Church and State

There’s no biblical support for joining Church and State. Besides Israel, the only nation God expected to be a theocracy (I Sam. 8:4, 5; 12:12), not a single government was under any pressure to conform to Scripture. The prophet Daniel respected the authority of the ungodly King Nebuchadnezzar, and the early Christians respected the authority of the ungodly Roman government. With that in mind, Christians shouldn’t be overly concerned about a politician’s views on religion (unless religious freedom is at risk). Though it’s a plus to have someone godly in power, remind yourself you’re voting for a government official, not your pastor. What’s happening is hypocrites are saying they’re Christians to gain votes and it’s offensive. It’s better to hear no mention of God from someone than to hear a hypocrite mention His name and end speeches with “God bless.” While the United States is the central focus here, this message applies to all countries.

Some Christians seem delighted to hear about politicians praying together, unaware that many of the participants are hypocrites who, instead of praying for the strength to change, claim God accepts their behavior. The apostle Paul told Christians in Corinth to separate themselves from hypocrites (I Cor. 5). And the prophet Elijah told the Israelites they had to choose between the true God and the god Baal (I Kings 18:17-21), which is in stark contrast to the many prayer services where politicians also pray with people of various religions. Their interfaith heresy is thought of as tolerance, but Christians can respect non-Christians without partaking in a religious ceremony with them. Christians in ancient Rome respected their pagan rulers while distancing themselves from paganism. Furthermore, they would have been offended if a pagan official asked them to swear to God before testifying during a trial. Yet countless Christians in American courtrooms have been asked to swear to God to tell the truth by ungodly officials who are just reciting something they don’t believe in. If there’s any speculation that this pleases God, don’t forget He hates it when people honor Him with their mouths alone (Isa. 29:13, 14), and calls insincere worship an abomination (Isa. 1:11-14).

It’s not the government’s place to lead Christians in prayer. That’ what privately run churches are for, and if one of them is run by a hypocrite, no one has to attend it. It’s different with public schools, the only option for parents who can’t home-school their children or afford a private school. Not all teachers are fit for leading students in prayer. Some even have sex with students and have no business playing church in the classroom. The Christians who would like America’s teachers to go back to starting class with prayer should ask themselves if they’d attend a prayer service being led by a drunkard or a fornicator, because that would be a problem in public schools if teachers were given that role. And to be fair to atheists, they shouldn’t be subjected to school-sanctioned prayer either. After winning that battle, however, several have gone on to attack religious freedom in schools. When I was in high school students watched the school’s news, put together by fellow students, on a TV in each classroom. The broadcast regularly gave brief announcements “calling all Christians” to join a prayer group at the school’s flagpole in the morning before class. I overheard another student say it shouldn’t be allowed because “it’s prayer in school.” That attitude is pure bigotry.

School’s aren’t churches, but that’s no reason for an outright ban on prayer. Students, as well as teachers, should be allowed to pray on a school’s property when it’s done on their own time (regardless of their religion). It’s shouldn’t matter if they’re in the parking lot, in a hallway or in the cafeteria. Public schools should take a neutral stand on religion by neither endorsing it nor prohibiting its practice when it’s not taking away from class time. Think of your job for an example of neutrality. Your employer probably doesn’t start the day with prayer, but I’m sure employees are allowed to pray in the parking lot or in the break room. Just not while on the clock. So it should be in public schools.

The war on religious freedom has gotten so bad that teachers have been told they can’t have a Bible on their desks. Would they be told the same about a Qur’an or an issue of American Atheist magazine? Probably not. All of these texts should be allowed on a teacher’s desk as long as they aren’t used to indoctrinate students. Sadly, some students have been indoctrinated with homosexual propaganda in school. I know of at least one public school that showed young students a video telling them it’s normal for someone to have same-sex parents. Other public schools want to teach gay history. The justification for it is it might prevent gay students from being bullied. In that case, students should be taught that other perverted behaviors are acceptable as well. Kids these days are taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves and sharing them with other kids using smartphones. This sexting, as it’s called, has also resulted in bullying. But students aren’t being taught that sexting is acceptable, and neither should they be taught that homosexuality is acceptable.

There’s a heated debate over whether or not intelligent design should be taught in public schools. Evolutionists say it violates the separation of Church and State. This would be true if it were a Bible study, but it’s not. It’s all about science, including the functions of the cell and how it operates using instructions from DNA. Intelligent design doesn’t teach who the designer is and some of its advocates believe life on Earth was designed by extraterrestrials, not God. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, wrote a book entitled Life Itself, in which he argued just that. He rejected evolution on grounds that life here is too complex to have originated by chance. Intelligent design is not a religious doctrine. Even so, I’d be perfectly happy if neither it nor evolution was taught in public schools. All that needs to be taught is how life works, not its origin. Life’s origin can be discussed elsewhere.

Before Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, life’s origin needed no explanation. Most everyone, including Isaac Newton, accepted that life was created. Newton studied nature to study God’s creation. Unfortunately, rebels like Darwin challenged the truth, and public schools are now teaching his 19th-century ignorance as modern science. Atheists are determined to perpetuate the teaching of Darwin’s theory in schools to eliminate the need for a Creator. They weren’t there to see the creation and deny it took place. Their mindset is reminiscent of the saying that if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, it didn’t make a sound. To the contrary, it would have made a sound. Suppose Edison’s phonograph was modified to run on a battery and left unattended in the forest. A falling tree’s sound waves would vibrate a disk attached to a needle, which would then etch a spiral track of indentations into tinfoil wrapped around the rotating cylinder below. The indentations could then be retraced with another needle attached to a disk, creating a vibration in tune with the previous vibration to reproduce the sound of the falling tree. The evidence for sound could be seen in the tinfoil, just as the evidence for creation can be seen in the world around us. “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” (Rom. 1:20)

Mentioning intelligent design in a biology textbook should be no more necessary than mentioning it in an automechanics textbook. The evidence of design is obvious. Both a car and your body run on the energy from combustion, with the fuel being gasoline in one and food in the other. A car requires someone to repair it, while your body can repair itself and clearly has a more complex design. If evolutionists want to deny the obvious, they have that right. But they have no right to teach their theory in public schools. It’s an attack on religion and science both. Biology teachers have actually told students life may have begun with lightning zapping some chemicals. That kind of nonsense belongs in a movie, not a classroom. It reminds me of a Friday the 13th film that starts off with Jason’s corpse coming back to life after being struck by lightning. And even that would be more likely than the scenario proposed by evolutionists. At least a corpse would be made of cells with DNA inside of them. Some evolutionists say that yes, life was created, but then evolved through God’s guidance. Christians should not compromise for this lie. The first chapter of Genesis says sea life, birds, land animals, creeping things and humans were separate creations. Darwinian evolution is not compatible with the Bible.

Atheists don’t like it when they pay for religious programs, so they should relate to how Christians feel when they have to pay for what offends them. There are some things public funds should not pay for, no matter how much good it’s supposed to do. That includes faith-based drug treatment programs. If they help addicts recover, many ask, what’s the problem? The problem is no one, Christian or not, should pay to convert people to something he or she doesn’t believe in. What a lot of Christians haven’t thought about is there are non-Christian faith-based programs they might have to pay for. Then there’s the possibility of the government having a say in how Christian programs are run when they accept public funds. Church and State are separate institutions and neither should take money from the other. Jesus made a distinction between money belonging to the Church and money belonging to the State when saying, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21). Offering is paid to churches, and taxes are paid to the State.

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