where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The 4 Myths of a Secular Government in America

The 4 Myths of a Secular Government in America  

It is often said that religion and politics don’t mix.  We are also told that our government and accordingly the public square must be neutral on matters of religion.  It cannot favor any one religion over another.  Hearing these statements so often, one is greatly tempted to believe they are true.

There is one slight problem.  These are meaningless statements. 

People who use these expressions have a limited understanding of religion.  They have particular religions in mind and particular doctrines of that religion that are subject to different interpretations, and politics and government, especially in a multi-cultural society, they contend, must be entirely separate from religion.  And, of course, there are atheists and others with no religion whose views must be held with the same regard as everyone else.

But what exactly is a religion?  In common usage it is a set of beliefs and practices involving God.  However, that is a far too limited view of what a religion is.  A religion purports to describe reality, all of it.  It offers its explanation of the origin of the world, the nature of human beings, the meaning of life, the rules of life, what is true and what is false.

In other words, a religion is a worldview.  Everyone has a worldview.  It may not be thoroughly thought out.  It may have inconsistencies, blatant falsehoods, and obvious distortions.  But everyone has one. 

People live out of what they believe, about life, themselves, other people.  Some worldviews are called religion, because God is a part of it.  And some worldviews don’t include a God, but they are still worldviews.  And just like people live out of their worldview, so do governments. 

This is why so-called secular governments keep growing.  There is no God for people to rely on, so government has to fill that void by being the great protector and provider for its people.

In older dictionaries, the idea of religion necessarily included a god.  But not now.  It can be simply “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” 

The most non-religious (atheistic) governments in the world are communistic.  There is no god, but there is the government to see that everybody behaves and is taken care of, so to speak. 

As countries become less religious, they become more communistic, or socialistic.  The common idea is collectivism.  The void gets larger, and the government grows to fill that void.

Christians believe in a Trinity, that is, they believe that God exists in three persons, not as three separate Gods, but the three distinct personalities make up the one God.  There is a secular trinity as well.  The government is like God the Father, the provider, protector, and judge of the people.  Science takes the place of the Son.  The work of the Son makes the Christian life possible, and science is the servant of secularism energizing and supporting the cause.

True science is just the principle of observing and measuring and experimenting to determine how nature works.  But science becomes and has become a religion when it says that only what can be measured and observed is real and objective truth.  There is nothing beyond or outside the observed universe.  This is a religious statement just as much as “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”   Christian dogma has been replaced with naturalist dogma.

The third part of the secular trinity is relativism.  This is the spirit of the age.  There is no Lawgiver outside of nature, and that involves simply physical laws.  So anything called truth beyond that is individualistic.  If it works for you, who is to say that it is wrong?  Cultures have formed, and they are all equal expressions of individual initiative. 

But new dogmas have come into being, and the government is the enforcer of these new beliefs.  The beliefs (rules) are simple and few: Tolerance and fairness (or equality).  Tolerance allows individuals to live their own truth within their own world, and fairness mediates among the masses, because it is only inequality which promotes division and hostility between people.

So secularism is a worldview and essentially a religion, a religion without a god, but a religion nonetheless.  It doesn’t require weekly worship services.  Political rallies every election year are enough.

So to say that a government can be secular is just semantics.  It just means naturalism, practical atheism.  It’s not a matter of religion or no religion, but what religion.  A religion with a god or one without.  There is no middle ground. 

The second myth is that our government was intended to be a secular government.  There are two problems here. 

One is that we have forgotten our history and reinterpreted it and our historical documents.  When the First Amendment was written, the issue before them was the idea of a national church as was common in Europe.  This was rejected, but individual states had state churches, and that was written into the various state Constitutions. 

A common quote from one of the Founding Fathers was that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Our government, our nation, requires a religious and moral people to exist simply because the majority can vote for anything they want, and they will and they have.  It is human nature to seek power and influence and to live beyond one’s means, and those are two of our government’s biggest problems.  Those who are in power do what they can to stay in power, and they spend other people’s money beyond their means to do it.

Our founders knew that if the people lost their religious and moral foundation, this form of government would not last.  It would die a slow death through massive government debt.




The 4 Myths of a Secular Government in America  (Part 2)

Not to decide is to decide.  There is no neutral ground.  A government cannot be neutral to religion.  A religion as commonly defined is simply a worldview that has a God.  When secularists insist our government was intended to be and must be neutral to religion, they are insisting that our government presume a worldview without a God, essentially a secular religion. 

