America's Christian roots

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Revmitchell

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    ...........In the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers acknowledged God as our country's Divine Protector. In an 1844 U.S. Supreme Court case, the Court said, "Why may not the Bible and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the [school]?...Where else can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"

    Without the Bible, we would have no values and ideals. We would have anarchy in this land. Yet that is exactly what secularists are trying to do by ripping out the cross from public life, from hiding prayers at public and even private events, and by silencing Christians from freely speaking biblical truths. These so-called forward thinkers are dismantling over 200 years' worth of Bible-based freedoms and exchanging them for liberal dependence on a secularized government.

    Before God fully removes His protection and blessings from this nation, we must repent of our apathy regarding the state of this union. We must no longer be content with what politicians tell us is the fate of our country, but rather we must unite in prayer to bring back the biblically based ideals which founded this nation.

    More Here
     
  2. JohnDeereFan

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    Couldn't agree with you more. Or, as our church sign puts it, "How can we ask God to bless America when America refuses to bless God?"

    My kids and I are going through a terrific book right now by David Brog, called "In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity" that deals with a lot of the issues you're talking about. I strongly recommend it.
     
  3. Paul3144

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    I'm a Baptist, so I believe that church and state should be separate. In the words of the Southern Baptist Convention:

    "We stand for a free church in a free state. Neither one should control the affairs of the other. We support the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, with its 'establishment' and 'free exercise' clauses.

    We do, of course, acknowledge the legitimate interplay of these two spheres. For example, it is appropriate for the state to enact and enforce fire codes for the church nurseries. It is also appropriate for ministers to offer prayer at civic functions. Neither the Constitution nor Baptist tradition would build a wall of separation against such practices as these."
     
    #3 Paul3144, Jul 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2010
  4. Winman

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    I posted this in another thread, Connecticut's original constitution shows it was founded to promote Christianity.

    So, don't let folks tell you our country did not have Christian roots.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    Are we to understand that our Baptist forefathers meant to separate Christ Jesus from the nation as is the case in America? Are we to understand that the separation of Church and State is a separation of God from the country so that the nation civil is godless?

    Or are we rather to understand that our nation is not to uphold one denomination as a state religion?

    I think the later.
     
  6. windcatcher

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    IMO,

    The principle of separation lies in the use of control and funding.

    Every church, every religion, should have the right in this free country, to govern itself and to fund (support) itself by the people who attend and get spiritual comfort, and guidance from it. The state has no right to meddle on issues which are not clearly areas of gross risks or neglect of public safety, criminal misconduct, or promoting violence and aggression against the community or state.

    The state has no right to determine what the preacher may preach. The state has no right to determine limits on a congregation concerning what issues and policies they will or will not support or endorse...... even politicians.... if a collective body so desires. It is within the religion itself and the leadership of each faith to determine the relevance and relationship between the spiritual and the physical maifestation of its faith in action.

    Because each religion owes its offerings to God or some diety or power and should be assumed to go towards promotion and instruction in its form of spirituality, it should not be the purpose of the state to meddle into or tax the funding or impose goverance over that which is spent for such conduct. The limits of the state should be upon the people themselves... who are already taxed on all their earnings (specific deductibles not withstanding which are by law, either present or absent).

    Thus the state or government should have very little cause for intrusion into the religions and the bodies of assemblies so gathered, nor have the right to determine what is or is not related to spiritual instruction or conduct within such bodies, or judge it based upon politics of majorities or minorities, agreement or dissent.

    Each religion should have the right to openly petition any official regarding any complaint or beneficiary service it believes will serve its interest of separation and equal protection, or serve the community at large without consideration as to belief; as should any individual. No religion should have the right to back by the funding used to support it, a candidate running for office, or attack a candidate running for office. This however should not prevent a religious body's finacial support to the education of the general public on those issues or interest which it deems favorable or unfavorable to the spiritual life of its people and the wellfare of its community. The fact that a particular candidate may or may not be associated with such issues is beside the point so long as it is the issues supported or opposed and not the personality. However, this should not be construed to prevent a preacher from the pulpit or a teacher in a class of religious instruction from openly naming an official or candidate as a material example of persons in presenting a spiritual concept or instruction.

