Friday, October 22, 2010

Our liberties are a gift of God

If a politician said "Our {America's] liberties are a gift of God" would that be a violation of the separation of church and state?

Michael Gerson’s article in today’s Star Tribune makes an important point that is ignored by some and misunderstood by others. Gerson states, “The Founders were not secularists. They assumed that people would bring their deepest moral motivations to political life -- motivations often informed by religious belief. But they firmly rejected sectarianism. America was designed to be a nation where all faiths are welcomed, not where one faith is favored. This was and is the American genius.”

In other words, the Founders never intended to silence motivations informed by religious belief in the public square. That means, people of all faiths are welcome to bring their religious convictions into politics and use them to inform our laws and legislation.

In fact, when some people say that America is a Christian nation, they mean that our politic and laws have been influenced primarily by Christian “motivations.”

Gerson concurs, “Religious faith remains one of the main foundations for belief in human equality and dignity -- as it was in the Declaration of Independence.”

Too many people erroneously label this motivation as being “in violation of separation of church and state.”

Some of these people are victims of historical revisionism. Others are more like thought police, viciously cleansing the public square of any and all religious motivations.

I like Jefferson's comment, "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."


elaine said...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

This is what you don't get.

You are a singular religion. YOU ARE NOT THE face of America.

You oppress by forcing your singular view onto the public. Shout your opinions. vote on those opinions. but Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion!

Otherwise if you want to live in a religious state, there are plenty of other countries that are run that way.

To force others to live within your religious views is a form of slavery.

Chuck Darrell said...

Elaine, we agree that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. But, as Gersons' article points out, people are welcome to bring their strongly held religious convictions into politics.
Do you understand that establishment means no national religion?
It doesn't prohibit religious expression in the marketplace of ideas.
However, putting "John 3:16" in the Constitution would be wrong. Establishing a particular denomination as a national religion would be wrong.