Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Secularists Need Christians to Express Their Beliefs in Politics

It seems like I can hardly go a day without reading a story or getting into a conversation about some violation of "separation of church and state." This idea has become so prevelant in our culture, but your average man-on-the-street has no idea what it even means. For the average person this conjures up images of a theocracy where lawmakers sit in congress combing through The Bible to craft legislation.

This idea combined with the obnoxious redefinition of "tolerance" to mean accepting everyone's choices and all ideas as equally valid, and now we have this bizaar idea that someone even expressing their religious views publicly is somehow offensive. Like nonbelievers will burst into flames upon hearing it. You even had people wanting a cross memorial removed, claiming the mere sight of it caused them to be physically ill.

Children are told not to bring Bibles to school, Jesus is banned from homework assignments, employees are forbidden from publicly displaying or talking about their beliefs, and recently in California, student organized Christian clubs were told they could not limit their leadership to only people who expressed the same beliefs.

The idea is that your religious beliefs are fine as long as you keep it in private. What you do in church is nobody else's business, so keep it to yourself. ESPECIALLY if you want it to have an impact on law making or public policy.

Now, I don't intend to argue this in detail here, but the idea of "separation of church and state" originally meant that the state was to be hands-off when it came to matters of the church. It did not mean that the church (or especially individuals who happened to go to church) could have no influence on the state. That is a new invention.

And I argue that it is one that secularists would do well to abandon for their own good, and the good of society.

If I am not supposed to base my position on political or puiblic policy issues on my religious convictions, then I cannot be opposed to things like murder or fraud. I cannot advocate and campaign for civil rights or caring for the poor.

My religious beliefs shape my views on these things. Mankind is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Because of this every man woman and child have an intrinsic value and worth that should be respected and protected.

Murder is a sin (Exodus 20:13) specifically because mankind has been made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6).

Fraud or deception / corruption is a sin (Exodus 20:16) because moral obligations are defined and grounded in the nature and character of God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

Civil rights is based on mankind being made in the image of God, the same as murder. Plus, since the Bible teaches that we all descended from Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:20), that the so-called "races" were a result of the single human being scattered at Babel (Genesis 11), and Jesus Christ died to reconcile any who would believe from all of humanity - not any specific "special" people (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Revelation 5:9), this means that all people are to be treated equally. We are all equally valued and loved by our Creator, and all in need of His grace. Because of this, I see the need for civil right, that one "people" should not be slighted for the benefit of another.

God commands that we care for the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 41:1; James 2:1-5).

If it is not for the commands of The Lord and the religious beliefs and convictions that go with them, what reason do I have to care about these things? Especially to the point of wanting public policy to be shaped accordingly?

Sure there is "enlightened self-interest," the idea that my life would be better if everyone's life went better. Or the betterment of society. Or some culturally defined standards that such things should be fought/advocated.

But these are all horribly subjective, and ultimately have no more binding meaning than my preference for chocolate ice cream or cheesy sci-fi movies. Surely it does not take much effort to see that personal preference should not be the standard for policy that shapes a civilization and can have such drastic effects on so many people.

However, if I am not supposed to apply my religious beliefs to my influence, my voice, or my vote on legislative/policy matters, then to be consistent I would be reuired to not support civil rights or charity programs, and I could not oppose things like murder and fraud.

Is this really the direction people want our culture to go when they beat the drum of "separation of church and state?" Exclude religion from the public square, and this is what you have.

"If God does not exist, everything is permitted." - Dostoevsky

No comments:

Post a Comment