We often hear people speak of "separation of church and state."
Many people think this proves that somehow government should never support or encourage anything religious. More recently, this idea is being used to claim that people's religious views should have no influence on the government.
We can easily document that this was never what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the Constitution, but what does God think?
The purpose of this lesson is to consider how religious belief is being systematically excluded from daily life.
The result is to make this a "secular society": the society functions without considering God, the Bible, religion, or spiritual concepts. The conflict between those who seek to apply religion in everyday life and those who seek to exclude it is sometimes called "the Culture War."
I acknowledge that this material is depressing and disheartening. But it is true, and people need to know the truth about our society. If you consider this to be inappropriate preaching, I suggest you read the messages the prophets preached about the nations in their day.
Consider some areas of concern and note what the Bible teaches about them.
Note carefully: Nothing in this article or any of our teaching is intended or should ever be construed to justify or to in any way incite or encourage personal vengeance or physical violence against any person.
Many people believe that government must never speak favorably of religion and must never be influenced by the beliefs of religions people.
Repeatedly the ACLU and similar groups sue to remove the 10 Commands, crosses, and Bibles from government property or agencies. Government officials are criticized if they refer to God or the Bible or if they are known to pray. Court verdicts have been overthrown simply because the judge mentioned God or a Bible passage.
A. Evidence from Society
A Young Marines program in Louisiana had a pledge in its graduation ceremony that says: "I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines." For this the Federal government withdrew all funding from the program. (Phyllis Schlafly, 11/6/13)
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William 'Jerry' Boykin said, "There was a meeting in San Antonio yesterday [Sept. 17] where 80 members from Lackland Air Force base came and talked about the persecution they are under at Lackland Air Force Base ... you're an open Christian at your own peril in many places ... They're trying to force Christians underground so that our faith and our values do not impact the public sector." (FBIS News Service, 9/27/13)
Federal Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the display of the 10 Commands in a courtroom is illegal. He said the central, most important issue was this: "Can the state acknowledge God?" Then he answered, "No." (via Don Wildman, American Family Association)
In San Antonio, Texas, the city council passed (8-3) an ordinance that would bar anyone who believes in natural marriage or biblical sexuality from doing business with the city. (Family Research Council, 9/6/13) The law can be used to ban anyone from serving in any government position or doing business with the government if he has ever said or done anything negative about another person's sexual orientation.
In June, 2009, Pres. Barack Obama welcomed 300 gay activists to the White House in celebration of homosexuality. Included was Frank Kameny (a Harvard PhD) about whom the president said: "And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership." Kameny is known for the following statement: "Your God of Leviticus (and of the whole Bible) is clearly a sinful homophobic bigot. He should repent of his sinful homophobia. He should atone for that sin, and he should seek forgiveness for the pain and suffering which his sinful homophobia has needlessly inflicted upon gay people for the past 4,000 years." (The Schwarz Report, October, 2013)
Not everyone in government shares these views. But many in government refuse to refer favorably to God or His word or even acknowledge God's existence. Yet they will openly honor at a White House celebration those who are known for crassly blaspheming God.
B. Teaching of Scripture
The Bible does not authorize the church as such to engage in activities that are essentially political: campaigning for or financing candidates or even endorsing or discussing political issues that have no essential Biblical significance. Yet the Bible requires Christians to teach and apply their beliefs to every area of life, including government.
1 Peter 2:13,14; Romans 13:1-6- God ordained government, so rulers are God's ministers. Their purpose is to punish evildoers and praise those who do good. They pervert their reason for existence when they punish those who do good or reward those who do evil. How can government fulfill the role for which God ordained it, if it refuses to even acknowledge God or His will?
1 Timothy 2:1,2,8 -- Christians should offer prayer, supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving on behalf of kings and all in authority. We should pray "everywhere." Prayer is appropriate in all places and all areas of life, especially including government functions.
Proverbs 29:2 -- When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. If righteous rulers are a blessing, why don't citizens have a right to do whatever we can legitimately do to see that we have righteous rulers?
