Return to Common Sense
December 10, 2019
Section: Culture – Religion
“The Constitution erects a wall, not to protect government from religion, but rather to protect religion from government.”
“Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.” George Washington.
Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):
Religious freedom is widely regarded as America’s “first freedom” – the cornerstone of our nation’s political and civil liberties.
- Declaration of Independence states that “unalienable Rights are endowed by the Creator.”
- Constitution Amendment I states “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
- “Separation of Church and State” is not in the Constitution, but was part of a letter by Thomas Jefferson in 1802.
As of 2014, the United States is 71% Christian, 2% Jewish, 23% unaffiliated and the rest less than 1% Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths.
- 47% are Protestant, 21% are Catholic, and another 4% other Christian faiths.
- Adults are the most religious as reach 30 and raise their own children.
- 22% of Protestants and 6% of Catholics live in the South.
- 6% of Protestants, 5% of Catholics, and 1% of Jews live in the Northeast.
- 8% of Protestants, 5% of Catholics, and 2% of Mormons and other Christians live in the West.
- 11% of Protestants and 4% of Catholics live in the Midwest.
American Founders based much of their thinking on Judeo-Christian religious principles.
- Early Christian thinkers helped write many of the early political documents:
o Alfred the Great set the Ten Commandments as the center of English law, using biblical legal analysis for his laws, laying the foundation for subsequent development of Common Law.
o Christian scholar William of Ockham’s analysis of mankind’s place after expulsion from Paradise, helped develop the ideas of Natural Law, Consent of the Governed, & Natural Rights.
o The Magna Carta, the greatest legal document in British and American history, was articulated and composed by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury.
o Lex Rex, famed call for a Rule of Law above king, composed by famed Scots Presbyterian pastor Samuel Rutherford divinity professor at University of St. Andrews.
o Constitutionalism is applied Rule of Law, championed by Puritan-trained John Locke, advocating separation of powers and limitations of government to minimize threats of tyranny.
- John Adams wrote “Statesmen may plan and speculate about liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which liberty can stand.”
- Patrick Henry’s prose “rustled with the leaves of the New Testament.”
- George Washington identified “Religion and Morality” as the “surest” and the most “indispensable supports …. Of public prosperity.”
- The original Ten Commandments were used as a basis for many laws, but judicial interpretations has morphed the original commandments into something unrecognizable.
- Many people do not observe the minutiae of religion, yet believe in a personal, caring, and wise God, and consider themselves religious.
o Americans, like the Founders, do not want a theocracy yet desire “a nation under God.”
o Americans see a need to live within moral boundaries and to reject moral anarchy and secular religion.
There is a direct relationship between democracy and religious repression.
- Most religiously free countries are democracies, almost all of them culturally Christian.
- Most religiously repressive include communist regimes, Islamist regimes, and former Soviet republics.
- A majority of the world’s most religiously repressive regimes have majority Muslim populations.
- Some democratic regimes have poor records on religious freedom, but just about all religiously free nations have good civil liberties rankings.
- Religiously free societies encourage private initiative and entrepreneurship.
Research clearly demonstrates that regular religious practice is both an individual and social good.
- Practice of religion is good for individuals, families, states, and nations.
- Regular churchgoers tend to live an average of seven years longer than those who never attend church.
- Religious practice improves health, learning, economic well-being, self-control, self-esteem, and empathy.
- Christian “fundamentalists” have dropped to only 30% of all Christians in 2004.
- Religious practice reduces the incidence of social pathologies, such as unwed births, crime, delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction, health problems, anxieties, and prejudices.
- Black ministers attack root problems of under achievement and dysfunctional families.
Churches have had a traditional obligation to care for the poor and needy.
- Church charitable organizations were the most effective relief after Hurricane Katrina.
- Too often in America, Christians view private charity as an optional use of their money.
- Liberals argue that government is the best entity to help the poor at home and abroad.
- All too often, government uses charity as a political device to "buy" constituencies for politicians or their parties.
- Libertarian conservatives believe the responsibility to care for the poor rests on the shoulders of individuals.
Moral relativism is a secular notion that personal feelings can decide right from wrong.
- Christianity breeds individualism and fosters liberty.
o Only 3% of Americans are atheists.
- Liberals are offended and feel threatened by all expressions of spiritual religious faith.
o Selective criticism tries to reduce religious influence, while pretending to be religious.
o Young people rely on feelings since they do not have the maturity to question their passions.
- Socialism has been offered as a pseudo-religious alternative.
o Karl Marx viewed religion as “an opium of the masses”, imposed by the rulers to oppress the workers.
- Secularist objective is to purge all references to religion in the marketplace.
o Religious expression is perceived as evidence of a theocratic conspiracy.
- ACLU seeks to remove all things religious from public life.
o Removal of prayers from schools.
o Removal of Ten Commandments from public buildings.
o Removal of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
- In Europe, secular fervor i.e., communism and Nazism, arose to fill the religious void.
There is logic to assert that Socialism has been established as a secular religion and an unofficial national church.
