Author Topic: Separation of Church and State  (Read 25011 times)

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Richard Myers

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Separation of Church and State
« on: December 08, 2007, 12:54:44 PM »
A most important topic that is on the minds of many in the United States today is the Biblical foundation for the American heritage of the separation between church and state. It is indeed a Biblical principle and represents true Protestantism. Just  a few days ago a presidential candidate expressed his views on the subject and promised to be faithful to the Constitution and its protection of individual liberty, most pointedly liberty of conscience regarding worship.

There is need to clarify just what the "wall of separation" is and what it is not. Satan, as usual is working both sides of that narrow road which leadeth to everlasting life.

The ten commandments, the great law of God, is the basis of all righteous and good laws. Those who love God's commandments will conform to every good law of the land. While all good laws conform to the law of God, is there any law that would conform to one of the commandments that would not be good? What are the principles involved in the separation of church and state?
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Mimi

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2007, 02:23:51 PM »
Hi, Richard - this is a timely topic given the atmosphere in America these days.

Absolutely, there is a potential law dealing with one of the Ten Commandment laws and its enforcement would be devastating! And that would be one to enforce upon all citizens of America a specific day of worship working against their individual conscience.

I wish for the Muslim freedom to worship on Friday just as I wish to have freedom to worship on Saturday, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

At such time as the government sees fit to dictate a specific day of worship, outlawing all others, then we have a wedding of church and state.

Regarding principles: The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2007, 03:05:11 PM »
Amen.

Homosexuals, those who promote abortion, pornographers, and all Bible haters have been very active in making "the wall" something it is not. There is therefore an effort being made by professing Christians to also make "the wall" something it is not. As is often the case, Satan is working on both sides of that narrow road which leads to heaven. It is a blessing to be able to rightly understand the personal and religious liberty that God gave America.  The Constitution was inspired and the answer for those who had experienced the loss of liberty in Europe. It was never thought that liberty would extend to immorality as we see being extolled today. Let us see both what is protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and is Biblical regarding the laws of the land.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2007, 10:16:01 AM »
How far does "liberty of conscience" go?  Some say that our laws are to allow individuals to do as they please. That we ought to be able to go contrary to the ten commandments in the area that deals with our personal relationships. Is this true? Or should the laws of a nation follow the law of God in how we deal with each other?  This would surely bring religion into matters of state?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Cop

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 10:04:46 PM »
Interesting article from Liberty Magazine:

[Excerpts]
However, the crowd pushing separation most vigorously is also the crowd thatís trying to regulate certain religious beliefs out of existence. Pharmacists arenít allowed to express their religious sentiments about abortion and retain their jobs. Catholic hospitals are consistently fighting attempts to force them to provide abortions despite their clear religious teaching. Catholic Charities of California is required to recognize "gay marriage" despite their own beliefs. Schoolchildren (a.k.a. individual citizens not to be confused with government officials) are told that they arenít allowed to pray or have Bible studies on school property. In one case, schoolchildren were threatened with federal prison if they dared utter a prayer on their own volition during a graduation ceremony. The IRS has investigated churches for preaching against abortion. In short, the wall of separation is growing to enforce a certain religious orthodoxy and not protect the free expression of religion that was also mentioned in the First Amendment.

The irony of setting up such a system where beliefs are regulated to some level of appropriate orthodoxy on issues such as abortion is that the sword cuts both ways, depending on the whims of government. When right wing churches complained about IRS harassment, the left wing told them to stop talking about abortion instead. However, when an antiwar sermon brought the IRS, the left wing cried foul. The founders were rightly concerned about this abuse, which is why in the same breath of saying the state should establish no official religion, it should also in no way restrict reasonable expressions of religion.