    IMO,
    It is in the best interest of the state to encourage the spiritual developement and health of its people by exercising restraint from unnecessary regulations, license, or governance. It is for the people whether in small or large communities to determine by their own natural demographics what is expressed and supported by them within their own communities as religious assemblies, and they have no right to police or restrict the similar right of others within their communities due to differences or based on minority or majority presence in the community. The state has the right to try and make judgements regarding when the action of one body is limiting the action of another by its influence upon laws or codes which would not have existed except for purpose of exclusion or obstruction of religious expression. The state has no authority to endorse and support a particular religion nor the authority to oppose a particular religion. The state should have the authority to encourage spirituality in its people through such examples as prayers offered as an individual's expression of his own spiritual affirmations or lack thereof, without restriction, and if kept as a regular 'exercise', the state should exercise the diligence to see that in such cases, an opportunity is presented from time to time for various religions, expressive of the diversity within its people are given a similar format.... whether called 'prayer' or 'a reading' or any similar form of expression. In all such cases, it is suitable for the state to expect from all present, the decorium of those in attendance a quiet and polite respect, regardless of their agreement or disagreement; However, it should not be within the power of the state to force a compliance, participation, or force the presence of any individual: Not withstanding, all those present in official capacity should be expected to remain present in the attitude of politely quiet respect, whether agreed or not, and allowed to participate as individuals or not as each sees fit (as in the bowing of head, closing of eyes, kneeling, recitation or chant, etc.).

    The first ammendment is, imo, a restraint upon the government and freedom to the people as individuals and collectives, for determination of their own religious expression. To the extent that religion supports the emotional strength and health of people who are also spiritual, and encourages the peace in and among them, it is proper that it be included in a format of expression publicly and taken as such example instead of looking upon it as an endorsement or advancement of any private persuasion.

    Yes, a person should have the right, if he is Christian, to represent his Christian failth by praying in the name of Jesus, w/o restriction as much as a muslim to Allah etc., or a Catholic to cross himself.

    However, I would say in defense of the Christian faith, there is no other religion, imo (but I would challenge those who would protest otherwise to make proof of it), that most clearly and directly holds up the value of human life, the reverence for God and belief in an authority which follows us to judgement or reward regardless of the secrets or knowledge kept from others, allows for the exercise of free-will, promotes personal responsibility, and trusts in the consequences of those in nature and those in God's sovereign judgement, to be self limiting factors upon the corruption within mankind: and for these reasons as well as many others, it is the only real foundation for the peaceful providence of a people who desire to live in freedom and have choices which can bring them happiness and prosperity.
     
  7. Bob Alkire

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    To a point this is what I was taught in HS, college and seminary. No state church as the Church of England.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Ah, someone has pulled out the old Vidal V. Girard's Executors case, but they don't name specifically name it because it would be too easy to look up and get the whole story.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    Sure.

    The vast majority of the original 13 colonies were established with church and state firmly connected, just like good old mother England. That shouldn't be a surprise.

    The real surprise is that Rhode Island was established with a separation of church and state by Roger Williams (a Baptist) according to his New Testament convictions.

    Williams described this relationship as, "[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world" in his book, The Bloody Tenent of Persecution in 1644. Many years later when Thomas Jefferson took up his pen to write the Danbury Baptist Association to discuss the relationship between church and state, he echoed Williams words to assure the Baptists that their desire for church and state to be separate was also his conviction.

    The rejection of the New Testament understanding of separation of church and state by Baptists is a fairly recent one. I suspect it has to do with the general ignorance of theology and history (especially religious history) of most Baptists in the pews today.

    George W. Truett's 1920 address from the steps of the capitol building is a good place to get a sense of where the mainstream of Baptists used to stand on this issue.
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    No.

    It is impossible for humankind to "separate" Jesus from anything.