· Socialism exhibits all the same elements as a religion:
o Garden of Eden (the State of Nature).
o Original Sin (Amassing private property).
o A Promise of Salvation (socialist salvation by future generations).
· Marx has become a mythical, god-like figure.
· Darwin is the embodiment of science and truth.
· The state-planner, the minister of socialist religion, sees himself as a modern-day Moses uniquely qualified by his knowledge about the so-called Immutable Law of History to guide humanity to earthly perfection, back to the Original State of Nature.
Maintain Judeo-Christian religious principles and morality as the core basis underlying our laws.
- Respect all personal religious beliefs.
Judaism is based on principled beliefs:
- There is one universal God: the Creator of the world and the God of all humanity.
- One universal God means there is one universal morality.
- God is: Incorporeal (not physical); Eternal; Outside of nature; Personal; and Good.
- God is the God revealed in the Torah: God of Creation; God of Israel; God of the Ten Commandments.
- God's primary demand is that people be good: God cares more about how we act toward one another than how we act toward Him.
- There is an afterlife: God rewards the good and punishes the bad.
- There is an afterlife; God wants us to be preoccupied with this life.
- Reward in the afterlife ("heaven") is available to all good people, not just good Jews.
- Human beings are not born basically good; evil comes primarily from within the human being, not from external causes, such as poverty.
- All people are created in the image of God. The most important distinction among human beings is their behavior. Human life is sacred and animal life is not.
- God created the world for man.
- The Jews are the Chosen People.
- The Torah is from God.
- Judaism, too, has a trinity: God, Torah and Israel (meaning Jewish peoplehood and the Land of Israel).
- Jewish faith rests on two pillars: creation and exodus.
- Judaism is a religion of distinctions: God and man; Good and evil; Man and woman; Holy and profane; and Life and death.
- Judaism can ennoble anyone.
Principles which undergird any successful charity:
- Charity should encourage affiliation with the needy person's local community, church and family
- It should form a bond between the needy and the charitable
- It should organize the needy into different groups depending on their type of need
- It should seek to establish the needy person in a long-term job
- It should emphasize the freedom of being able to provide for oneself
- It should recognize the spiritual and not just material needs of the poor.
Enforce the Founders intent to respect religious beliefs.
- Affirm right of private associations and individuals to uphold religious tenets and express them publicly.
- Appoint and confirm judges who understand the important contribution of religion to public life.
Protect the religious liberty and integrity of faith-based organizations that participate directly or indirectly in government social service programs.
- Encourage private giving to augment support to the poor and needy.
“Godless – The Church of Liberalism” by Ann Coulter published by Crown forum, 2006.
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“Socialism: Our Unconstitutionally Established National Religion” by Tom Brewton dated July 29, 2005 published by American Daily at http://americandaily.com/article/8491 .
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“Theocracy and Liberal Paranoia” by Tom Brewton dated July 22, 2006 published by Republican Voices at http://republicanvoices.org/more.php?id=195_0_1_0_M .
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“Democrats Recruit God to Advance Morally Bankrupt Agenda” by JB Williams dated September 20, 2006 published by Free Republic at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1705506/posts .
“Atheists! Who Are These People?” by Alan Caruba dated November 6, 2006 published by Human Events Online at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=17874 .
“ACLU targets removal of prayer” by Jay Sekulow dated November 14, 2006 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JaySekulow/2006/11/14/aclu_targets_removal_of_prayer .
“Black Power: The New Conservative Stronghold” by Harry R. Jackson Jr. dated November 20, 2006 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/HarryRJacksonJr/2006/11/20/black_power_the_new_conservative_stronghold .
“America Was Meant to Be Free, Not Secular” by Dennis Prager dated January 3, 2007 published by Orthodoxy Today at http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles7/PragerAmerica.php .
“Blaming God” by Phillip V. Brennan dated January 3, 2007 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/1/2/164712.shtml .
“It’s the worldview, stupid” by David Limbaugh dated January 5, 2007 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/DavidLimbaugh/2007/01/05/its_the_worldview,_stupid .
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“I Don’t Judge Religions” by Dennis Prager dated January 23, 2007 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=26562 .
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“Religious Freedom in America” by Roger Scruton dated February 13, 2007 published by The American Spectator at http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10999 .
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“A Leftist Declaration of DE-pendence” by Frank Pastore dated April 8, 2007 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/FrankPastore/2007/04/08/a_leftist_declaration_of_de-pendence .
“Why Liberals Revile the Risen Christ” by Kevin McCullough dated April 9, 2007 published by Town Hall at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/KevinMcCullough/2007/04/09/why_liberals_revile_the_risen_christ .
“Two Enlightenments” by Linda Kimball dated April 11, 2007 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2007/04/11/two-enlightenments/ .
“Ten Commandments, Two Versions” by Pat Boone dated May 21, 2007 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/5/21/111638.shtml .
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“They Have Islamist Fanatics, We Have Secularist Fanatics” by Dennis Prager dated January 31, 2012 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2012/01/31/they_have_islamist_fanatics_we_have_secularist_fanatics .
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“What is Judaism?” by Dennis Prager dated December 10, 2019 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2019/12/10/what-is-judaism-n2557727 .