[8]        Politics (2): Church & State

Background:

In 2002, a divorced atheist father in California said his daughter objected the inclusion of the word “God” in the Pledge of Allegiance (“one nation under God”) which students recite everyday. The ACLU supported his claim. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the word should be deleted. A public outcry followed. The daughter and her mother (who has custody of the girl) publicly denounced the lawsuit and said they are Christians. The Congress immediately passed a law to affirm the use of the word “God”. In December 2003, the lawsuit was heard by the US Supreme Court.

In Canada, a homosexual Member of Parliament proposed to delete the word “God” from the Constitution of Canada. In many places, the term “Christmas tree” is now banned, to be replaced by “holiday tree”; “merry Christmas” becomes “season’s greetings”.

38.  What is the meaning of separation of church and state?

a.   Origin of the phrase “separation of church and state”:

·         There is actually no such phrase in the US Constitution. It was created by the US Supreme Court in a 1947 ruling.

b.   Meaning:

·         The Constitution simply prohibits the establishment of religion by the government, meaning that there should not be a state religion, but at the same time, there should be no interference from government on the free exercise of religion. The Constitutional amendment explicitly speaks about free exercise of religion by the citizens. Therefore the restrictions are imposed on the government only. It does not restrict the influence of religion on government.

·         But this landmark ruling, which describes “a wall of separation” between church and state, laid the legal foundations for the systematic removal of religion from American public life. The “wall” metaphor, in particular, provided the rationale for judicial decisions censoring religious expression in schools, stripping public spaces of the Ten Commandments, and excluding religious communities from full participation in civic life.

·         This US-based principle has been used widely by humanist to marginalize Christianity.

39.  Why do secular humanists insist on the “separation of church and state”?

a.   Secular humanists routinely use some popular slogans to brainwash every citizen to limit the influence of religion and thus monopolizing their religion (as secular humanism is itself a religion) and totally controlling how the government is run.

b.   The common slogans include:

(1)  “Separation of church and state”: The slogan is used to exclude God from all public institutions and ultimately from human society.

·         The reality is: when any mention of God or religion is prohibited in the classroom, humanism (which teaches man is God) and secularism (which encourages antagonism toward religion) are taught to our children by default and become the society’s new religion. If we do not help them to establish a firm foundation in our faith, they will become secular humanists themselves.

(2)  “We (or the government) cannot legislate morality”: The slogan is used to exclude Christian moral values from laws.

·         The reality is: laws are never morally neutral. The government is legislating morality all the time. When the law prohibits certain acts, it is a lesson telling the citizens that those acts are morally wrong. Conversely, when the law decriminalizes certain acts, it is telling the citizens that those acts are normal and morally acceptable. For example, the inclusion of the “sexual orientation” clause in Canadian laws indirectly encourage more people to practise homosexuality.

(3)  “Moral standard is culture-relative, changes with time and is not absolute”: The slogan is used to exclude absolute standards from the realm of morality.

·         The reality is: customs do change with time and vary with culture. But things that are inherently immoral will forever be immoral because man was created in the image of a moral God.

c.   All these are the rallying cry of secular humanists. Yet the saddest fact is that those mottos are sometimes adopted and even promoted as truths by many undiscerning Christians.

d.   Both Canada and the US were established on the foundation of Christian values (such as justice and equality). In the last few decades, there has been a deliberate and persistent effort by secular humanists to exclude Christian values and adopt secular values in the government. The result can be clearly seen from legalization of abortion, the celebration of homosexual lifestyle, the coming legalization of same-sex marriage, and the likely future legalization of euthanasia.

40.  How do secular humanists use “separation of church and state” to restrict Christianity?

(1)  Ban the public display of Christian symbols (like crosses and Christmas trees) from public grounds (cemeteries, parks), public institutions (schools), and public view (street intersections).

o        In response, many people start referring to “Christmas” as “Holiday”.

(2)  Ban any reference to God in public institutions (such as schools).

o        The ACLU tried to dismantle many displays of the Ten Commandments from public buildings.

o        In Canada, an atheist homosexual MP tried unsuccessfully to remove the word “God” from the Constitution.

(3)  Stop all children from knowing or learning about God in education by:

(a)  stop all celebration of Christmas
(b)  prohibit any mention of Christianity in schools, such as telling stories from the Bible
(c)  prohibite public prayers in schools

(4)  Prohibit any religious activities in public institutions by:

(a)  disallow religious organizations to receive government grants in providing social services
(b)  prohibit religious groups (such as Bible clubs) from using space in public institutions

41.  In what way can the government restrict religious freedom?

a.   Christians are being persecuted in many countries (particularly Muslim countries) for their faith. However, in Canada and the US, most people identify themselves and Christians. So secular humanists will never openly admit of restricting religious freedom.

b.   There are many covert ways that the government can use to restrict religious freedom:

(1)  controls mass communications, disallows a TV channel for evangelical Christians

(2)  passes laws to impose secular (im)moral standards on Christians

(3)  marginalizes and silences Christians by labelling their opposition to immoral acts as “hate speech”

o        Bill C-250 (which prohibit hate speech based on sexual orientation) will lead to declaring the Bible as hate literature because the Bible describes homosexuality as immoral. It will then lead to restrictions on the distribution of the Bible such as to high schools and in hotels.

(4)  threatens as well as actual termination of charitable tax-exempt status of churches

(5)  makes rulings and sanctions against Christians by undemocratic liberal judges

c.   Future: In the past 30 years, secular humanists and atheists have routinely use the courts to silence Christians through litigation against anything that they don’t like. Because of frequent successes of secular humanists in getting the help of the government and the courts, they are likely to continue their past strategies. The worse for Bible-believing Christians is yet to come.

d.   Conclusion: The government has the power to put Christians into extreme difficulties. Once an anti-Christian government took power, we are at the mercy of it. In order to continue our work of extending the kingdom of God, we must take steps (such as social action) to prevent (or at least make it more difficult for) anti-Christian politicians to get political power.