MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

What Would Happen if Christians Took Over a State and Tried to Create a State Church?

December 19th, 2012 Viewed 1716 times

churchSo I got to thinking the other day… Since after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution there were multiple states that still had established churches (and some current constitutions still mention God and have qualifications for people holding office—which are mostly not observed), what would happen if Christians of a certain denomination (pick one) all moved to a certain state (again, pick one) enough that they could pass a law or State Constitutional Amendment to establish a state church of their denomination.

Would they be allowed to do it?  If not, what reason could opponents use to justify not letting a bunch of people from establishing whatever they wanted, since this is what the state of the States were after the Constitution?


Image from Stock Exchange used under the Standard Restrictions explained at the link.

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Fundamentalist Atheists—America’s Taliban

December 18th, 2012 Viewed 2502 times, 1 so far today

cross2There are many Atheists that are content to live peaceably with their neighbors.  They live and work within this country, and seek no ill will– they just do not believe in the supernatural or any deity.  These are probably your friends, coworkers, and others that many would consider good people.  However, there is a vocal minority of Atheists (I term them Fundamentalist Atheists) that seek to eradicate all religion, and these are the focus of this article.

It doesn’t take long reading Fundamentalist Atheist’s thoughts to find that they believe that Christians are the American version of the Taliban.  They trot out the ideas that Christians are behind unequal rights for gays and telling women what to do with their bodies, and compare that to the Taliban telling women that they are of no worth and that they must veil themselves from head to toe.

What they miss is the fact that on a larger scale, they are actually America’s Taliban.

How is it that a Person Praying at Commencement is an Establishment of Religion?

December 17th, 2012 Viewed 1214 times, 2 so far today

Learning to PrayOne of the things that always baffles me every year is around commencement time.  How have we gotten to the point where we accept that a prayer in a single meeting is considered an establishment of religion?

I mean, the Congress of the United States opens with prayer, and they are the ones actually mentioned in the First Amendment as ones that are not to establish a religion!  How can someone, especially a student in a school, be interpreted to be establishing a religion?


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Is The United States a Christian Nation?

November 21st, 2011 Viewed 2207 times

learning with pencil

In a recent post explaining my acceptance of some libertarian ideas, I made the passing reference to the fact that America is, and has been a Christian Nation.  However, this fact is not accepted by everyone, especially atheists.  Their arguments are typified by the first comment I received on this post:

While some of the signers of the Constitution were Christians, many were Deists. The Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1796, disputes the ‘Christian Nation’ idea. Nor would I, as a Christian, want this to be a Christian nation. [FatherOf4]

This is very typical, and so, to set the record straight, I will address not only these commonly stated bits of misinformation, but also present positive reasons for my assertion that America is (though it may not be in the future) a Christian nation.

Faith and Freedom

December 2nd, 2007 Viewed 1573 times

Learning to Pray We’ve been talking– or writing– a lot about the founding of our nation, both here and in comments on other blogs.  What I’ve struggled the hardest to do is to try to explain in clear language why it is important that we know what we were founded upon and just what kind of nation we are, or are becoming.

Is There a Benefit to Equality in Education?

November 28th, 2007 Viewed 8057 times

Bright Smiles A few weeks ago we talked about Morality in education using as a springboard the whole topic of homosexuality in the public school system. Core to the premise that the school is a proper place to teach right and wrong is the concept that the children belong to the state, not to the parents.

What’s strange is the parallels between this concept of “it takes a village” to raise children and Plato’s Republic. Two portions of Plato’s Republic I find scary (especially when you consider that Plato is thought to have lived between 427 and 347 BC).

James Madison

June 23rd, 2007 Viewed 1343 times
This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series We Hold These Truths

Any in depth look into the Freedom of Religion in the U.S. Constitution must, at some point, take up the subject of James Madison.  He is the writer of the current text, and was very influential in the founding.  It is through his documents that those looking for the Founder’s mind go to as they ponder these questions.  We’ll look at some of his documents, his actions in Congress, and his writings later.

His Early Documents

Review: American Political Theology

June 16th, 2007 Viewed 991 times

American Political Theology‘s main purpose, as stated in the conclusion, is “not only to examine emotion-charged issues dispassionately and objectively, but also to provide a framework for analyzing political and theological relationships” (180). It seeks to accomplish this goal through the major works of different time periods, including present thought.

The first period covered is the founding of the American government. Quickly, the different ideas of America’s founding are presented. The author makes a good point, after presenting both. He states the importance of knowing the America’s roots for “If America is a Christian nation as conservatives argue … we have created a government decidedly contrary to the Founders’ intentions” (11) It is either that, or religion has been given too much of a ground in the government. He then presents a series of documents, uncut, to show what the Founders thought from what they said. Included in such are a listing of the Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641) which states that if any blaspheme the name of God, he shall be put to death.

The next period is the Civil War. In this chapter, the author discusses the sweeping perfectionism that came from “enlightened” thinking. Theologians began to preach the total sanctification and perfection of man on this earth. The sneaking in of the humanist ideas probably began here, where the conservatives of the day began to start thinking that man was, or could be perfect. Focusing too much on man and his accomplishments started to eat away at some of the Founder’s concepts put into the Constitution, such as the natural depravity of man.

The third section discusses the New Deal era and shows how the social gospel movement started. The social gospel’s main motive being to “establish ‘the kingdom of God on earth'” (47), the government took the programs the churches did for the community’s welfare and made it the state’s business. “Gradually, man became more important and God less important” (47). Man was the final authority on what was and was not God’s Word in the Bible.

The fourth section discusses contemporary American politics. In this chapter the author shows that the church has been asleep. Although it may have prospered in numbers, the church has not been as involved in politics and teaching as it has been in preparing people for the ministry. He goes on to state that the Christians have started to see how bad the government is getting, and finally deciding to do something about it. He does observe that whenever a church gets involved in politics it usually hurts the fundamentalism of the church.

Lastly, he discusses the leadership in America, specifically the Presidents. Showing through paradigms, the author concludes that from the beginning to the New Deal, the Presidents were of Conservative Ideology and Theology. As we grow towards the present, more turns toward the exact opposite. He observes that the economy does affect the way the Presidents are chosen.

His one proposition about leaders should encourage the Christian to get involved in politics, on whatever level: “Proposition 6. Presidents and other political leaders tend to reflect rather than direct theological influences on politics and public policy” (178). We must be willing to take this country back to the Scriptural basis on which it was founded.

Ratifying Convention’s Suggestions

June 9th, 2007 Viewed 1478 times
This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series We Hold These Truths

One of the common arguments against the fact that America was a Christian nation is that the Federal Constitution has no reference to the Creator in it.  There’s nothing there to remark about any religion, and, in fact, it starts out by declaring that “We the People” have the rights to create this Constitution, not that we got the right from God.

From Whom Do We Get Our Rights?

Well, first, you have to look at the Declaration of Independence and why it was necessary for the writers of that document to stress that we were God-given inalienable rights to life, liberty and property and it was thereby that the colonists believed that they had the right to declare themselves free.  In my mind, that document had a theological reason as well as a practical and legal one.  (Besides the fact that, in that time, the law was wedded with theology.)

The Problem With Democracies

April 21st, 2007 Viewed 1331 times
This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series We Hold These Truths

In order to understand why our government is set up in the way that it is, the logic behind it and why it has gone as long as it has one has to start with defeating the common notion that we are a Democracy.

America is Not a Democracy

America was founded as a Constitutional Republic.  If you remember the Pledge of Allegiance you will recall that we pledge “to the republic for which [the flag] stands.”  Why is this important?

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.