This is the annual Blog Against Theocracy Weekend. Bloggers from around the world take this opportunity to stand up and declare proudly that the State is to be completely neutral in matters of religion, & that all faiths or even no faith, is to be treated the same in the eyes of our government.
This is not anti-faith. Not in the least. For this follower of the Carpenter from Nazareth, I take great exception to that charge. In my life, Jesus is important. Following his teaching is never easy but it shouldn't be made even more difficult by adding political problems on top of it. If a government can endorse my faith today, it may endorse a different faith tomorrow.
The truth is that the New Testament never says Christ's followers should resort to the civil authority to accomplish spiritual ends. Never. Not once did Jesus or Paul or Peter nor anywhere in the New Testament are we told to use taxes to support our faith; work to get laws in place to help our Great Cause; or even depend on government to assist us in our mission work. Instead we utilize a more noble resource --- faith --- to change lives.
Once any religion uses the political structures to advance itself, faith is cheapened & the political structure is advanced over spiritual things. That is how Jesus gets left out of his own church.
We oppose taxes being used to support the office of Faith Based Initiatives, whereby the government takes tax money to advance one version of Christian faith over all others.
We oppose tax payer money supporting religious emblems on public property. Nativity displays should be on the church lawn & in private yards & have no place on courthouse grounds, any more than a tax collection window has a place in the church's sanctuary.
We oppose implementing religious teaching into the legal code to deny any American their right under the Constitution to chose their marriage partner regardless of gender.
We support the court rulings that keep prayer in schools a private & personal matter; that prohibit teaching religious dogma like Creationism as science; or that refuse government employees from using their position of influence & even duress to force students into praying or worship in order to participate in sports.
We support the continued effort to strengthen those court rulings that ensure the price of admission to a high school sporting event or graduation does not include the high cost of being forced to sit through a sermon.
We support the effort to protect all Americans from a legal system that would make Religious Liberty only available to those who have deep pockets to fight off government infringement. (PERA eventually was defeated by just one Senate vote. It was that close. See AU Press Release.)
Fact is, we want all people, of all faiths or even no faith, to be treated the same by our government. Ours is a secular government. We are not a Christian Nation, a Jewish Nation, a Muslim Nation or any Faith Nation. We believe that if the politicians will stand and answer for us on Judgement Day, then let them decide all matters of faith for us. If those politicians cannot do that, then stay out of it completely. Politicans should tend to matters of government & religious leaders should tend to matters of spiritual teaching.
Jesus is not the All American Boy. The Constitution is not the 23 chapter of Revelation. Our President is not the Pastor in Chief. Heaven will be filled with many non-American citizens. No one should be judged civilly for his religious opinions.
Here is a good link for some good blogs on the subject. Blog Against Theocracy
He is Risen. I believe that. I live that. But I don't want my government deciding on that as matter of policy since those politicans will say whatever the majority wants tomorrow --- & it may not be Jesus they are wanting to put in the legal code tomorrow. We protect everyone so that we can have the same protection.
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get. Being and Doing.
--- Jesus, Matthew 7:12, The Message.
When fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the flag and carrying a bible.
--- Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here, 1935.
The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. ... Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.
--- John Leland, Colonial Virginia Baptist, "A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia," as cited in Forrest Church, The Separation of Church and State, 92 (2004).
The Religious Right is a reminder as to why we have the 1st Amendment --- people can't resist forcing their religious interpretations onto others if others won't willingly acquiesce.
--- That Baptist Ain't Right, 07/04/08.