The War on Religion

December 6, 2007

From Rep. Ron Paul, MD and lewrockwell.com.

“As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it’s hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn’t feel the same anymore. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and those who don’t celebrate it overwhelmingly accept and respect our nation’s Christmas traditions, a certain shared public sentiment slowly has disappeared. The Christmas spirit, marked by a wonderful feeling of goodwill among men, is in danger of being lost in the ongoing war against religion.

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

This growing bias explains why many of our wonderful Christmas traditions have been lost. Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel’s Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” Even wholly non-religious decorations featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, and the like have been called into question as Christmas symbols that might cause discomfort. Earlier this month, firemen near Chicago reluctantly removed Christmas decorations from their firehouse after a complaint by some embittered busybody. Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.”

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

                  

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Origins and Dangers of the ‘Wall of Separation’ Between Church and State

September 1, 2007

From Daniel L. Dreisbach and OrthodoxyToday.org.

“No metaphor in American letters has had a greater influence on law and policy than Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state.” For many Americans, this metaphor has supplanted the actual text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and it has become the locus classicus of the notion that the First Amendment separated religion and the civil state, thereby mandating a strictly secular polity.

More important, the judiciary has embraced this figurative language as a virtual rule of constitutional law and as the organizing theme of church-state jurisprudence. Writing for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948, Justice Hugo L. Black asserted that the justices had “agreed that the First Amendment’s language, properly interpreted, had erected a wall of separation between Church and State.” The continuing influence of this wall is evident in the Court’s most recent church-state pronouncements.

The rhetoric of church-state separation has been a part of western political discourse for many centuries, but it has only lately come to a place of prominence in American constitutional law and discourse. What is the source of the “wall of separation” metaphor so frequently referenced today? How has this symbol of strict separation between religion and public life become so influential in American legal and political thought? Most important, what are the policy and legal consequences of the ascendancy of separationist rhetoric and of the transformation of “separation of church and state” from a much-debated political idea to a doctrine of constitutional law embraced by the nation’s highest court?”

To read more click here.


New Words ‘under God’ in Texas Pledge Win in Court against Atheist Attack

August 30, 2007

From Free Market.

“An atheist couple from Carrollton filed suit against Governor Perry and the state of Texas over the new version of the Texas state pledge, which includes the words ‘ One State under God.’  The judge denied their request for an injunction in this first stage of the lawsuit.  Although students in school districts are allowed to leave the room or remain silent, Mr. and Mrs. David Croft argue their children are still injured by having to hear, or leave the room to avoid hearing the Texas pledge.  Citizens across the country have grown weary of these attacks on the religious heritage and nature of this country, as evidenced by the Texas Legislature’s passing of the new Texas Pledge and the new display of In God We Trust in the state House and Senate.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is defending the pledge alongside State Solicitor Ted Cruz, lays out a strong argument in the Dallas Morning News” 

From Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Dallas Monring News.

Greg Abbott: Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible

Those four words are new to the state pledge of allegiance, and, despite protests, they should stay

10:50 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

“As young Texans return to school this week, they are beginning their day by pledging allegiance to our state and nation. As they recite the Texas Pledge of Allegiance, they have four new words to say: “One state under God.” And those words should sound familiar; Americans have been saying the same in the U.S. pledge for more than 50 years.Unfortunately, a North Texas couple is suing the state in an attempt to overturn our state pledge. Professed atheists, they object to their children having to watch and listen as their classmates “engage in a ritual proclaiming that there is a God and that Texas is ‘one state under God.’ “As the state’s lawyer, I am committed to vigorously defending our pledge. And so far, we are succeeding. A federal district judge yesterday rebuffed the couple’s attempt to remove the phrase while the lawsuit proceeds through the court system.America’s founders crafted the First Amendment to guarantee the individual’s right to believe or not to believe in God, but that protection for the individual does not banish God from the public square. Quite the contrary. U.S. and Texas history clearly shows the founders seeking Divine guidance as they fashioned our system of government. And they publicly acknowledged that influence at every turn.

The 56 signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence appealed to “Nature’s God,” the “Supreme Judge of the world” and “divine Providence” and famously stated that all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” These acknowledgments of the Almighty continued unabated well into the early years of the Republic.”

