Baptists turn 360 on Separation of Church & State?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Nevada, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. Nevada

    Nevada
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    I've read that 60 years ago, Southern Baptists were THE force behind "Americans United for Separation of Church and State". Whereas today, the denomination doesn't seem to put much value on keeping politics and religion separate.

    Is it because when America was young, Baptists still stung from attacks on -them- by other faiths, which were in good with pre-US governments? Also, immigration by Roman Catholics had everyone worried they'd be taxed to support Catholic schools.

    Is this the case? What happened?
     
  2. Salty

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    I'm sure you have herd that the some say the Constitution requires a separation of church and state. That is just not the case. Rather, Baptists among others insisted that the affairs of the govt stay out of the business of the church. Unfortunately in the past years, the SCOUS has improperly changed the meaning of the 1st amendment to the point that the govt wants to run the churches.
    Basically, Christians insist that this country maintain high moral values - eg pro-life; marriage is one man w/ one woman; welfare is the responsibility of the church, not the govt and ect.

    When it comes to straight politics, I don't think you will see a minister on a Sunday morning preach about term limits, official language, split Upstate from NY City, and ect.
     
  3. Ruiz

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    I think the difference in the early Baptists ideals of separation of church and state and that of the 20th Century is different. Here are some of my thoughts.

    1. The Freedom of Religion clause was a result of religious beliefs. Baptists were not against influencing policy, but they were against having the state dictate what we should believe and how we should act. They were also against state religions. They were not against us trying to influencing policy.

    2. The establishment clause did not negate a Christian worldview in government. In fact, I would say that without a worldview based upon Christianity, it is impossible to have a view of law or morals. Thus, religion does have her base in our law and morals but religion should not be established by the state.

    Okay, these are my thoughts.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    Just a thought about your subject. If they turn 360 degrees, they would be back where they started.

    What is the stance or stances you think that Baptists have changed on?
     
  5. rsr

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    Because this thread was started by a non-Baptist, it is being transferred to another forum so he may comment and answer questions.
     
  6. BobRyan

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    Excellent summary.

    The term "separation of church and state" means two different things depending on what age you consider the topic.

    In the late 1800's the proposed Blair ammendment sought to create a legally inforced reverence for Sunday. This is a religious matter of worship being enforced by the state. The same goes for any laws that dealt with baptism. Regulating worship practices is the source of the dark ages crimes against humanity.

    Legislation of the first 4 commandments is a true violation of what was inititally called the divide between church and state.

    But Legislation of some form of the last 6 commandments is not considered to be a violation and even appealing to the commandments themselves to justify laws regarding those actions is valid.

    In fact - you can find the symbol for the Ten Commandments placed all around the U.S Supreme court building, on the doors to the entry and above the chief justice' chair in the courtroom.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    I am not a Southern Baptist but I believe the difference is due to a difference in how the State addresses this issue now in contrast to 60 years ago.

    Now, the state defines separation as the complete removal of public expression of religion. Sixty years ago it was a matter of State intrusion into religion. Hence, sixty years ago the demand of separation to keep the state out of the affairs of religion, now to keep the state from denying public expression of religion

     
  8. Salty

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    We wont hold that against you :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. Alcott

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    True, Baptists have come a long way from the beginnings in England, where they were beaten and imprisoned by the church-state that produced the KJV Bible, and in America where the dominant church did them the same way, depending on the particular colony or location. So they were "free church in a free state" pioneers, and stood by that through the Revolution, and the gradual elimination of state-established churches like Congregationalists in Massachusetts and Connecticutt. But in the public school movement, which began in the mid-19th century, I don't see that they opposed using the Bible as a major textbook, or prayer to begin the day. Catholics, growing in numbers, did of course oppose Protestant prayers and Bible readings, so the Baptists also opposed using public funds for exclusively Catholic schools. It seems to be in that context where Baptists had begun to view a complete separation of religion from all government entities meaning that their children would not have their values reinforced in their children's formal learning-- remember something about It takes a Village?

    So public schools are 'where it's at' in the minds of Baptists, as well as most everyone else, in shaping the meaning of 'separation of church and state.' Is teaching devoid of God godless? By definiation, yes. And, of course, there is the debate about what the Constitution really says and requires. The 1st Amendment certainly has not always meant that the states could give no privileged position to a religious view or institution, as some still retained established churches well into the 19th century. But it was only in the mid-20th century that the 14th Amendment and its "equal protection" clause was used to force any state action into the category of the 1st Amendment's "Congress shall make no law..." equivalency.

    By the time I went to school there was no more prayer or Bible reading in class, but there was prayer before football games and at graduations, and I remember the P.T.A. invited local ministers to deliver a devotional at their monthly meetings. Baptists were certainly involved in these things, and this was years before what they call the "conservative takeover" of the SBC. So I think the issue is not as polar as it if often made out to be.
     
  10. Alcott

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    BTW it's worth noting that the original name of the organization called Americans United for Separation of Church and State was Protestants and Others United for Separation of Church and State.
     
  11. Nevada

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    I think 60 years ago it was the same as today. Well, in the Founding Fathers' day, several were identical to the separationists of today.

    A few examples:

    The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified unanimously by the Senate, states that the USA is not founded upon the Christian religion.

    At the Constitutional Convention, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson opposed opening prayer, in contrast to Benjamin Franklin. Before it could be decided, the Constitution was completed and everyone went home. So, it was written without any opening prayer.

    During a cholera epidemic, President Andrew Jackson was asked by clergy to proclaim a national day of prayer. He refused, saying it was not the job of the federal government.

    In his autobiography, Thomas Jefferson wrote that he wanted the USA to become home to "hindoos", "Mahamatans" and "infidels".

    So, in this regard, some prominent Founders would look like Liberal Democrats, today.

    My main question, however, is when and how did the Southern Baptists turn away from organizations such as Americans United, which many of them had supported for years?
     
    #11 Nevada, Jun 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2010

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