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This post is a part of a larger “blogswarm” underway this weekend all around the topic of church/state and liberal fears of a theocracy. If you can imagine a few misguided secular progressive zealots have again intentionally picked resurrection weekend to “Blog Against Theocracy.” My friend Bob Ellis over at Dakota Voice calls them BATS adding the “S” to stand for silliness. Bob has organized eight or so South Dakota bloggers return a volly of truth this weekend in something he’s calling “Blogging Against Secularism.” I’m honored he invited me to participate in the discussion though I’ll probably be the least of the contributers (if nothing else because I’m pretty focused on Easter right now). I’ll post my contributions, probably only two, here and at my Voices Carry pro-life blog. You can follow the rest of the blogswarm this weekend here.
Who are we kidding, it is absolutely relevant what Sen. Barack Obama’s church teaches and that his spiritual advisor is black liberationist Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Like gives birth to like. Though many tried to dismiss it several months ago, it was centrally important for the electorate to know the full story behind Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. (Mormon salvation is that each man becomes a god of his own planet and spends eternity populating it with spirit babies – Mormon women can look forward to being eternally pregnant.)
Hypothetically, do we really think that electing a candidate with a pacifistic Mennonite or Quaker background would have no bearing on their ability to fulfill the role of Commander and Chief? Who are we kidding? Voting for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or Senator “Secular” from South Wherever is to vote their worldview into office. It is impossible to separate a person from what they believe.
Even, and especially, those who claim no religious viewpoint… while admitting to being non-religious, they betray the fact that they bow at the altar of secularism and those gods are giving voice and influence in governance. Somebody’s moral framework is going to shape society; the only question is whose. The culture war is a war of religious world views, a fight for who will set this nation’s moral agenda. And, morality touches every aspect of political and public life – economy, education, law, healthcare, defense, foreign policy, family, science and life. What we believe is central to who we are, how we live, how we think and how we view everything and everyone around us. There is no such thing as a politician who keeps his faith private. He/she may not speak about it, but it daily informs all they do. Voters therefore are not just electing men or women, they are electing what these men and women believe, and we are electing their religious world view.
Our government is “us.” It’s of the people, by the people, for the people. And we can talk about it all we want but “church” is inseparable from all this because “church” isn’t a building or an organization. The “church” is people, as again, is our government. So, I am the church and, I am the government. You’d have to cut somebody in half to separate the two.
Because so many American’s erroneously assume “separation of church and state” is written somewhere in the Constitution, secular progressives are able to effectively sideline conservative Christians from participating in the process. In writing the phrase “separation of church and state” in his private letter to the Danbury Baptist’s, Thomas Jefferson was saying the founders intention was that one Christian denomination over another should not be adopted as the religion of the state. But Jefferson’s wall was never meant to keep religion out. Jefferson believed in the free exercise of religion in all sectors of society, public and private. John Jay, founding father and first Supreme Court Justice clarified the central role the Christian Faith was to play in governance – “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Knowing that no one can approach governance from a moral vacuum, the basis of ones beliefs is an especially critical question. Far more scrutiny should be given those who claim no “religious bias” than those who claim a religious perspective. The reason being those supposedly without religious bias, when elected, expose the country to untested unknowns many of which are counter to moral standards that have proven to be societal stabilizers for centuries.
The politicians are now standing in pulpits preaching. Those who know me well know I perk right up when somebody mentions the Sermon on the Mount. My two decade long fascination with it has resulted in quite a collection of books and commentary on it. Here’s the latest addition to my collection. This comes from presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama who was speaking Sunday at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio.
I will tell you that I don’t believe in gay marriage, but I do think that people who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and that the state should not discriminate against them… So, I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don’t think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That’s my view.
I suppose he’s referring to the “don’t judge” verses or maybe the Golden Rule. We do need to love people of all varieties and flavors, even enemies. But I wonder if Sen. Obama is aware that before you get to either of those passages you first come to one that does directly apply to marriage. Of course I’m referring to Jesus upholding the sacred union between one man and one woman for one life saying nothing should undermine it or tear it apart. Jesus says anything outside that sacred union is adultery.
Also interesting to me, just before that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus upheld the Old Testament law saying even the little “obscure passages” – the “smallest letter and least stroke of a pen” are not to be discarded. Frankly, this is the first time I’ve heard anyone ever refer to anything in Romans as “obscure.” Romans is widely regarded as the foundational theological letter of the New Testament. Even so, Islam is the faith that interprets some Scripture as more authoritative than others (The Koran’s “peaceful” earlier passages are less authoritative than the Koran’s “violent” older passages). In Christianity, all passages are equally God-breathed (inspired) and useful for faith, doctrine and conduct.
This isn’t the first time Obama has sung the praises of the Sermon on the Mount. In 2006, he had this to say:
Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.
I love it… “let’s read our Bibles!” I think a national Bible Study on the Sermon on the Mount would be a great idea – then let’s get the book back in the schools and back on the college campuses and ultimately judge everything by it.
According to David Barton, 94% of all the quotations in the writings of the Founding Fathers of the nation were quotations from the Bible. Wouldn’t it be something if we started electing people again based on how closely their “platform” paralleled that of the Sermon on the Mount? America would be a better place if political stump speeches were basically Sermon on the Mount sermons. God’s Kingdom would surely come then on earth as it is in heaven.
Here’s a little Sermon on the Mount trivia for you: Reagan was driven by the Sermon on the Mount’s “city on a hill” metaphor and Bush #41, at his inauguration, asked for the Bible he placed his hand on to be opened to Matthew 5.