What the Church and State Battle Is Really About
by Bishop Council Nedd II (bio)
What would happen if a presidential candidate stood up and declared the primary role of our federal government is to preserve the rights given to man by God?
Presumably, they would be ridiculed by late-night talk show hosts while left-wing bloggers would classify the statement as a hate crime and demand that the candidate face prosecution.
Yet that is exactly what the Declaration of Independence proclaims:
"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. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
Notice the word "Creator." It is spelled with a capital C. The signers of the Declaration weren't proclaiming that our rights came from some unknown entity, that they mystically developed because of a giant explosion eons ago or that they are handed down to us by very educated justices confirmed with the behest of Ted Kennedy and his cohorts on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Founding Fathers declared that our rights come from THE Creator. To them, government is merely a mechanism for man to preserve those rights.
That's why it is so alarming that an organization that dares call itself the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been waging a war against a county courthouse in Slidell, Louisiana, because a judge posted a picture of Jesus holding the New Testament with the words "To know peace, obey these laws" displayed under it. Judge James Lamz hung the Eastern Orthodox religious icon almost ten years ago and has never heard a complaint about it, but the ACLU believes it is against the law.
If our laws are designed to protect our rights and our rights are given to us by God, what's so bad about a picture of Jesus and the suggestion that people obey the law?
For most ordinary Americans, there's nothing wrong with that. In southern Louisiana, there is no nefarious plot being hatched to impose a national religion and turn the United States of America into a theocracy. But the ACLU would surely like us to think otherwise.
The debate over the separation of church and state is actually an attempt to scare Americans. The ACLU's apparent thinking that a child who is allowed to say a prayer at school today may tomorrow be forced by the FBI to say the rosary is ridiculous, and they surely know it. But promoting a totally irrational fear is the only way for them to have their way.
The likely true concern of the left-wing zealots is that they cannot win an honest debate: a serious debate about the very meaning and purpose of government. In the eyes of most ordinary Americans, the United States is a unique nation - formed not out of a common ethnic heritage, but out of the idea that man and his governments ultimately answer to a compassionate God. The rights of man are inviolable gifts from the Almighty and are not subject to the whims of government.
But the American left simply will not accept that there is a higher power to which we are all responsible. To them, this life is all there is and whoever dies with the most power wins. Civil rights are whatever those in power say they are. Political power is all that counts and anyone and anything that stands in the way of their quest to secure more and more of that power is to be attacked and vilified.
So while Americans must defend the good people of Slidell, Louisiana and every other locality under attack by the radical left, it is important to remember what is truly at stake. Is the United States to remain "one nation under God," or are we to abandon our rights and our national heritage to the forces of big government?
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Project 21 member Council Nedd II, the bishop of the Chesapeake and the Northeast for the Episcopal Missionary Church, is the honorary chairman of In God We Trust (http://www.ingodwetrustusa.org) - a group formed to oppose anti-religious bigotry. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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