The Separation of Church and State has a just and noble purpose at its foundation. But it no longer stands on that foundation. Today it lays the groundwork for a cause it was never intended to support. I will show you how it has been distorted to bring about an end it was designed to avoid. Let's start with a discussion on communism.
Communism is bitter, black and bare. The blood, tears, and cries of broken nations have been seen and heard for decades. Communistic regimes have marred entire continents with their brutal ambitions. Proof litters the globe. And traditionally, we Americans could not imagine our own country would sink to such depraved depths. For the typical American, communism has been established in our minds as evil, wicked and wrong. Proof lives in history books and museums. For most of us, the evils of communism go without question.
Questions need to be asked. How is it born? What climate promotes a habitat for communism to germinate? What are the signs and precursors we should be aware of? We know what it looks like in the end. We’ve seen and heard the gruesome stories. The big picture is clear. But do we know what the beginning stages look like? How would we know when we are in the midst of it?
According to Karl Marx, in his Selected Essays, (Marx, pg 12) the beginning stage of communism is the elimination of God from culture. A leader in the Communist Party, Young Bolshevik, stated, “If a Communist youth believes in God and goes to church, he fails to fulfill his duties. This means that he has yet to rid himself of religious superstitions and has not become a fully conscious person” (Skousen, pg 307).
Bolshevik went on to explain how the foundation to success “is incompatible with religion” (Skousen, pg 306). To be a great nation, God and all religion must go. Success and prosperity cannot be shared with religion.
Lenin himself preached this same doctrine. He said, “We must combat religion, this is the ABC of all materialism” (Skousen, pg 307). Materialism here was simply the joy of possessions, the comfort and satisfaction of owning things.
The ruthless and lethal communist ideology starts with this. It begins with this one move: removing religion.
Many claim the “Freedom of Religion” protects us from ever marching down that road. But merely thinking we are protected is not good enough. This claim is wishful and shaky in these present times. It's true that this right is etched into the fabric of America’s foundation. Our Bill of Rights boldly declares the freedom of religion: one of America’s most enviable civil liberties.
Americans are proud of their rights and freedoms. The dignity of our flag rests on these rights. Our Founding Fathers warred for them, lived for them and died for them.
The Pilgrims of the Fourteenth Century yearned for these rights. Suffocating under state-controlled Church of England, they fled for their future. They endured the hardest of circumstances for the hope of reaching the New World, with the right to religious freedom as one of their deepest aspirations. Oppression and control of the Church by the State had been the ruin of their lives and the death of their dreams.
Those dreams were stirred from deepest sleep at the dawn of American liberties. Religious freedom was indeed granted to the citizens of the new nation. But what does this “right” look like today?
Can God be in America’s public educational systems? Can any State-funded institution endorse prayer? Can the Ten Commandments weigh in the decisions of court? Can a church hire or fire employees based on religious convictions? Can students promote or share their religious stances?
Sadly, in most cases, the answers to these questions are a clear and stable “no”. And, of course, the obvious reason is the “separation of church and state”. The Church has to be removed from the functions of the State if it is going to be effective. Right?
Wait. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Church removed? Religion removed?
First we must consider the original intent of the theory of separation. Of course the founders were not meaning to mimic the basis of communism when they proposed this concept. So what were they after?
This concept is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state.
To grasp this further lets take a look at the First Amendment. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion". To pass any legislation that prohibits the free exercise of religion, infringe the freedom of speech, bind the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or constrain the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances is clearly prohibited by this Amendment.
In considering this Amendment, and Jefferson’s reference to it, the context is crucial. It’s important to recall where the Danbury Baptist, along with most of the pilgrims, had just come from: England.
The Church of England was closely intertwined with the power and money of the Crown. This church was a far cry from the true nature of religion. Some would even say she was a wicked and perverse institution.
It has been said that the Church of England was more oppressive than any actual form of government in all of England’s legacy. History records the exploitation of the kingdom, money leeched from the poor, truth twisted to further greedy ambitions, and bloody power struggles taken out on the loyal. All this in the name of religion! Examples like the Crusades, Bloody Mary, The Inquisition and many more loom in the dark past of church and state relations.
All of these religious moves were enforced by the police power of the State. The ripped-off public was slave to the superstitions of a manipulative church, backed by the military force of the State. Devastation ravaged the people’s esteem of both church and state.
Clearly there was a need for Jefferson to reassure and reinforce the safety measures that had been taken to protect this nation from similar tragedy. The new republic’s commitment to keeping the influence of these two institutions separate was clear in policy and purpose.
Undoubtedly a state ruled by the Church becomes a wicked, dry and corrupt place. The same is true of a church controlled by the State. We’ve seen it proven through history that such a government offers little hope and progress. However, control is not the only option in the relationship between church and state.
Nowhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights does it say that our safeguard against such doom is to prohibit interaction between the Church and the State. Rather, that the control of either must be avoided.
I'm out of time and space at the moment. But this post topic will be continued shortly.