To read the full article click here.


New York City’s Khalil Gibran International Academy: An Incubator for Islamist Radicalization?

August 29, 2007

From Richard Thompson and Family Security Matters.

The imminent opening of a publicly funded Muslim academy in New York City has raised questions about the double standard that exists when it comes to religion in our schools. FSM Contributing Editor Richard Thompson has an eye-opening report you won’t want to miss.

“A group of citizens is opposed to the September 4th opening of the publicly funded Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) by the New York City Department of Education. Claiming it is nothing more than a thinly disguised incubator for Islamist radicalization, the Thomas More Law Center will represent this group. KGIA, which will immerse its students in Islamic culture, has three fundamentalist Islamist imams on its Board of Advisors, as well as other promoters with connections to militant Islamic organizations.

This is not the first time the Thomas More Law Center has become involved in this kind of legal action. In 2002, the Law Center filed a federal lawsuit against California’s Byron Union School District because of its three week intensive course to teach seventh graders how to become Muslims. During the course, students took on Muslim names which they printed on name tags worn during class, were taught the five duties all Muslims must perform, were required to complete a project for each duty, and memorized verses and prayers from the Koran. They even played a game entitled “Jihad.”  

More recently, the Law Center’s public criticism of California’s Carver Elementary School for designating a special time and room so that the Muslim students could pray during school hours contributed to a change in that school’s policy.

This proposed public school is nothing more than an incubator for the radicalization that leads to terrorism, as an NYPD Intelligence Report recently warned Americans. Rather than use the public school system to assimilate Muslims and other immigrants into American culture, New York City is doing everything it can to keep them isolated – a target rich  environment for recruiting potential new homegrown terrorists and a recipe for a future 9/11 disaster, according to my read of the NYPD Report.

New York City School Chancellor, Joel Klein, who is aggressively promoting this Islamic school, is the same person who refused to allow two Christian students, a second and a fourth grader, to display a nativity scene during Christmas – another example of how political correctness is leading to a malicious double standard when it comes to religious expression in public schools.

The Law Center will act as co-counsel with attorney David Yerushalmi, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request on July 23, 2007 asking for more specific details about KGIA. Thus far, his requests have gone unanswered, leading to increased suspicion that the school as currently configured cannot meet state educational standards. Moreover, several factors, including an executive summary of the KGIA proposal, point to the school as an anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish propaganda center paid for by American tax dollars.

Some of the school’s promoters have ties to questionable Islamic organizations including CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations), an unindicted co-conspirator in cases dealing with the funding of terror, whose founder and chairman publicly stated in 1998: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

To read more click here.


How Now Shall We Live? By Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey

August 28, 2007

This is a MUST read for all Christians.  It is an incredibly powerful book that I highly recommend.  There is also a study guide for this book that I recommend as well.  This book examines the great spiritual battle today that is a cosmic struggle between competing worldviews.  The authors utilize true stories and compelling teaching to demonstrate the following:

– Expose false views and values of modern culture

– Live a more fulfilling life the way God created us to live

– Contend for the faith by understanding how nonbelievers think

– Build a society that reflects biblical principles

I ran across a review on amazon.com that I thought really did a great job of capturing the core of the book.  It is below.   

5 out of 5 Stars – The Way We See The World Can Change The World, June 21, 2006

“Centuries ago, when the Jews were in exile and despair, they cried out to God, “How should we then live?” The same question rings down through the ages. How shall we live today? Pearcey and Colson’s primary observation is that “the way we see the world can change the world.” (pg. 13) This is because our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, or good and beautiful. In short, our choices are shaped by what Pearcey and Colson call our “worldview.”Every worldview attempts to answer three basic questions: (1) Where did we come from and who are we? (2) What has gone wrong with the world? And (3) What can we do to fix it? According to Colson and Pearcey, the culture wars are not about extraneous issues like abortion or public education. Fundamentally, they are about worldviews–between competing secular and spiritual answers to those three basic questions.

