Daily Devotionals

Independence Day Musings

Pastor Steve Ellison

I firmly believe that those who founded the United States of America intended that this country be a nation of ordered liberty rooted in and affirming of Biblical truth. My belief is not blind faith. The proof is in their writings, both public and private. David Barton of Wallbuilders, Peter Marshall, William J. Bennett, and others, have documented it well. I believe that our founding fathers, who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, would be very pleased with the eradication of slavery but would be sadly disappointed in what this country has become. They certainly remembered religious persecution in Europe. They had firsthand knowledge of the awful mistreatment that took place in the name of religion. They knew what could happen if proper safeguards were not put in place. In my humble opinion, it seems that much of the persecution in Europe was done not by religious zealots against other religious groups, but rather was done by political operatives, who used religion as an excuse and as a tool. However, that is another topic for another time.

Their writings, both public and private, indicate a desire to protect the church from the state and not the other way around. The idea of a constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state is simply not true. There is no such phrase in our constitution. Again, others have ably pointed out that the origin of that phrase is from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. They were worried about a particular denomination being declared the national denomination. That was not in the works. They were simply worrying about nothing. It is easy to see why they would worry. They were not far removed from awful misdeeds in the name of religion.

As is often the case, we respond by overcorrecting. We drop a wheel off the pavement on one side and we jerk the steering wheel hard in the opposite direction shooting the car all the way off the road and across the ditch in the other. I believe that we should have remained a nation rooted in Biblical truth. Yes, you read that correctly. I did speak in the past tense. For the most part, I do not see Biblical principles at work in our society. I believe that those who fought, bled, died to found this country intended for it to be a nation built on Biblical principles. They wisely built in safeguards to keep one Christian denomination from exercising dominion over the others. Those safeguards also prevent persecution of other religions. People belonging to other religions should in no way be persecuted or made into second class citizens in any way, shape, form, or fashion. As a nation, we have simply “overcorrected” to the point where Christians do not receive equal treatment under the law. The most serious issue is not any harm done to individual Christians. Rather, it is the harm done to Christian ideals in the public arena. Christian ideals are simply not allowed in public discussion.

Statistics confirm that when American courts began the systematic removal of Christian influence (Bible reading, prayer, laws respecting the Lord’s Day, moral guidelines for the entertainment industry, etc.) from the public arena in the early 1960s our troubles grew by leaps and bounds. Most indicators of a downward spiral of our culture began a very noticeable shift for the worse during this time. All of this could have been avoided. The real problem is not the legislatures or the courts or the executive branch. The real problem is not the removal of Bible reading and prayer from schools, etc. but is rather the fact that we do not read the Bible and pray in our homes. We do not examine, much less regulate, what we and our children watch and listen to for entertainment. We Christians shop; patronize restaurants, etc. on the Lord’s Day just like it was any other day. Church is seen as a place to periodically visit on days, we cannot find somethings else to do. Our financial meltdowns would not have occurred if borrowers, lenders, government regulators, etc. had followed principles found in the Bible. This country could be a Biblically guided nation again, if those who claim to be Christians would simply live by Biblical principles.

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