The battlefield for the hearts and souls of Americans is heating up. President Obama’s promise to radically transform America has shifted into high gear, and the “hope and change” agenda has taken on an ominous character against religious expression. What should be the religious liberty battle plan for concerned Christians to overcome the transformation?
First, let me list three caveats to this blog:
- I’m a Bible teacher, first and foremost. I’m not a political thinker nor a political strategist. Although the thoughts in this blog are political, no real, positive change occurs in the physical without change in the spiritual. Repentance of the saints and prayer must come before any lasting political change,
- The “transformation” of America has been ongoing for generations and is not something new, and
- Only a “radical re-transformation” of America will suffice. Nibbling at the edges of the problem won’t work.
If we don’t radically re-transform America, I believe we will face a time of unprecedented religious persecution which may include loss of Christians’ property, mass imprisonments, and even death. Do not take the threats of those posed against the Church lightly. We are already seeing the first glimpses of this persecution. The time to react is now.
If we are going to undo the left’s transformation of America, we need to first understand how our nation began to be first subtly, and now more radically changed. In my opinion there were two major, political turning points that have led America to where we are.
- Separation of Church and State: a Supreme Court decision in Everson v. Board of Education, (1947)
- The Johnson Amendment. A 1954 change in the tax code preventing tax-exempt organizations (churches) from endorsing or opposing political candidates
From these first two landmark laws/decisions have flowed the plethora of unrighteousness that plagues our nation: the teaching of evolution in schools, abortion, and now same-sex marriage. These first two turning points have had the chilling effect of causing the citizens of this nation to believe that our religious beliefs should not influence our political actions. Interestingly, our churches (grounded in a rule of divine law) have obeyed these laws. For the most part, the unrighteous have ignored them themselves and used them to their advantage against us.
Unfortunately in the 1940’s and 50’s, the Christian community did not see the ominous shadow that these laws would cast on their American dream. Many even supported these laws in their original form. But just like a cancer, these two laws have morphed and metastasized into something very destructive. If we are going to “radically re-transform” religious liberty in America, we need to cut out the primary tumors: these two laws/decisions. We must resist efforts to nibble at the edges, we need to perform surgery on the cancer out of which all the other unrighteous decisions flow.
Same-Sex Marriage and Abortion are incredibly hot issues in the USA right now. Overturning these Supreme Court decisions would be enormously contentious and extremely difficult. Overruling the foundations of those unrighteous decisions, however, would be vested in less emotion. Now I don’t suggest that Christians not strive to continue to work on efforts to minimize the effects of Abortion and Same-sex marriage decisions in a myriad of ways such as defunding Planned Parenthood, but overcoming the root cause of the attack on religious liberty should be our primary effort. Anything less will not work.
Undo the Foundations
I propose an effort similar in scope to the “Tea Party” movement to overrule and replace these foundational laws. Once schools, board rooms, and city and state governments are free to teach and speak about God; and once pastors are again free to be the primary voice in elections, our entire nation can be transformed. While we still have the freedom to work towards over-ruling these laws, we must do it.
If the Church of Jesus Christ is galvanized around this one central issue, we have the political power to undo these evil laws which have slowly eroded our freedom. We must overcome petty denominational differences. We must not let side issues like economics, immigration, abortion, same-sex marriage, or the charisma of candidates sway us from the determination to achieve this goal. If overruling these laws becomes the central focus of the 2016 election for the Church, we can do it, but it will take a unity the Church has not yet seen. Only God and his power can do it. Let’s cover this issue with prayer.
Once we undo the foundations, we will have room to maneuver and the freedom to educate all Americans. Winning back the hearts and minds of America is necessary to take on Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage and the rest of the unrighteous decisions that are pilling upon us. Education is also a Gospel issue. Giving Creationism equal standing in our schools may have an enormous impact on generations of Americans who have trusted the false theory of Evolution as fact. So overruling these laws is the first and fundamental step to change.
The unrighteous will not see this coming. Just like the Wizard of Oz, they feel these laws are safely behind the curtain of time having been a fabric of American politics for 70 years. But just like Toto, we must pull aside the curtain so our fellow citizens and Churchgoers can see what is truly controlling the loss of religious liberty today.
