More than sixty years ago a small middle school in Ohio had a picture of Jesus donated by the local Y. This past year the school was forced to remove the picture of Jesus by several special interest groups. The interest groups threatened lawsuits until the picture was removed by the school board. This is just one example of the misuse of the Church and State Clause in our constitution that has occurred in the past sixty years. But why? Where did this issue even come from and how do we handle it?
Throughout history we see that countless governments were tied strongly to the Roman Catholic Church, even the Israel in the Bible is “theocratic” with a king who was appointed by God. This entanglement led to holy wars, political battles and schisms. Such wars and schisms led to a fear of the church, mistrust within the church, and our current Church and State Clause.
I would like to pose the argument that the country has begun to overlook our Declared “liberty” and “equality” and started to use the Constitution and Bill of Rights as a means of attacking Christians. Here are some questions answered to support this argument.
- What does the Constitution actually say about separation of church and state?
Well this isn’t really a tricky question. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Constitutional scholars will know that the document goes on to discuss speech, press, etc. But what does that mean? The First Amendment to the Constitution is very literal, it has to be interpreted to mean that the church can’t control the government. Moreover it means that the State cannot establish itself over the church, especially not the Supreme Court ruling in constant favor over one or the other.
How does this help my case? Well this amendment to the constitution is grossly misinterpreted. For the past sixty years there have been many religious cases brought before the courts. Some have been passed in favor of the religious group such as Wisconsin V Yoder or Rosenburger V University of Virginia. Others haven’t even been fought hard enough to make it to smaller courts, such as the case of the school in Ohio. My point is, any time the government rules in favor of a group over a religious group they are establishing government over religion. Likewise any time a group doesn’t allow these cases to go to a higher court they are feeding the fire of ant-religious groups and allowing for future precedents against religion.
- Are there really anti-religious special interest groups?
Believe it or not I have done research for this article, and two groups show up quite a bit in these cases. These two groups are somewhat powerful and will threaten lawsuits to get what they want, as they did to the school in Jackson. Brad Stine, a Christian comedian once said, “Who is more irrational? A man who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or a man who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in?”
Well, to answer the question originally posed, yes there are anti-religious groups in America. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is the primary one, and I would also like to submit that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is another. These are the two groups that were going to file a lawsuit against a middle school to have a picture of, well to them some dead guy, removed. So who is more irrational? The school that put up a picture of a guy that lived two-thousand years ago, or special interest group that threatened to sue the school over that picture/
- People are not really losing freedom, right?
Wrong. Liberty is defined as, “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” Any time the government tells Christians that they cannot do something or have to do something, they take away our liberty, the same is true for any religious groups. People all throughout history have known this, and we need to be doing our best to protect our liberties from, the American Civil Liberties Union?
- What do we do?
Well there are several solutions, but I’ll spare gross details. The first is to just leave people alone. In addressing somebody’s religious beliefs by threatening to sue you are giving them more reason to believe and admitting that their beliefs might just hold some water. Another possible solution is to just practice civil disobedience, the best way to lose rights is to roll over and let yourself be walked on. Finally the courts could just choose not to hear any cases of this matter, in which case both parties should agree to disagree and split ways.