where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe 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.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want 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.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, 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. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

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:


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

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Supreme Court and the State of the Nation

The Supreme Court and the State of the Nation
There are few things in life that we call supreme, but I know that, when the Constitution established and described our court system, it was not giving any court this name.  It was simply describing the relation between “one supreme Court” and “such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”  Now we don’t call our district and local courts the ‘Inferior Courts,’ and I am not so sure we should call that other court The Supreme Court.
The problem is that when you have three “equal” branches of government and one has the word ‘supreme’ in its title, it tends to give that one branch a little more equality.  However, I understand that President Obama wants to change the title of President to ‘Supreme Ruler’ or ‘Supreme Being’ to better reflect his understanding of his role.  Now if we were to just call Congress ‘the Supreme Lawmakers,’ then maybe our three branches would again be a little closer to being equal equal branches of government.
We are told that the reason this court is supreme is to serve as a protection for minorities, and not just racial ones, since majority rule isn’t always right or fair.  The fact that most people might want the same thing doesn’t mean that what they want is right or fair to everybody else.  This is what is the called the tyranny of the majority.  The majority can be filled with hate, and so we would need the sensibility of an impartial court of justices with no political agendas to counterbalance that and provide justice for those who otherwise would be disenfranchised.
But then the expression ‘tyranny of the minority’ has also been used for when the laws of a nation can be changed or nullified by a tiny group of people or even one person.  Our current supreme court is a case in point, as it is generally considered to be divided into two very different camps, liberal and conservative, with, I believe, one considered a swing vote. 
Now we can never predict the outcome of any one court case with certainty, but the political landscape today is such that a lot of people often feel safe in trying.  Distinct political philosophies are now seen as more determinative in court decisions than any particular merits of a case.  
We even have the situation where one justice is considering retiring in the near future, because he wants to be sure that the current President chooses his successor, as this would ensure that the new justice is of the same political bent as he, so this would then ensure that future court decisions are decided in a certain way.
In other words, the fate of certain laws and the overall direction of our country, commonly called a democratic one, can now rest in the hands of just one person.  Something is not right with this picture. 
Of course, there have always been disagreements among people.  That just shows the uniqueness of every human mind.  But what has changed are the very basic foundational views of life and government that give direction to all of our decisions, such that any kind of compromise between them has become next to impossible.
For example, if your spouse had maxed out all your credit cards and you say this has to stop, what would a compromise look like?  A new credit card with a lower spending limit?  The choice is either to continue borrowing or to stop borrowing.  There is no middle ground. 
Politically and culturally, our country has the same problem.  Two sides are going in opposite directions, so a compromise means either nobody goes anywhere or you go in a direction you don’t want to go.  One side spends money as the solution to every problem with no regard to whether the money borrowed is paid off.  The other side sees this borrowed money as a drain on the economy and the human spirit.  Again, there is no middle ground.  You’re either still borrowing money you never expect to pay off, or you stop.
So how did our country become so polarized?
Well, it was that court we call supreme.
It made a ruling in 1947 that changed everything.  The case was about school buses and public money, but the court felt it had to make a ruling on the bigger picture of the relationship between government and religion, or, we could say, our public and private lives.
"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.  [emphasis mine]
It redefined the most basic principles on which our country had been founded and on which it had been running since its beginning and the almost two hundred years leading up to our founding.  It took one sentence out of the Constitution, separated it from its historical context, and built a system of practices that divided our nation in half, reminiscent of medieval Europe, where there was the State and the Church, each with its respective sphere of influence.  The establishment clause of the First Amendment was for prohibiting the establishment of a national church like they had in Europe.  The first action of the new Congress was to call for a Day of Prayer.   
Religion is a worldview that governs far more than explicit teachings about God.  It involves our entire moral code.  When you remove religion from a government, public life, our schools, you actually are replacing one moral code for another. 
So we have become a country of two basic moral codes: Christianity (often referred to under the word ‘traditional’) and secularism, which is another word for ‘making it up as we go along.’
Our country is polarized, because there are those who either still remember how we used to be or know from their reading that our country is not on the path set forth by our founders.  The other side is in a mad dash to reinvent our country through massive government spending to acclimate more and more people to government help while raising generations of children who only know the new rules about how to live, rules made up to make everybody feel good, like children growing up without parents, who eat what they want when they want, never disciplined or taught how they should live apart from these barest of principles.
A state untouched by religious (read: Christian) influence breeds corruption.  There is just too much power and money for the taking to be used however best serves one’s own interests. 
A government without God becomes God as it assumes responsibility for the success of its people where previously this was considered the individual’s responsibility.
