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Rev. Mark Creech
 You're here » Christian Columns Index » Rev. Mark Creech » The Role of Faith in Conservative American Politics
The Role of Faith in Conservative American Politics
by Rev. Mark Creech - (AgapePress)
October 5, 2006
Category: Political
CHURCHES OF THE late Middle Ages are well known for embodying a Christian worldview in their architecture. No where is this better demonstrated than in the Gothic Cathedral at Chartes, France. This cathedral, which was built during the 12th century, supposedly pictures the kingdom of heaven on earth. In his book, Earth Restored, John Barber says "[t]he west façade, one of the most glorious of all Gothic structures, is harmonized through decoration and proportion to give it an upward, reaching effect -- reaching toward the purity of paradise itself." Barber further adds: "The south side of the cathedral displays Old Testament figures whose message is to proclaim that the rulers of France are not independent of God, but in fact stand in the line of the great kings and prophets from before the time of Christ. The worldview of the cathedral is summed up through a figure of Christ appearing as Judge and Lord of the Universe above the doorway with an assembly of twenty-four elders in the archivolts." The message of the Cathedral is clear, claims Barber: "the ideal society consists in a harmony of spiritual and secular injunction, where Christ is the head of both." [1]

Interestingly, America was founded on a similar view. Dating all the way back to the Mayflower Compact, the nation’s birth certificate reads: "... Having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith ... a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia ... do by these presents solemnly ... covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic." [2] When the New England settlements gathered, they formed what is known as the Constitution of the New England Confederation, which reads: "Whereas we all came to these parts of America with the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel thereof with purities and peace, and for preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the gospel." [3]

The documentary evidence that the United States was based on the concept that society should be built on a harmony between the secular and the sacred is solid. In 1832, Noah Webster published his History of the United States, in which he concluded: "The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion." [4]

Today, however, the religious premise of the nation has largely been wiped from the collective mind. Failing to realize all nations that ever existed were founded on some theistic basis (with exception of anti-theistic countries such as the former Soviet Union) -- whether it is the Hinduism of India, the Confucianism of Asia, the Islamic religion of the Arabic states, or the Christianity of the western nations -- Americans have offered little resistance to the radical effort of "progressives" to remove every vestige of America’s Christian heritage and completely secularize matters of public policy.

Certainly the mantra of progressives has been the so-called doctrine of the "separation of church and state." Terry L. Johnson, a Presbyterian minister from Savannah, Georgia, best summarizes the current circumstances, contending:
"The progressives have been saying for a generation or more that there is an impenetrable 'wall of separation' between church and state. This phrase, by the way, is not found in our national documents ... What is wrong with a manger scene at City Hall? What is wrong with a Menorah on city property? What is wrong with a prayer at graduation, or at the beginning of a football game, or at the beginning of the day in our public schools? Common sense, tells us, of course, that nothing is wrong with it. The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution at a time when ten of thirteen colonies had state-supported churches, and authorized government-paid chaplains for the military, opening the daily sessions of the Supreme Court and Senate with prayer. Moreover, the printing of the Bible at public expense never imagined the degree to which fanatics would go to remove religion from the public square." [5]
Unfortunately, this wrong-headed approach by progressives, who have dominated the political landscape in recent decades, has wreaked havoc on the nation’s character and institutions. Their misguided intent to unite the country under a secular multi-cultural banner has instead deeply divided it by removing its moral compass.

Such has precipitated a cultural war with a revival of sorts for "orthodox" or "conservative" values, which are fundamentally biblical in nature. A number of areas where the battles are currently being fought and must be won if the nation would be redeemed are:
1. The battle to preserve the sanctity of human life (Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 42:2, 24; Luke 1:41-44; Exodus 20:13). America’s wholesale slaughter of innocent life at its earliest stages through abortion and destructive embryonic stem-cell research is unacceptable. Neither is the practice of euthanasia or forms of assisted suicide tolerable. The Bible argues life is sacred at every stage and that government has a responsibility to vigorously protect it. The late Mother Teresa said at the 1996 National Prayer Breakfast, "If a child is not safe in his mother’s womb, nothing is safe." The attack on innocent human life at any juncture is an attack on all of life.

2. The battle to preserve the traditional monogamous family (Genesis 2:21-24; Ephesians 5:22-33). Divorce is epidemic in America with nearly half of all marriages failing. For the first time in the nation’s history more people are cohabitating than are married. Diverse forms of family such as homosexual marriage, polygamy, and group marriages are being advocated. These family scenarios are rejected by God. Moreover, they open a Pandora’s Box of ills that strike at the very heart of a stable society. They create circumstances where, unfortunately, children suffer the most. The ideal plan God ordained for the family simply begins with one man and one woman who legally marry for life.

