verses where we are commanded to deal lovingly and gently with one another. Not out of our flesh, but through the Spirit. Scripture helps us recognize which we are walking in by examining the nature of our demeanor:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.“ Galatians 5:18-26
I’m tired of it. You who publicly thrash other brothers and sisters in Christ with hatred, contentions, outbursts of wrath, dissensions, revelries, and the like are walking in the flesh. You are making a public spectacle of yourselves.
But most of all, you are destroying the witness of Jesus Christ. Christ above all commands us to “love one another.” Yet you who bite and devour your brethren when you disagree with them are hypocrites. You are demonstrating the leaven of the Pharisees for the world to see.
Jesus saved His harshest rebukes for the Pharisees, because hypocrisy is one of the, if not the sin that most damages our Christian witness. If Jesus were here today He would say…
If you haven’t noticed, this world is in a crisis. It needs to hear the gospel of Christ and see it lived out. If you must debate these things, do so with a spirit of humility and love. Gain understanding of what your “opponent” really is saying. If it begins to get heated, take it private – or better yet – spend some time in prayer until you can humbly enter into the debate again.
But do not continue in your public spectacle and destroy the message of the gospel in the process. For that, God will hold you accountable.