Government becomes the Father of all, the great protector and provider, science is the son, the servant and savior of the world, and relativism the spirit of the age.

So the first myth is that a government can actually be secular, as in without a religion.  The answer is no.  It’s like when people say they don’t believe in organized religion.  Everyone and every government have a religion, whether or not they call it that.

The second myth is that the United States was intended to be a secular government. 

Prior to our relativistic, postmodern era, like when our country was founded, this would have been seen as an absurd statement.  There is a God, Jesus is His Son, and the Bible is God’s Word to humans to tell us how all this is supposed to work.

Today religion is viewed as a choice, a preference, a taste.  I prefer vanilla ice cream over strawberry.  You may prefer strawberry.  That is your right.  Vanilla is not better than strawberry.  So I cannot criticize your choice of strawberry or your character or morality for doing so.

Our founders understood religion as truth.  All our schools, public and private, taught their students truth, so they would grow up to be virtuous and thus happy and productive citizens of our country.  How could they do this without being taught the truth about life and themselves?  If anything, the role of government was to promote the virtue and happiness of its citizens.  How else would or could a republic endure?

When our country opened up the northwest territories (now Illinois though Ohio) to settlement and the possibility of statehood, our government wrote the Northwest Ordinance, which noted that “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

When schools teach nothing about God, they are not teaching truth, so they are not teaching virtue and reality.  They are promoting lies and falsehoods about life.  A free country would not remain free for long without virtue.  If the citizens are not virtuous, the need for government grows to maintain order and to provide for the general welfare of the people.  And when it is seen that the government can give things to people, then there is no end to what people will expect from it.

From the founding of our country in the early 1600s up until the mid-20th century, religion was considered an essential part of a child’s education, public or private.  As our government grew, public education came to be considered an extension of the federal government

With the rise of post-modernism came the rise of relativism and multiculturalism.  With the rise of civil rights came an immigration policy that no longer favored any people groups, so our nation soon saw a rise in many religions.  None was considered any truer than another, and to prefer one was seen as arbitrary, inconsiderate, and discriminatory.  So the push for secularism was also meant to be accommodating to immigrants of different faiths.  But if we become whoever or whatever anybody wants us to be, then we lose what it was that made us what we are.

The third myth is that our country was not intended to be a Christian country.

Now there are two ways that a country can be considered Christian: de jure and de factoDe jure would be if Christianity were written into the Constitution or other laws of the land.  De facto is the actual condition or state of the country. 

Many of the people who came and settled in America came from countries that had national churches, and this was rejected by our founders, though the states were allowed to have state churches.  Many or all of them did, at least for a while.

Not every single person in America was Christian, of course, or even believed in God, but the nation was Christian.  Everything closed down on the Lord’s Day (Sunday).  Christianity was taught in the public schools.  Public schools were not an extension of the federal government.  Most public functions were done at the township level. 

Children learned to read from The New England Primer, Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book [the Blue Back Speller], and the McGuffey Readers, books all replete with references to God and the Bible.  The New England Primer contained the Shorter Catechism.

It was only in 1948 that religious instruction or activity in public-school facilities was found to be unconstitutional, after only about 300 years of continuous practice and about 160 years after our country’s official founding.  Part of the thinking, of course, was that non-religious people would feel discriminated against or otherwise marginalized. 

But the first myth is that a government can be neutral to religion.  To forbid religious activity or instruction in public schools naturally morphed into any religious expression, including any reference to God, so public schools and even public life came be God-free zones to eliminate any impression of government endorsement of religion. 

But there is no neutral ground.  Not to prefer one religion is to prefer no religion.  Not to acknowledge God is to acknowledge no God.

Does it make a difference?  Certainly.  With the absence of God in public schools, there is an absence of a concept of truth.  Everybody knew right and wrong before.  Now everybody gets to decide for themselves what is right and wrong.

The Declaration of Independence recognized God [our Creator] as the source of the rights for which our country was prepared to fight. Thomas Jefferson appealed to Congress for funds to evangelize the Indians.  The first Congress published a Bible to be used in the public schools, and church services were held in the U.S. Capitol building for almost 100 years after Independence.

