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A Christian Nation … A nation can never be a ‘christian.’ The legal entity called a ‘nation’ is not a being. The head of a ‘state’ is not that ‘state’ either. A nation or the state was not made in the image and likeness of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; nor can they ever be. A nation can however be made up of christians, and the governance of the same by christians.

Therefore, for a nation to be christian its citizen membership must be christian. And for its citizen membership to be christian they must be examples of the Christ who is Jesus, son of Mary, son of God, Messiah as prophesied.

To understand what the above two paragraphs mean, one must understand what is a ‘christian.’ The Judeo-Christian Bible states that it was in Antioch that those who followed Jesus the Crucified and Resurrected Christ were first called ‘christian’ – from the Greek, one who is like the anointed.

From a slur to a badge of honor, the moniker ‘christian’ has stuck as a name to all of those who follow Jesus Christ as savior and as lord.

To follow after Jesus truly, one must walk with Him to the cross and die: die to sin, die to self. After the cross came life. All those who believe accept in their heart that at the cross their every sin [acts of separation from God the Father] were put on trial, condemned to death, and laid upon Jesus who took on our separation and just punishment that we might live. Jesus took upon himself our sin, our shame, our just punishment, and died that He might overcome sin, death, and the grave to be Lord of All. On the third day He arose in His flesh, resurrected mortal flesh to put on immortality. He ascended to the Father to finish the sacrifice and to take His place in Heaven. He returned to Earth to confirm His witness that all of these things had been done just as the prophets of old had said. He walked among us 40 more days then was ascended to His place at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He did not leave us orphans but gave us His Holy Spirit at Pentacost – a baptism of the Holy Spirit and of Fire.

To each who walks in the fullness of what Jesus sacrificed all to give, to them has been given the power to save the nations for Christ Jesus. To them has been given the power to change nations one person at a time until the whole nation walks with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. To them has been given the power to convert nations into a Christian Nation. Amen.

[Also posted at the group A Christian Nation here.]

© 2008 Dave Doc Rogers

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Essays: Church and State … There Can Be No Separation

by Dave “Doc” Rogers

 

There has arisen in recent years a resurgence of ‘anti’ Church rhetoric and that mainly surrounds the oft misquoted sources for the term ‘Separation of Church and State.’ That misquoting most notably starts with the US Supreme Court in their 1878 decision Reynolds v. United States whereby they misquote President Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists Association of Connecticut.

 

Litigants are typically not historians nor are they English majors. Preferentially, they will choose those bits of English stated commentary that best support their position rather than looking at the content and intent as a whole. The onus is upon the hearer or reader to validate intent and use rather than present their stated arguments in validation and contextual truth. It’s not lying if it is omission and it’s not lying if you don’t tell the whole story. It is deception through omission but that doesn’t get prosecuted too heavily.

 

What they do not tell you is the why things were written. What other missives were penned or pressed or lived that lead to the decisions made, voiced, penned, pressed. Sadly, American education seriously lacks in this area. Okay, caveat. Maybe it was just my educational experience that was sadly lacking through the institutions in whose classrooms I sat for instruction. But, I seriously do not think so. I have observed too many and discussed the processes with too many “students” to accept my experience as unique.

 

In this essay, I will explore what are Church, State, separations, why, and why it cannot be. It will be perspectives based but more broadly than most protagonists would like it to be. A chasing of truths rather than personal agenda, if you would allow.

 

Let us build a foundation, shall we? Let us start with Jefferson since most arguments like to use his statements as a head of state and co-penner of things constitutional or otherwise around the formative years of the United States of America.

 

Thomas Jefferson, the third POTUS, was an integral instrument in the language of the founding ideals of this country. He served Virginia, the Continental Congress, the Federation, and the United States well and in several roles. One of his roles was as Secretary of State under the Washington administration. This role was influential upon him as it had him traveling to Europe to interface with the kingdoms there to gain their support and recognition of the fledgling USA.

 

The state of Jefferson’s Europe was one divided by kingdoms, principalities, and churches. In some cases, the king and kingdom were subservient to the church and church leaders; in others, the king was titular head of the church. This is the world to which Jefferson was thrust and lived for a span of time. He saw first hand the effects of a ‘state’ that controlled the ‘church’ and a ‘church’ that controlled the ‘state.’ Neither situation was desirable.

 

At this point in human history, there really had not been a form of government like unto what was being put forward by the USA. Certainly, there had been forms of democracy but nothing to the order of the “Grand Experiment,” as the US’s government was being referred. Rather than having a singular sovereign or even a patron class, all citizens were considered equal. Yes, even in the original documents it was inferred all Man; however, economics and politics changed the verbiage to what would be acceptable for the fledgling nation to stay together. That last bit is a different argument for a different time.

 

Jefferson returned home more fully convinced our constitutional government was a correct form of government. His efforts as a statesman, governmental minister, Governor, Secretary of State, Vice President, and President bear that out.

 

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, famously known as one of the amendments within the Bill of Rights, states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

We will key on the phrase ‘shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ This statement was included in the US Constitution due to the influence of the State in religious matters elsewhere in the world. Basically, in other countries if you were not of the ‘approved’ religion then you could be jailed or sentenced to death. And, that happened frequently in Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. So having the freedom of religion in the USA was keenly important to the people who lived within the fledgling nation. Burning or imprisoning heretics became illegal.