God looks with favor on nations where righteous people rule, make righteous laws, and enforce them justly. He looks with disfavor on a nation that tolerates evil. The idea that government may properly separate itself from God's will is false doctrine. And citizens and government officials who follow such a concept will ultimately give answer to God in the judgment.
Having separated itself from religion, government then becomes a tool to separate religion almost entirely from society.
A. Evidence from Society
Everyone knows public schools have banned teachers from leading prayer or reading the Bible. But do we know how far it has gone?
Ann Coulter (Sept. 25, 2003) cites these examples from David Limbaugh's book Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity.
In a St. Louis public school, a teacher saw fourth-grade Raymond Raines bowing his head in prayer before lunch. The teacher ordered him to stop and sent him to the principal, who told him praying was not allowed in school. After Raymond was caught praying before meals three times, he was segregated from other students, ridiculed in front of his classmates, and sentenced to a week's detention.
A teacher at Lynn Lucas Middle School near Houston saw two sisters carrying Bibles into a classroom. The teacher stopped them and sent them to the principal's office. The mother was called and warned that she would be reported to Child Protective Services. When the mother arrived, the teacher threw the Bibles into the wastebasket, shouting, "This is garbage!"
At the same school, three students had book covers displaying the Ten Commandments. Administrators ripped the covers off, threw them in the garbage, and told the students that the Ten Commandments constituted "hate speech."
In Texas, a boy's track relay team ran its fastest race of the year and defeated its closest rival by seven yards, which should have enabled it to advance toward the state championship. The team's anchor runner pointed to the sky to give glory to God as he crossed the finish line, but someone didn't like the gesture so the authorities disqualified this winning team because of it. (Phyllis Schlafly, 11/6/13)
A senior at Tomah High School in Wisconsin was given a zero on an art project because he added a cross and the words "John 3:16 A Sign of Love" to his drawing of a landscape. (Phyllis Schlafly, 11/6/13)
California passed a law that permits any student to declare that he feels like his gender is the opposite of what it physically is. Schools must take his word for it, and he must be allowed to play on sports teams, use the locker room and the restroom of the opposite sex. [The law "forces schools to allow students to participate in sex-segregated school programs, sports activities, and to be allowed access the bathroom and locker room of the student's choice consistent with his or her opinion of their gender." "The law does not require proof for students who claim to have gender identity issues so the school administrators will have to take the child on his or her word when they want to use the facilities of the opposite sex. The law does not provide safety measures to prevent abuses of this policy."] (Christian Newswire, 8/12/13)
Students in California schools are taught a three-week course about the tenets of Islam. They learn verses from the Koran and are taught to pray "in the name of Allah" and to chant "Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation." Students were instructed to pretend that they were Muslims, wear Muslim clothing to school, choose a Muslim name, and stage their own "jihad" using a dice game. (CultureFacts, January 18, 2002)
Not everyone educator shares these views, but many schools forbid students to pray (even as individuals), carry or read a Bible, or have a copy of the 10 Commands on a book cover. But the schools themselves may indoctrinate students in other kinds of religions.
B. Teaching of Scripture
The Bible does not authorize the church as such to teach secular subjects or to operate schools or colleges. But the Bible does teach important principles about education that individual Christians need to practice
Proverbs 9:10 -- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. [1:7] If so, how can students be properly instructed when teachers and students are forbidden to mention God or pray to Him.
Psalms 111:10 -- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. So, how can they have a good understanding when they have been forbidden to read or practice His commands?
Job 28:20,23-28 - Where does wisdom come from? Obviously it comes from the One who made the Universe! The one who knows all things must be the ultimate source of true knowledge. How can children become truly wise when they are forbidden to even consider Him?
And understanding requires departing from evil (v28). How can we properly educate children when we forbid them to learn God's will about right from wrong, while requiring them to learn and practice evil?
God and His will must be part of all aspects of our lives. But of all areas where spiritual things need to be included, it is in the education of our children.