They knew they needed a religious and moral people for this to work, and they intended on having one.



 The 4 Myths of a Secular Government in America  (Part 3 of 3)
So the first myth is that a government really can be secular, as in no religious preference or impulse.  The second myth is that our government was intended to be a secular government.  The third myth is that our founders did not intend for our country, and government, to be Christian.
The fourth myth is that our government (actually the people, because we run the country) does not have the right and obligation to choose a guiding worldview under which our country conducts its business. 
Why?  Because, as we have said, there is no such as neutral ground.  Not acknowledging God is just as much a religious statement as acknowledging Him.  And the consequences are significant.
Not to acknowledge God is to run a country like there is no God.  As countries mute the voices of religion, the government expands and continues to expand. 
It is not coincidental that communist countries are atheistic.  When a country is officially atheistic, it becomes communistic.  The government controls everything, because it replaces the functions that a God would serve among the people.  People need a protector, a benefactor, a safety net, someone to look after and out for them.
Without a belief in a personal God, collective values replace individual ones.  Collectivism becomes the ruling mantra.  Fairness and equality are the highest goals.  Better that everyone be lower middle class and just like everybody else than for anyone to soar above the rest.
Communism is extreme.  People don’t want that.  But law by law, regulation by regulation, court decision by court decision, a country moves inexorably in that direction.  As government expands, the people become poorer (and more equal) to pay for the increasing government expenditures.
But this doesn’t apply for everyone.  Government work, called public service, becomes a higher calling, because public servants work for the general welfare of the masses, while private sector jobs work for profits, which are seen to be now greedy, because it is for one’s personal welfare rather than for others.  True, jobs are created in the private sector, but they are not as good as government jobs, because in the private sector, employers exploit their workers for their own advantage.  And government jobs pay more, because, well, all jobs should pay that much. 
And government can afford it, while private job owners don’t think they can because they are just plain selfish.
In the old days, when people acknowledged God, in the real world (private enterprise), you have to earn your money through hard work, productivity, and enhancing value, like when a person takes slabs of wood, creates a bookcase out of it, and sells it for more than the cost of the original lumber to cover his costs and feed his family.
In government, more so for the federal government, you can control money in a world of its own rules.  You can even print it.  Money really does grow on trees in government.  You can actually spend what you want and not have to pay it back.  You can vote your own pay increases and benefits.  You can dole out favors to all those who can benefit you.  You don’t have to win the lottery.  This is even better. 
In a lottery, you get all the money at once, unwanted publicity, a fixed amount, and you can lose it.  In government it is an unending stream of revenue.
The temptations become irresistible.  As Michael Savage aptly put it:  Politicians aren’t there because they want to cut the spending; they are there to control the spending. 
Government aid is encouraged to more and more people, including new immigrants, to encourage dependency on the government in order to support the need for more government.
And with the easy access to and social and governmental acceptability and support for abortion, people are choosing smaller families.  Populations grow older, and government expands to take care of people who have fewer people to take care of them. 
So the result is a new two class society.  Where before there were rich, poor, and middle class, there now become only two: private sector employees, or the new poorer middle class, and public sector employees, the new richer upper middle class.  They don’t need to become filthy rich, because they have that continuing stream of revenue.
No, government is prohibited from telling people how to do their religion, but because people have full freedom to express their religion and religion promotes the valuable qualities of virtue and self-reliance (God-dependency rather than man-dependency), government can and should promote religious faith among its people.
This is one reason why the First Congress had Bibles printed to be used in public schools.  They were largely Christian and believed in the supreme value of the Bible for forming a moral and happy people. 
The change in our immigration laws to encourage immigration from all those nations that don’t share our heritage was an intentional move to dilute that Christian heritage and ultimately to silence it.
When our nation was blatantly Christian, the new country quickly achieved a prosperity that surpassed the long established nations of the world.  The United States became a world leader in almost every category, from educational performance to per capita wealth to gross domestic product.
As our country has turned away from God, largely encouraged and accelerated by court decisions removing God from public schools and public life, that dominance has markedly diminished, and our country has been in decline by many different markers.
I believe the single worst thing that our country has done has been to say that our government, our public sector including schools, must not acknowledge or promote God in its business.  This changes everything about how a country runs and how well it runs. 

People who think our country is doing great just haven’t lived long enough to see from where we have fallen.

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