 

In the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, there is mentioned in Article 11 the statement that the USA “…is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen…” This statement was made due to the climate of the times. In recent memory of the Muslim people, the ‘christian nations’ of Europe declared holy war against the Muslim people, so the Muslim people were getting even. The ‘christian nations’ were those governed by the christian church that ordered them to go. The USA argument was it was not a ‘christian nation’ governed as those others were. It didn’t help. There was still war until Jefferson’s term as POTUS. But, the term ‘christian nation’ does not apply to the USA. Its government is not ‘christian.’ Its population is.

 

The treatment of individuals by a government is a concern for the citizens of the USA. Their relatives still in Europe are still being persecuted for their particular brand of religious belief; oddly enough, for variations in Christianity too. So, at the time of penning, the letter to the Danbury Baptists Association, there was still concern that the government would forego the commitments of the Constitution and institute a State religion as with most countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America outside of the US. This Jefferson addresses in the main paragraph of his letter.

 

“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, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people 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 & State. 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.”

 

Reference:

Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, source Library of Congress

http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

 

The ‘separation’ so mentioned was to keep the State out of the Church; not keep the Church out of the State. You would never be able to convince a bunch of Baptists that they have no part and parcel in their government, but Jefferson could convince them as POTUS that the government would have no part or parcel in the directing and controlling of the Church; or in their case, Baptists in Connecticut.

 

That has sense been misinterpreted.

 

There is a well funded, vocal, vociferous, minority segment of the US that opposes in the strongest terms possible Christianity. I am not certain of the sources of these animosities, in majority. They probably predate me anyways. Suffice it to say that they do not like the Judeo-Christian god and they think it is ‘cool’ to bash, naysay, negatively prey upon, and generally deride anything that has to do with this Judeo-Christian god. I really think it has a lot to do with the basic tenants as stated in the Judeo-Christian Bible more than anything else. That is a different argument for a different time.

 

The vocal minority would have everyone believe that most of the founding fathers of the USA were atheists, agnostics, deists … anything but Christians. They are actually wrong, but believe by volume they can shout down their opposition and rewrite history to their versions. I have discovered that those who protest too much are compensating. Me? I just refuse to be shut up anymore. You are going to have to deal with that, not me.

 

David Barton and his partners at Wall Builders [http://www.wallbuilders.com] are working to clarify some of those misinformed, partially mentioned, or completely overlooked statements.

 

Now we get to the Church and why there can be no separation from government … no separation of the Church in government but yes to separation from Government in the Church.

 

First, what is the Church? At the outset, it is not an international organization headed from a far with oversight of earthly governments. That doesn’t play so well in the USA. What it is is people. Bad English but it clarifies.

 

When we as a people forget that the Church is the people, we fail. There is a parallel and I think therein lies part of the confusion.

 

The Government is the people. The Church is the people. But … this is important … the Church is not the Government and the Government is not the Church. Whew… chew on that for a bit.

 

To better understand the Christian concept of Church, you have to look at the sources of the etymology … word usage. The word ‘church’ shows up in the New Testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible. It is the word ekklesia. This word denotes a called out or called up group of equals who sit in decision and nominate/elect their leaders. Without this turning into a Bible Study, one of the aspects of the Messiah was that the government would be on his shoulders; hence he had an ekklesia of his own. As Jesus said, his government was not of this world, so his ekklesia was not for this world either. There is another aspect to Judeo-Christian theology. They were given a mandate at the outset of Man to rule, reign, and have dominion over this world. If you get enough of these people together, they will need earthly organization or government.

 

For the purposes of this essay, the Church is one body of people whose membership can also be within the body of people who provide oversight and governance. Therefore, I argue there can be no separation of Church & State. The State has no right or authority over the Church by the mandates of its constitutional amendments. The authority of the Church consists and is limited to the rights of its individual membership to seek out and pursue governance for themselves; and within the USA that governance is in accordance with the Constitution, its individual and entirety Amendments; and the Constitutions and or Charters of individual States within the entirety of the USA, its municipalities, frontiers, territories, and commonwealths.

 

As Abraham Lincoln famously closed his Gettysburg Address, “…; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 

 

Source:

Library of Congress Online

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits.gadd/gadrft.html

 

For establishments of argument, the Church is a body of believers of a religious practice and not an alien governmental body influenced by an external, earthly head of an alien state or governing body. In like manner, the Government is not an instrument unto itself but is respondent, accountable, and consistent of its legal citizenry regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or national origin. The dictates of governmental documents hold those many and individual citizenry serving within the Government at the same liberty and constraint that it provides and withholds to all its citizenry. The Church can be in the Government. The Government cannot be in the Church. The Church does not have rule over the Government except by those individual and severally members exercising their due processes as ordained to them through this Constitution of the USA; and the Constitutions and or Charters of individual States within the entirety of the USA, its municipalities, frontiers, territories, and commonwealths.

 

With that said, the Church is not, cannot be, separate from the Government of these United States of America. Anything contrary to this position is actually unconstitutional by USA constitutional standards.

 

Accept it.

 

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