The demise of objective truth, profoundly expressed in the halls of academia, also extends into the popular press and culture. The result has been a postmodern worldview which embraces relativism and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender, and ethnicity. Under this view, the world is just a power struggle for meaningless prizes. Their one absolute is that morality is not absolute. Other existing worldviews include “traditionalism,” found in many small towns filled with churches; and modernism, found among pragmatic social and business leaders interested in personal material gain, but less interested in philosophical questions and social issues. Against this backdrop, Christians are challenged to provide answers to those three basic questions in a compelling manner.

C. S. Lewis observed, “The Christian and the materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They both can’t be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.” Thus Colson and Pearcy observe that choices are not without consequences. The Christian worldview says we were created by God. Compelling evidence that life does not have a random origin can be found in the current arguments for intelligent design. Christianity claims that God created the universe with a material order and a moral order. If we live contrary to that order, we sin against God. Thus, what has gone wrong with the universe is human sin.

The way to redeem our culture is to help people realize which universe they’re living in. If it’s a materialist’s universe, then the answers don’t revolve around taking moral principles seriously. But if the real universe was made with a moral law (as Colson and Pearcey argue), then it stands to reason that the solutions to our problems begin with recognizing that fact, and taking steps to educate people in ways that will help them live lives that are not inimical to the way we were designed to live. This, Colson and Pearcey argue, is how we should live.”

For more information on Charles Colson visit his website at www.breakpoint.org and for more information on Nancy Pearcey visit her website at www.pearceyreport.com.


The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? By Dr. Voddie Baucham

August 28, 2007

This is an excellent introduction to understanding the culture/spiritual war that is raging in our society. 

The core message of this book is that we live in a post-modern/post-Christian culture that embraces all lifestyles and religions and rejects the idea of absolute truth.  Our faith is constantly challenged by a culture that uses words such as narrow-minded, intolerant, and bigoted to describe us. We must take a stand and challenge the culture instead of conforming to it.  We must use the unchanging truth of God’s Word to engage the culture for transformation.  As Dr. Baucham writes, “the unchanging truth of God’s Word still holds preeminence in relevance and answers to contemporary life issues” and “as followers of Christ, we must stand humbly but boldly in the marketplace of ideas and proclaim the truth to a culture void of everlasting answers”. 

Although the book is only 210 pages, Dr. Baucham covers a lot of ground and very effectively conveys his message in a simple, logical and relevant way.  This is a very important book for all Christians to read in order to begin to understand the dynamics of the culture war.  I highly recommend it.  For more information on Dr. Baucham visit his website at www.voddiebaucham.org.


The Founders got it right

July 17, 2007

From Stephen Mansfield and USAToday.

Religion now rests in a tortured place in society today, thanks largely to unfortunate and misguided rulings of the Supreme Court

“Two days after he wrote the famous words “separation between church and state” in an 1802 letter to Baptists in Connecticut , Thomas Jefferson began attending church — on the floor of the House of Representatives. He would attend the makeshift church in the national Capitol nearly every Sunday morning for the rest of his presidency. Clearly, his understanding of the connection between religion and government is not the one we endure today.

We should not be surprised. It was Jefferson, after all, who insisted upon the Bible as part of the curriculum at the University of Virginia, Jefferson who approved federal funding for a Catholic priest to serve the Kaskaski Indians, and Jefferson who once said, “I am a Christian in the only sense in which he (Jesus) wished anyone to be.” True, he was far from theologically orthodox, he expected most of the young men in his day to end their lives as Unitarians and he angrily despised the clergy of his day. Yet, contrary to the secular dreams of an influential few today, Jefferson envisioned a government that would encourage religion while neither submitting to nor erecting a religious tyranny.

Even if Jefferson had envisioned a secular state, it would have made little difference in the early history of our nation. It was not his words that carried the force of law — written as they were 14 years after the Constitution was ratified — but rather the 10 words that are undoubtedly the most tortured in our history: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” These words, the first 10 of our Bill of Rights, make the intentions of the Founding Fathers clear. Having just fought a war of independence against England and her state church, they had no intention of allowing the U.S. Congress the authority to erect a new religious tyranny to dominate their young nation. Instead, they denied Congress the power to create a national church. The states and the individual citizens, of course, were free to be as religious as they wanted to be.”

To read more click here.