III. Science and Medicine
Again, people seek to eliminate the influence of religion in science and medicine.
A. Evidence from Society
R. Lewontin said: In science "...we have a prior commitment ... to materialism. ...we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to ... produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive ... Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door" (Acts and Facts, 8/1999)
A circuit court ruled against the teaching of creation in school science classes saying: "Irrespective of whether it is fully supported by scientific evidence, their theory [creation] is a religious belief." (Dick Blackford, Searching the Scriptures, 4/1987)
Iowa professor John Patterson said: "...creationism should be discriminated against ... No advocate of such propaganda should be trusted to teach science classes or administer science programs anywhere or under any circumstances. Moreover, if any are now doing so, they should be dismissed." ("Back to Genesis," 3/1994)
Another Iowa professor, Kendrick Frasier, said that if a student believes in creation, any professor should have the right to "fail any student in his class, no matter what the grade records indicate." And if a student graduates and then later becomes a creationist, his college should have the right of "retracting grades and possibly even degrees." ("Back to Genesis," 3/1994)
We are frequently told abortion is between a woman and her doctor: it's a matter of medicine, so people of religious faith have no right trying to influence the law.
A recent article in Prevention magazine discussed doctors and pharmacists who refuse, on grounds of religious conscience, to prescribe or sell abortion-producing drugs. The article quoted other people who argued that such people should either prescribe and sell the medications that the government has approved or else get out of the profession.
The Obamacare law requires employers to provide their employees with insurance that pays for abortion-producing drugs. Regardless of the religious beliefs of the employers or the employees, abortion coverage must be provided.
So first we are told abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. Then we are told that, if the doctor believes abortion is wrong, he should have no say either! Then we are told that, if the woman thinks abortion is wrong, she must still have insurance that provides it!
The result is separation of religion from medicine and science: people's religious beliefs must be ignored, and the government will decide.
B. Teaching of Scripture
The Bible does not authorize the church as such to teach or practice science or medicine. The church should not own, operate, or donate to schools or hospitals. But when science or medicine violate Biblical principles of morality and the authority of God, then the church and individual Christians must speak up.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 -- Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth. All people should recognize and honor God as Creator, especially young people. Yet those are the very people evolutionists want to influence to ignore God.
Proverbs 24:11 -- Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. Instead of ignoring issues such as abortion and murder of embryos, God commands us to deliver people from death. And He clearly shows that unborn life is a baby from the moment of conception (Genesis 25:21,22; Luke 1:36,41,44).
1 Timothy 6:20,21 - Avoid the profane babblings of what is falsely called knowledge and causes people to stray from the faith. I know of no better way than that to describe "science" that refuses to acknowledge God.
IV. Business and Entertainment
Again, many try to eliminate the influence of religion from business and entertainment.
A. Examples from Society
A Zogby poll found that three-quarters of students at leading U.S. universities are taught that "there are no clear and universal standards of right or wrong by which everyone should be judged." (FRC Culture Facts, July 19, 2002)
A large majority of students report being taught it is more important for corporations to pursue "socially progressive" policies (like hiring homosexuals and promoting women) than to maintain financial accuracy in business dealings. (FRC Culture Facts, July 19, 2002)
Not everyone in business shares the above views, but the result is a generation of young professionals who enter the workforce believing the important thing is to climb the corporate ladder, maximize profits, and be politically correct, regardless of principles of morality and ethics. So, religion is separated from business.
The complete disregard for Biblical principles in TV and movies is so blatant it needs no documentation. Nearly every modern program produced contains gross indecency in words, dress, and conduct.
Profanity and cursing are virtually required.
Sexual relations are discussed and displayed in almost every form except within marriage.
And the only way Hollywood will portray religious people is to ridicule them as idiots or hypocrites.
Who would deny that religion has been effectively separated from entertainment?
B. Teaching of Scripture
The Bible does not authorize the church as such to own or operate businesses or provide entertainment. But it does require the church to teach Biblical principles of decency and financial honesty, and it requires Christians to practice those principles.