Contrary to the opinion of some, the First Amendment doesnít require regulating religion into hiding; it requires that church and state remain institutionally separate. The mere expression of the word "God" in a speech does not a theocracy make.

http://www.libertymagazine.org/article/articleview/679/1/101/

Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2007, 06:45:48 AM »
Yes, it is the case that Satan is working on both sides of the street. We must see the error in both and work towards a proper wall of separation. One that allows for "moral" law based upon Bible truth, yet does not attempt to force the conscience in matters of worship. We may indeed execute the murderer, according to Scripture, but we may not enforce Sunday laws as the pope has called for.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2007, 10:34:36 AM »
How should the Christian look at legislation aimed at restricting homosexuality?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2007, 12:33:29 PM »
Human legislation of a spiritual issue is always a bad thing.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2007, 07:34:45 PM »
I take it that you perceive homosexuality to be a "spiritual issue"?

And murder? Is it a spiritual issue also? Or is it amoral? And stealing? Is is a spiritual issue? And how about adultery? Is it a spiritual issue? And divorce? You have quite a selection to choose from? Which will you call "spiritual" and thus disallow for legislation? No human laws for any of these "spiritual issues"?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2007, 08:17:04 PM »
I take it that you perceive homosexuality to be a "spiritual issue"?

Yes, I do.

And murder? Is it a spiritual issue also? Or is it amoral?

Murder, in the sense God looks at it, is a spiritual issue. It is impossible for human legislation to curtail it. Only a transformed nature will do the trick.

Ending another person's life, OTOH, can and should be prevented by human legislation.

And stealing? Is is a spiritual issue?

Taking someone else's property is very much a physical issue. But coveting it in the first place is the root spiritual issue. Fix the root, and the fruit will be good also.

And how about adultery? Is it a spiritual issue?

Oh, yes. It's a spiritual issue that would lead to rampant persecution should humans try to legislate it.

Can you imagine what would happen if we made it illegal to look at a woman lustfully? Who is going to police this illegal activity? How would a judge determine guilt or innocence?

Of course, man can legislate what kind of sexual activity is or is not allowed. But that doesn't even begin to scratch what adultery means.

And divorce?

Sure, man can legislate that. But then, such legislation would have little or no effect on improving the godliness of marriages.

You have quite a selection to choose from? Which will you call "spiritual" and thus disallow for legislation? No human laws for any of these "spiritual issues"?

Yes, the selection is huge. But I have a simple rule to distinguish between what man can legislate, and what should be left alone: If what I do impacts another person, then the govt can legislate it; if it happens within the recesses of my thoughts and feelings, leave it to God.

For the former, the state should enforce it; for the latter, the church should work toward transforming the lost souls within its reach. If we keep their spheres of authority clear, distinct, and separate, we should be fine. But if one entity crosses the line to the other side's sphere, regardless of which entity does the crossing, the wall is broken down and the fires of persecution will be kindled.

In short, if we look to the state to enforce God's law, we're barking up the wrong tree.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2007, 10:01:23 PM »
I am confused as to  your thinking on this subject Brother Arnold. Please explain how you define a "spiritual issue".  If murder is a spiritual issue then you think it is bad to legislate against it, but then you say we ought to. Help me.  :)   We are not talking about murder in the heart, but real live murder, real live homosexuality, and real live abortion.  Are these what you call "spiritual issues" that you believe we ought not consider in our legal system?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2007, 10:35:52 PM »
We can, and must, limit what man can do to man. But we have no business legislating man's obligation to God.

The former is allowable in a democracy; the latter only in a theocracy.
By God's grace,
Arnold M. Sy Go
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2007, 10:47:53 PM »
I agree. Can we now move on to specifics?  Back to homosexuality. It appears this is something that man does to man. Ought we have laws that relate to homosexuality?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2007, 09:06:53 AM »
Back to homosexuality. It appears this is something that man does to man. Ought we have laws that relate to homosexuality?

In the fullest sense, homosexuality is something that happens within a person's thoughts and feelings. One can be homosexual all by himself. That aspect must be left between man and his Maker.

But there are aspects of homosexuality that require another person's participation. Shall we limit these activities? I think that's the kind of legislation you're thinking about.

Should we ban intimate relations between two consenting adults of the same gender? We have the authority to do that within a democracy. But on what grounds would such a prohibition be founded? What reason would I have to tell others what or what not to do in the privacy of their own homes? Give me a reason that does not infringe on the Establishment Clause.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2007, 09:55:42 AM »
Back to homosexuality. It appears this is something that man does to man. Ought we have laws that relate to homosexuality?

