|One Nation, Under God|
|Wednesday, July 04 2012|
Separation of Church and State...
While we open the doors of the United States to many beliefs, we cannot deny our Christian roots:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. -Psalms 33:12, NAB
Our forefathers fought for independence, and one of their primary goals was religious freedom - to worship God without the government's involvement. As a British colony, the King was both a political leader and the head of the chuch, which can bring obvious problems. By establishing the United States, American revolutionaries were ensuring the government would no longer interfere with their religious practices.
The separation of church and state has become a rallying cry for many, but can it be found in the Constitution? No. The Bill of Rights? No. It was in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists (read the full letter from the Library of Congress). In the letter, Jefferson states:
I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Thomas Jefferson's words have continued to echo over 200 years later. We still hold dearly to these beliefs, and we continually pray that the government will not interfere with our religious practices; however, Jefferson's words have been twisted and turned around. Instead of protecting our religious freedom from the government, they use it to protect our government from our religious beliefs - not what Jefferson had intended.
In today's United States, some will tell us that our religious values and beliefs should not shape our political lives. Well, I am a Catholic and a Christian, first and foremost, and an American second. The values I take from the Catholic Church shape who I am, and they will shape how I vote, as well. Our politicians are representatives for us, and I want leaders who will represent what I believe.
At one time, we fought to protect our religious values from the government, but now, many feel that we need to protect the government from religion. In doing so, they have made the Catholic Church and its members villains for standing up for their beliefs. Laws are being passed that violate our religious consciences, such as the HHS mandate, which forces Catholic organizations to violate their beliefs or face stiff penalties (some organizations will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars). Once again, the government is interfering with our religious practices - exactly opposite of what the forefathers had intended.
Ignorance has led people to misuse the phrase, "separation of church and state." They have been misled by the media and corrupt politicians who have convinced them that they are under the attack of Christian and Catholic beliefs. We are not trying to force anyone to join our Church, practice our beliefs, or even believe in our God; we simply want to protect our values in the public square.
In the Pledge of Allegiance, it states that we are "one nation, under God." Our national motto is "in God we trust." These reflect our national heritage as a nation who loves and follows God. As a Christian nation, we have received many blessings, but now, as a nation drifting further and further away from Him, we are beginning to face trials. Our denial of our Christian values has had perilous effects. The economy is in shambles, family values are fading, and we live in a culture of death, yet many still deny the need for God in our lives.
If we want to reestablish our great nation, it begins by taking a stand for our religious beliefs. We must overturn the laws that oppress us and drive out the political leaders who enacted them. It is a time for change. And, even in our own little worlds, we can change our own lives - realigning ourselves with our beliefs that we hold so dear. Just as one vote can add up to change a nation, changed hearts, when there are enough of them, can change the world.
May you have a blessed Independence Day, and may God bless America!