Happy Independence Day!
Today is the 242nd anniversary of this great country of ours. It’s sad to think of how many of our fellow Americans have forgotten some of the principles this country was founded on. I am going to share some of them today.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Declaration of Independence
This is the first paragraph from the first document that started it all. Written by our Founding Fathers who believed in God and who believed that we were created by God, and we were made to be free. Some will argue this doesn’t say anything about God, but then who is their “Creator”?
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. – Declaration of Independence
This shows they believed that “Divine Providence” (aka God) was guiding them and protecting them and therefore our country.
Next, we have the most abused and misunderstood Constitutional Amendment of them all the Frist Amendment:
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 peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment, United States Constitution
Note the word “Separation” does not appear in this amendment. What it does say is our government can not force any of its citizens to practice one common religion or any religion at all. We are all allowed to practice the religion of our choosing, or none at all. It does not say freedom from religion but freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers came from a country where they were forced to join the official “State Church” whether they wanted to or not.
“But”, you say, “even Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Constitution said there must be a separation of church and state.” Well, not exactly. People refer to Jefferson’s “Letter to the Danbury Baptists Association“. First, we will read the paragraph where the term “Separation of Church and State” comes from, as well as establishing a wall between the two:
I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ʺmake no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,ʺ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
It certainly does say there should be a wall between the church and the state. But herein lies the problem, one needs to read the letter sent to Jefferson which has the question asked.
It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those who seek after power and gain under the pretense of government and religion should reproach their fellow men‐‐should reproach their order magistrate, as a enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dare not, assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make laws to govern the kingdom of Christ.
At the time of the letter, the state of Connecticut was trying to establish a state church, compelling its citizens to be members of it. The Baptist Association wanted Jefferson to clear up the matter. He confirms the state cannot force a religion on its citizens. He also says we are free to exercise the religion of our choice in public. In fact, he reiterates the government cannot establish laws saying we can’t put up manger scenes on the common, say prayers in school or at public meetings, force people to buy health insurance that pays for procedures against their religious beliefs or force anyone to perform any action against his religious beliefs.
The Declaration and the Constitution are pretty clear as they are written. It is clear what the writers intended and to try to change the meaning is wrong. God has blessed this country since its founding, but we, the people, have allowed the Evil One to change the rules. He wants to put God away where He can’t be seen. Today’s gospel reading is Mt 8:28-34. Jesus has just caused the demons to come out of two men and enter into a herd of hogs who then jump off a cliff into the sea. The people want Jesus to leave. Why? Because they don’t want someone to tell them what to do, they want to do what they want to. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
A word of warning to those who want to change the rules, be careful what you wish for, the alternative to freedom is captivity.
God bless America.