Thursday, May 24, 2012

Religion Is Personal

My faith is a very personal thing and I do not want any government telling me how to worship or what to believe. Recently I have received hundreds of emails from well meaning friends telling me [note not asking but telling] to write President Obama and congress telling them that this is a “Christian Nation.” They also want me to pass the message on to all my friends. It would seem that there is a campaign afoot.

I do not think that they understand the term “Christian Nation” or they would not send those emails. While we are a country whose citizens are predominately members of the Christian faith, we are not now nor have we ever been a “Christian Nation” and as a Christian Pastor I do not want us to be so.

The term “Christian Nation” denotes a country that has established an official relationship with a Christian .denomination. England is a “Christian Nation” because it has established an official Church/State relationship with the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth is officially the head of the Church of England. Spain is a “Christian Nation” because it has established an official Church/State relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

Our founding fathers established this country as one that provides its citizens with total freedom of religion with a clear separation of church and state. One of those founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” We are a country that is in fact very religious. Almost every religion in the world has believers living here. Even though our money states, “In God We Trust”, we leave it to each religion to define the term ‘god’. It does not say Christian God, Jewish god, Muslim god, Hindu gods or Mormon god. Those who don’t believe in any god are free to ignore the term altogether.

As a Christian Pastor, I believe that the separation of church and state has been a major blessing for the Christian faith in America. The church is stronger because it has not relied on the government for support or recognition. With great wisdom the founding fathers placed in our constitution the first amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We have always had other faiths than Christian in our country and their rights to freedom of religion have been respected here. They too are better off because of our great freedom of religion. All of our more than three hundred denominations of the Christian faith in the USA have been blessed and their rights of freedom of expression in the practice of their faith are respected. That would not be true in a country where a particular religion has been established as a state religion and it is the only one allowed. Think about it folks we do not want the government telling us what church to belong to, not even my church. Nor do we want the government collecting a “church tax” from everyone and giving it to some “established” church that is state approved. Religion is very personal, let’s leave the state out of it altogether.  


  1. So, what about President Obama forcing the Catholic church to provide abortions and birth control, although these concepts are both against the teachings of the Church? Isn't that an intrusion of the state upon the church?

  2. Good question with two points of view!
    1. I think it would be wrong for the government to force a church to actually provide abortions or force a believer to have them.
    2. It is a different thing to provide equal health insurance coverage to everyone. If a non-church member working for a church related organization desires this coverage it should be available.

    NOTE: this brings up other non related issues such as government mandatory national health insurance which I disagree with.

  3. I think it is wrong to force a church to provide something with which they disagree. In this case, abortion and contraceptives should not be forced upon Catholic hospitals. It defeats the very purpose of the hospital's existence.