The Johnson Amendment
I think our first target should be the Johnson Amendment. In 1954, Lyndon Johnson, destined to be a future president, was annoyed by attacks against his ethics by a group of Texas churches. In response LBJ pushed a “teeny, tiny” amendment into a tax bill prohibiting tax exempt organizations from supporting or opposing political candidates. The seemingly innocuous addition went unnoticed by congress and the bill passed by a voice vote. There wasn’t even a roll call vote. No one seemed to recognize it was a clear infringement of the First Amendment.
There are efforts underway to repeal this bill already, but because “sexier” agenda items like immigration and same-sex marriage (these are important also, of course), main stream Christians know nothing about the Johnson Amendment. If overruling these two laws becomes the rallying cry of tens of millions of Christians in the 2016 elections, however, the Johnson Amendment should fall rather quickly.
Once amended, pastors, many of whom have become “milquetoasts” afraid to offend minority groups in their congregations, then need to be encouraged to speak God’s truth on political issues AND candidates.
Separation of Church and State
The thornier issue will be the Separation of Church and State “doctrine.” I think conservatives need to take a “play” out of the left’s playbook. Separation of Church and State, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage were all introduced into American law by the Supreme Court. None of these fundamental changes to our religious landscape would have been possible through the legislative process. Passing a Constitutional Amendment is difficult. Passing one overturning the Separation of Church and State might be politically impossible at this time. A Supreme Court decision “re-defining” and “softening” the original 1947 decision is probably only a few Supreme Court justices away, however. Possibly it is one justice away, especially if “softening” the original decision is our goal not complete elimination.
First, let’s look at how this doctrine became doctrine. In 1947, New York was using tax payer monies to bus Catholic school children. Satan himself used the division and hatred between Protestants and Catholics to encourage attack on this practice, and through a back door, to attack Christianity. The Supreme Court quoted a letter from Thomas Jefferson that included the words “separation of church and state” to redefine what the First Amendment to the Constitution meant in the “Establishment Clause.” Just as with the legalization of Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage, the Constitution was “re-defined” by activist judges. It is amazing to me, that as a society and as a Church, we have allowed this redefinition to stand all these years without challenge.
I think it is time to place Emerson v. the Board of Education clearly in our cross-hairs. The first step is education. Long before November 2016’s election, we need to begin to promote the fallacy of this decision which is thought by a vast majority of Americans (including Christians) to be part of the Constitution. I was discussing this at work the other day. The gentleman I was discussing it with was stunned when I told him that the doctrine came out a letter by Thomas Jefferson (and actually a misstatement of it). He didn’t believe me and immediately googled “separation of church and state;” and the very first item to come up was a picture of Jefferson’s letter. He isn’t a Christian, but now even he understands.
Once the average citizen’s mindset on this issue is transformed, the laws can be transformed.
How to Overrule the Laws
The first step is re-education of Christians. We have the internet. We have social media. We have some of the pulpits. We need to use them. Most Christians don’t even think it possible to tear down the wall of separation between church and state back to what the Founding Fathers intended.
The second step is organization. If radically high taxes and debt could organize a Tea Party Movement, the threat to religious liberty should triple that fervor. The evangelical vote is crucial to all Republican candidates. What if they realized that overruling these foundational laws was a hot button for all Christians, not just evangelicals? How much campaign spending and rhetoric might be spent on ads that ultimately would educate all of America? The first step is to make this important to Christians. The politicians’ money will follow.
The final step is to radically transform the Supreme Court of the United States after a new President and congress are elected. Might that involve a slow replacement of justices or even impeachment of some or all of the five justices who redefined the Constitution in the decision on Same-Sex Marriage? I will leave the “how-to” to greater legal minds than mine. But it is imperative that the Supreme Court be transformed if the nation is to be transformed.
In conclusion we need to think outside of the very narrow box that is suffocating our liberties. It is time to be radical; radical in a way that restores Godly foundations (Ps. 11:3) rather than tears them down. This is not a time to play it “safe.” We are not “safe.” Let’s become radical in a Godly way.
I am a simple Bible teacher. We need those in authority in the Christian community to catch this vision and run with it. If you are a simple Christian as I, lets do what we can to get this message out to the leaders so they apply their greater access to resources and followers to begin to make a difference.