In the fullest sense, homosexuality is something that happens within a person's thoughts and feelings. One can be homosexual all by himself. That aspect must be left between man and his Maker.

But there are aspects of homosexuality that require another person's participation. Shall we limit these activities? I think that's the kind of legislation you're thinking about.

Should we ban intimate relations between two consenting adults of the same gender? We have the authority to do that within a democracy. But on what grounds would such a prohibition be founded? What reason would I have to tell others what or what not to do in the privacy of their own homes? Give me a reason that does not infringe on the Establishment Clause.

Right now, I am not considering laws of different countries, I am only asking what God would have us do. What is right in God's eyes.  You seem to be hesitant suggest we ought to make a law restricting homosexual acts. What is the moral thing to do?
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2007, 12:41:27 PM »
Right now, I am not considering laws of different countries

Me, too. I'm only looking at USA, and the rights & restrictions provided by the Constitution.

I am only asking what God would have us do. What is right in God's eyes.  You seem to be hesitant suggest we ought to make a law restricting homosexual acts. What is the moral thing to do?

What God wants, what's right in God's eyes, what's moral - all of these are beyond the scope the state. If we want to keep church and state separate, we must not allow these considerations into the matters of the state. If we do, then the wall is torn down, and the momentary victory for the side of good will soon be forgotten amid the torrent that Satan will pass through that broken wall.

If we are to restrict homosexual acts, what non-religious, amoral reason could we have for it? What objective grounds can we have for restricting the actions of two or more consenting adults when done in private?

BTW, we do all know that a Sunday law can be passed today as long as a non-religious, amoral reason can be given for it, right? For example, if some economic reason can be given for a Sunday law, it will not be struck down as unconstitutional.

The same loophole we are looking for to restrict homosexual acts is going to be used to oppress Sabbath-keepers. My question is this: Do we want to make that loophole bigger by getting in the habit of using it, or do we want to plug it?

Satan doesn't care which side of the conflict tears down the wall, as long as it gets torn down.
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Arnold M. Sy Go
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2007, 03:14:25 PM »
Then what do we do with this statement?

We can, and must, limit what man can do to man. But we have no business legislating man's obligation to God.

The former is allowable in a democracy; the latter only in a theocracy.

I believe as you do, that this is allowable in a democratic republic. I also believe that we can and must limit what man can do to man. Why would you make an exception for what a man does to a man in his homosexual acts? Is  it not hurtful? Why turn our head from this crime against man?
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Dora

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2007, 04:27:17 PM »
Of course, I have always known that the homosexual lifestyle was not what God planned.  He created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. I believe the homosexual lifestyle is morally wrong, but so is any sexual act outside of marriage, and there can be no real "marriage" between two of the same sex.

But, should we try to legislate homosexual lifestyles?  Like Brother Arnold, I do not see how we could without opening the door for the possibility for more of our freedoms to be taken away. 

As far as what "man does to man," if someone is raped, of course, that should be addressed.  But, Brother Arnold, correct me if I am wrong, I believe you are speaking of what two consenting people of the same gender do in their own homes, not infringing on anyone else?  As repulsive as the idea is to me, I have to admit that we have no more right to legislate their actions than we do the private actions of Mr. & Mrs John Doe, in their home.  At least, that is how I believe the constitution is written.
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asygo

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2007, 05:27:28 PM »
But, Brother Arnold, correct me if I am wrong, I believe you are speaking of what two consenting people of the same gender do in their own homes, not infringing on anyone else?

You are not wrong. That's exactly what I'm talking about.

I have difficulty with infringing on the desires of two adults in the context of a non-theocracy. Why should I tell Adam to stop doing something to Steve that Steve wants Adam to do to him? As Christian, I can and must do just that. But as a statesman, what business of that is mine? If I want them to let me worship God on the Sabbath, I might have to let them worship self at home.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Separation of Church and State
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2007, 05:50:20 PM »
And does that extend to ending one's life?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.