Shouldn’t we assume that the people who wrote, debated, and ratified the First Amendment would know what it meant?  It should be noted that when the Constitution was written, there was no plan to have a bill of rights or First Amendment in the first place.  Alexander Hamilton, who worked on framing the Constitution and who wrote some of the Federalist Papers that made the case for our Constitution, wrote the following:
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.  Federalist no. 84
In other words, he is saying that a bill of rights would suggest that the government had power to restrict or grant rights in the first place, which it didn’t.  It had been also noted previously in the those Papers that
[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government.  Federalist no. 45  James Madison
After the Civil War, when Amendments to the Constitution were approved guaranteeing blacks the same rights as others in all the states, that same court saw this to mean as well that the Federal government could make laws regarding almost anything that then could be applied equally to all the states.  So amendments ratified to rectify matters related to slavery ended up giving the federal government more and more power over the daily lives of the people throughout the country.  I think the people who ratified the 13th – 15th Amendments would have done things a little differently if they knew how this court applied them to many different unrelated issues.
Four years prior to the ratification of the Constitution, the U.S. government approved The Northwest Ordinance, which outlined the rules for a number of pending new states, which reads in part:
"Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
So what does public education have to do with religion and morality?  Schools were considered vital in teaching young people about life and how to live.  The First Congress of the United States, the one that ratified the First Amendment, had Bibles printed to be used in all the public schools.  John Adams said that “we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”  And it was the schools that did this, with the help, of course, of strong families.
But schools dealt with the life issues of truth, how to live, and the foundations of Western Civilization.  Let’s assume, hypothetically here, of course, that there is a God.  Shouldn’t this be information that every human being should have?  This would change everything about how a person, or a country, lives its life or conducts its affairs.  How can schools not talk about God or pretend that there is none?  How can schools talk about human origins or the value of human life without talking about whether there is a God who made all this.  Schools are the places you should learn truth.  How can you learn truth if you already omit certain things. The conclusions one would reach would be vastly different, yet we aren’t allowed to even have this debate in school?  And we call this education?
George Washington, in his farewell address, warned, "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion... Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." 
That court that likes to call itself supreme stripped our country of the one thing that guaranteed our future as a nation.  Essentially the court said that the government could not have any connection with anything religious.  Later rulings worked to remove any last vestiges of religion.  Certain practices that have been around forever they have allowed because they are considered only symbolic, like their recent ruling on prayer before public meetings.  They don’t think anybody is praying because they believe that Somebody is actually listening to this prayer and might answer it.  They think the prayer is said only for our own psychological benefit, perhaps to calm the people before discussing the issues at hand.
Religion is no longer considered as something that is true or false.  They don’t think it corresponds to reality but is merely an expression of culture and personal taste.  No one is asking the question of whether there really is a God.  The government must act as if there is not.  People who work for the government, while they are “on the clock” must not show any semblance of a religious faith, lest it may seem to somebody that the government is somehow endorsing a particular belief about God.  Anything religious, whether it’s talking about God or doing something in His Name must be untouched by government money or association.
This ruling actually created the establishment of a new religion: secularism.  A religion is a system of beliefs about life.  Yes, we usually reserve that word for a belief system that includes (a) God, but when a court tries to separate anything governmental from religion, it replaces a system of beliefs about life that include God with a system of beliefs about life that does not include God. 
 There are those who believe the court’s action actually protects religion by keeping it from the influence of government.  But a government uninfluenced by religion must create its own value system, and we are seeing the fruits of it today in the massive government debt, corruption at every level of government, the disvaluing of human life as seen in the number of abortions and killings, the redefinition of societal norms contrary to our entire previous history, the breakdown of the family to give the government more control over the raising of our children, the shift from self-responsibility to government dependency, and a nation that used to lead the world by just about any standard used now becoming below average by most of these same standards. 
Where our society used to recognize The Ten Commandments, now we have only three: equality, fairness, and tolerance.   Love, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, honor, responsibility, and self-sacrifice didn’t make the cut.
We began by noting that we have three equal branches of government in our country, though actually in the beginning this court called supreme was considered the weakest of the three.  Now it has incorporated that word into its name and rules over the other two branches.  It certainly doesn’t create its own cases to rule on, but there are so many cases they are asked to rule on, they get to choose which ones.
Our country has lost its way.  Nine men closed down the road our country was on and told our country to forge a new way without the light and direction of God.  The nation that used to be the world leader, a light to the nations, is hardly a leader in anything anymore.  We let nine men remove the foundations on which our country was built, and the country is floundering.  They were wrong, and it is time to say so.
We don’t have a formal procedure for correcting mistakes like this.  And too many people accept the supreme decisions of that court as being the final word.  For now, it starts with people saying individually, no, the court was wrong.  There is a God.  And He needs to be at the center of life, my life, and the life of my country.  We cannot go on longer living as a country thinking that we don’t need God, His direction, His laws, His protection, His blessing, and His mercy.