    However, it is certainly possible for our Baptist forefathers to establish a secular government that is neutral toward religion - neither promoting it nor restricting it - among the citizenry. In other to maintain neutrality, the government should not, in principle, use its influence, resources (including taxpayer funds), or position to "assist" or restrict any religion.

    The working out of the details is obviously more complicated than that (think chaplains for the military serving in remote locations, etc.) and there is overlap for practical matters (fire protection for church-owned structures in a city), but the principle is sound.

    No.

    Again, humankind is not capable of separating God from anything.

    I don't know what "the nation civil" is, but if you are referring to a nation's civil government organization being "godless", then I'd have to say yes. Only human beings can have a relationship with God, not organizations. Organizations are legal and social structures established by humankind to regulate and structure activities. People should not use the power of a government or organization to enforce compliance to or support of a religious view upon another person.

    If by "the nation civil" you are referring to the nation's civilians, then God does not need (or want) the approval or endorsement of any government to interact with humankind. Moreover, while a government may be able to enforcement a level of outward conformity to religious sentiment and behavior, the heart and conscience of a person cannot be controlled by government.

    Separation of church and state does not make a nation's people "godless" by any means.

    This view is in direct opposition to hundreds of years of Baptist thought and (in my opinion) the ideals of scripture.
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I agree with the consensus of this post. I have wondered lately where this Baptist drive toward involvement with the state has come from. It has not been our heritage.

    Is it really our job as the Church to attempt to reform the state?

    Good quote from your link.

     
    #11 NaasPreacher (C4K), Jul 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2010
  12. billwald

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    How does one define "country?"

    Is pre-war Japan the same country as post-war Japan? It is a different world!

    The US of the Articles of Confederation is not the same country as the US of the Constitution. The form of government is completely different.
     
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    Well, it is surprising to me to hear folks think that our forefathers sought a secular state or government, or that what is meant by the separation of church and state meant a separation from Chrisitanity in the state.

    My understanding was that they advocated and fought for a separation of a church-state, not the influence of the Bible or sound Christian teaching and governing, but that a single denomination would not be the state-church.

    But for the governers and leaders of our nation to be bible-beleiving Christians, and to particularly to exclude papists from office seems plainly clear to me from history.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    Strawman alert!
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    Granted, it’s not a popular message among Baptists nowadays. Revisionist historians like David Barton and popular preachers tend to teach the opposite.

    Not sure what you mean by this phrase so I can’t comment on it.
    I think this is one of the misunderstandings that arises when someone advocates the separation of church and state. Christians who support separation of church and state believe they are fighting FOR the influence of the Bible and sound Christian teaching. We believe that a melding of church and state undermines the influence of the scripture and the gospel message. We believe that Christian message and practice suffer from government influence and “assistance” and can stand on its own merits.

    Actually, the Constitution specifically forbids religious tests as a basis for holding office (see also Torcaso v. Watkins), although many states (for instance, Tennessee) had provisions in their constitutions FORBIDDING members of the clergy (not just Roman Catholics) from holding office. Fortunately, I believe all of those have been struck down.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    Liberals unlike Barton are the ones who revise history. It is the only way they can "progress" their "Fellow Travelers" agenda.
     
  17. ReformedBaptist

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    I have a book at home by Isaac Backus called 'Church, State, and Calvinsim" that I will take a look at. He lived at the time when Baptists were being persecuted and fought for the separation of church and state.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    Aparantly not all founders agreed then.

    This was written by Samuel Adams entitled 'The Rights of the Colonists" in 1772. http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html

    Mr. Adams felt that the Papists were subversive to a free people.
     
  19. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, Isaac Backus is a tremendous example to study. His experience, as well as the experience of many other early Baptists in the Colonies, laid the foundations for separation of church and state.
     
  20. Baptist Believer

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    You're absolutely correct.

    Just like today, there were many different opinions. That's why it is possible for some folks like Barton, D. James Kennedy, and others to gather an impressive body of out-of-context quotes for their side and present it as the whole story.

    You should be suspicious anytime someone says, "The Founders believed..." because they are likely only going to tell you one side of the story.

    Thanks for the link. I'll read it tonight when I get home from work.
     

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