“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”
With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.
On Jan. 30, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction against the federal government’s health insurance contraceptive mandate to Grote Industries, a Catholic-owned business, reversing a lower court’s ruling that earlier dismissed the business’ lawsuit.
Grote, which creates vehicle components, is a family-owned company based in Indiana. The company self-insures its 1,148 full-time employees, and the Grote family objects to the mandate’s required coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization.
I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States. (Letter to Samuel Miller — 1808)
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sued the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to force the agency to crack down on churches. . . .
“Well, I think this is just further evidence that groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation or Americans United for Separation of Church and State are trying to use the Johnson Amendment in the tax code as a tool of intimidation to silence and censor churches,” contends Erik Stanley, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation argues that churches and religious organizations have become more involved in political campaigns, “blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions.”
The lawsuit, filed in Wisconsin, cites several examples, including full-page ads that ran this fall in The New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that featured a photo of renowned evangelist Billy Graham urging Americans to vote along biblical principles.
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitutes no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government. (Commentaries on the Constitution — 1833)
George Washington (1774):
“[T]he crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves.”
“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path.”
Samuel Adams on Voting:
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. (The Writings of Samuel Adams)
Matthias Burnett on Voting:
Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. (Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, Preached at Hartford, on May 12, 1803)
Noah Webster on Voting:
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. (History of the United States)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)
Christians should not only make disciples but also strive to be salt and light in this world. Therefore, it is an obligation to do good by voting in elections. Do you complain about the violations of the law of God and our Constitution? Do you hate the corruption of politicians and disagree with their ungodly decisions? It is easy, too easy just to talk and do nothing. As Christians we should contribute to the politics of the land we live in. We have the opportunity to make the glory of God visible in the United States by our participation. But, we must also be sure that we have the right motivation: Jesus Christ is our sovereign Lord and the entire world belongs to Him!
Statism: The modern administrative state entangles businesses in a suffocating web of regulations and laws. All of this red tape takes a toll on the economy, which in turn leads to fewer jobs being created. And fewer jobs mean fewer opportunities for those most in need of jobs.
The Collapse of the Family: The decline of marriage, especially among the poor, has devastating, long-lasting consequences on children and their prospects for success. When it comes to the American Dream, the family is not a tangential social or religious issue; it is a crucial economic one that is deeply intertwined with mobility.
The Dependency Fostered by the Welfare State: Far from eradicating poverty, the welfare state traps people in poverty by discouraging work and undermining the family.
The Erosion of our Culture of Work: By legitimizing indolence and devaluing hard work, our culture decreases the likelihood that the poor, who are most in need of sound cultural indicators, will take advantage of the opportunities America continues to offer.
The Failures of Public Education: Our failing public schools deny countless children the rudimentary skills they need to move ahead in the life.
The Looming Fiscal Crisis: Unless we change course, continued massive government spending and the surging public debt will destroy the foundations of our economy and put the American Dream beyond the reach of our children and grandchildren.
[T]he passion which we invest in Presidential elections, especially this Presidential election, is a very bad sign. Those who truly think that the current path we are on is imminently destructive should be throwing all their elective energy into Congress. The presidency should be, by comparison, much less important. . . .
In fact, the framers were so wary of a strong President that they didn’t even have him elected by popular vote. This interesting fact now makes us bristle with resentment, but the truth is that they were trying to prevent just the kind of short-sightedness, so often found in democracies historically, of the people wanting a king, an absolute dictator, a messiah, to save them from self-inflicted crises. . . .
We have given in to that temptation. As is predictable, our embrace of a strong President began historically with a crisis, the economic and social crisis, the crisis of the Great Depression. FDR answered the crisis by treating a deadly serious domestic problem as if it were a war. That allowed him to transfer the constitutionally-defined strong powers of the Executive, meant for real war, to a domestic crisis.
Filed under: Constitution, Education, Founding Fathers, Freedom, Government, History, Patriotism, Politics, Samuel at Gilgal | Tagged: Benjamin Wiker, Franklin D Roosevelt, Great Depression | 2 Comments »
“It’s time we stopped looking backward at how we got here. … We must reach out and appeal to the patriotic and fundamental ideals of average Americans who do not consider themselves ‘movement’ people, but who respond to the same American ideals that we do.”
From the Morning Bell:
Today, the federal government has acquired an all but unquestioned dominance over virtually every area of American life. It acts without constitutional limits and increasingly regulates our most basic activities, from how much water is in our toilets to what kind of light bulbs we can buy.
So while we face many challenges, the most difficult task ahead—and the most important—is to restore constitutional limits on government. Forty visionaries signed a piece of paper 225 years ago today that became one of the most vital documents in the world: the U.S. Constitution.
By design, it limited the power of government under the rule of law, created a vigorous framework that expanded economic opportunity, protected national independence and secured liberty and justice for all. But how is that limitation of powers working today?
Quoting Samuel Adams:
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that … he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”