3. The battle to preserve common decency (Proverbs 14:34). Alcohol and drug abuse is rampant, costing the nation nearly $400 billion annually, not to mention the destruction of countless American youth. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar business. Television programs and the movies are rift with obscenity, profanity and vulgarity. Yet many of the "liberal/progressive" persuasion promote the legalization of illicit drugs and advocate for lesser government regulation of the media.

Nevertheless, the best way to protect a representative republic is for the state to defend the national morality. John Adams, the second President of the United States argued: "Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society." [6]

4. The battle to preserve a limited government (Romans 13:1-7). The Scriptures teach that government’s primary responsibility is to procure justice by protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizenry. It may legitimately tax in order to carry out this particular function. But contrary to the notions of progressives, God never authorized government to tax in order to provide matters such as housing, food, child-care, health-care, etc. Just as individuals have no right to play Robin Hood and use their coercive powers to relieve poverty, neither does the government. In fact, governments are charged to do just the opposite -- to protect the private property of its citizens. Governments, as well as individuals, are required to obey the eighth commandment of God: "Thou shalt not steal." Although Christianity is concerned with the needs of the poor, it teaches "the poor you will have with you always" and poverty concerns are best addressed by acts of private charity.

Sadly, modern America has evolved into a welfare state that has made government "the opiate of the people." Americans look to the government to solve nearly all of their problems. Because government is involved in funding countless projects it was never authorized to take on, there is now an outrageous tax rate, Eminent Domain abuses, and even state promotion of vices such as gambling in order to supply the government’s insatiable desire for additional revenue. America must return to its moorings, once again embracing the biblical concept of limited government.

5. The battle to preserve the diffusion of government powers. ( Romans 3:10-18, 23; Jeremiah 17:9 ) Most of America’s founders were devout Christians who believed human nature is sinful and depraved. This conviction led them to conclude that liberty could only be protected when power was shared -- no person or group of persons should ever be trusted with total authority. Thus they established that federal power should be divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Lately, these lines of power have been blurred significantly, especially by the judicial branches. Nearly every issue currently tearing away at America’s moral fabric -- no school prayer, no posting of the Ten Commandments, abortion, the repeal of sodomy laws, homosexual marriage, etc. -- have been foisted on the public, not legitimately by the executive or legislative branches, but solely by activists judges bent more on making law rather than interpreting it according to the original intent of the founding fathers in the Constitution. Essentially, this has placed the neck of the nation under the foot of a judicial dictatorship.

Only a healthy respect for the Bible’s teaching about human nature’s tendency for corruption will lead Americans to reject, as well as be leery of any concentration of power, whether it’s an imperial Presidency, Congress, Judiciary, or something else.

6. The battle to preserve a faith-based educational system (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:4). Public schools today are the "golden calf" of the left. Their influence has literally removed the name of God from the campus. The worst effect by far is not simply that school prayer, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Creationism or Intelligent Design are not allowed in the classroom, but that students are led to believe that faith in God, reliance in the Holy Scriptures, or obedience to God’s commands has no place in the process of education.

The late great Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the U.S. Senate during the late 1940s, warned: "Let us not fool ourselves -- without Christianity, without Christian education, without the principles of Christ inculcated into young life, we are simply rearing pagans." [7]
Obviously, faith is the source of conservative values. Progressives may often assert that faith is also the premise for their values. But it should be realized as James Davidson Hunter, (professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Virginia) in his book, Culture Wars, The Struggle To Define America, notes: Progressives embrace the view that "moral and spiritual truth can only be conditional and relative." [8] In other words, they seek to supplant the eternal verities of the historic Christian tradition by imposing a faith or dogma of their own.

In a letter to General Benjamin Lincoln, dated June 29, 1788, George Washington’s words are a challenge, as well as a word of encouragement for modern America: "Much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly ... The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far ... to forsake us in the midst of it ... We may, now and then, get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path."

Indeed! And may God hasten the day when as pictured in the great Gothic Cathedral at Chartes, France, American jurisprudence will once again reach toward the "purity of paradise itself" -- harmonizing the secular and the spiritual, acknowledging Christ as the Lord of both.

[1] Barber, John, Earth Restored: Calling the Church to a New Christian Activism (Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2002), pp. 43, 44
[2] William J., Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Amerisearch, Inc., 1999), p. 435-436
[3] Ibid at p. 466
[4] Ibid at p. 678
[5] David W., Hall, Election Day Sermons, (The Kuyper Institute, 1996), p. 107
[6] William J., Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Amerisearch, Inc., 1999), p. 12
[7] Marshall, Catherine, The Best of Peter Marshall, (Guideposts, published by special arrangement with Chosen Books), pp. 73, 74
[8] James Davidson, Hunter, Culture Wars, The Struggle to Define America, (Basic Books 1991), p. 123


Rev. Mark H. Creech (calact@aol.com) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.

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