Proverbs 11:1 -- Dishonesty in business is an abomination to the Lord. [2 Cor. 8:20,21]
Romans 13:7,8 - Christians must pay what they owe - don't cheat or try to avoid paying.
Ephesians 4:29 -- Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 - God wills that we be sanctified and abstain from sexual immorality. Each of us should possess his vessel (body) in honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who don't know God. This is required all the time, including in our entertainment.
We must practice Biblical principles of honesty and fairness in all business relationships. We must make godliness a part of every aspect of life, including our entertainment.
Surely if there was any area where one should expect to be guided by religious faith, it would be in moral issues. But even here people seek to silence religion.
A. Examples from Society
In one poll, 64 percent of adults said moral truth depends upon the circumstances around them, while only 22 percent said moral truth is unchanging. 30 percent said they make moral decisions according to "whatever feels right or comfortable in that situation." Another 10 percent base their decisions on whatever would "produce the most positive outcome" for them personally. Only 13 percent said they follow the Bible. (CultureFacts February 22, 2002)
The Canadian Parliament passed a law that makes it a criminal offense to engage in "hate speech" against homosexuals (it has a weak religious exemption). (CitizenLink 5/27/04)
A Saskatchewan man was convicted and fined for sponsoring a billboard listing Bible verses regarding homosexuality. (CitizenLink 5/27/04)
In Sweden a Pentecostal preacher was convicted and sentenced to a month in prison for preaching that homosexuality is "abnormal -- a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society." (Citizen Link, 7/2/2004)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (a "Republican") signed a bill into law making it illegal for therapists to help children struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions. (CitizenLink, 8/19/13) So, even if a young person wants to overcome homosexuality, any counselor who tries to help him do so stands in violation of the law!
Now Illinois has joined the chorus of states that have chosen to place the holy God-given title of "marriage" on that which God's word says is an abomination. Make no mistake: Such laws do not exist because homosexuals have a deep respect for marriage. Only a small minority want to be bound by the restrictions of marriage. The real goal of such laws is to compel society to treat homosexual relations as morally acceptable and to punish those who refuse.
B. The Teaching of the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16,17 - The Scriptures are profitable for reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. [Ephesians 5:11]
2 Timothy 4:2-4 -- So we must preach the word, rebuke sin, especially because people will want to fables instead of truth and will want preachers to preach to please the people.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God, no matter how society tries to compel decent people to accept the practice. [1 Timothy 1:9-11; Romans 1:26-32; Genesis 19:1-11; 2 Peter 2:6-8; Leviticus 18:22,23; 20:13,15,16]
No, I do not advocate practicing physical violence or personal vengeance against anyone.
But if the church cannot preach God's standard of morality, why does it even exist? If Christians cannot speak out for the truth, why bother to make the claim to be Christians?
The goal of many in society is to exclude religion from virtually every area of life.
They seek for religion to be discussed and practiced only in the privacy of your own home or within the walls of a church building or when somebody dies. And even then religion is attacked if what is taught offends certain people!
The result would be to make religion into an empty shell having no impact on anyone's life.
Christians must live and speak God's will in every aspect of life.
John 7:7; 15:18-21 - Jesus said the world hated Him because He testified that its works were evil. If we live and teach as He did, the world will hate us for the same reasons. [Matt. 5:10-12]
Acts 5:28; 8:4; 17:6 - When early Christians were commanded to not preach the doctrine of Christ, instead they went everywhere preaching the word and turning the world upside down. The Lord expects us to do the same.
Matthew 5:14-16 - We must not hide our lamp under a basket, but be a city set on a hill, so men may see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. And whatever consequences we must suffer, true discipleship requires us to be willing to pay the price (Luke 14:26-35).
Are you willing to live and speak God's word and be an influence for good in this society?
(C) Copyright 2013, David E. Pratte You are free to keep copies of this material on computer and/or in printed form for your own further study. If you have any other requests about the use of this material, please read our copyright guidelines at www.gospelway.com/copyrite.htm.
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