In May, Americans United (AU) for the Separation of Church and State highlighted a poll conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in partnership with the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University. They used the survey to argue that people on the Religious Right were a threat to America because they are the people most “eager to base U.S. law on their understanding of religion.”
They noted that the poll found seventeen percent of white evangelicals “want their faith to be the main source of U.S. law, and a whopping 54 percent want it to provide the source of some of our laws. Only 27 percent said that evangelicalism shouldn’t be the source of our laws at all.”
AU concluded, “The next time someone tries to scare you with stories of creeping sharia in your town, think twice. The Christian fundamentalist theocrats among us pose a much more serious threat.”
If AU had anything other than a revisionist view of American history, they would know that if the Founders were living today, they would be counted among that seventeen percent, which said they believe Judeo-Christian principles should be the primary source of law.
In his exceptional book, Our Sacred Honor, William J. Bennett, who served under the administrations of two Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has rightly contended:
“America, in the eyes of many of our Founders, was a ‘New Israel.’ American exceptionalism – what made this country truly unique – was not its long history or established cultural traditions, for we had neither. What made this country different from all others was a prevalent belief that God played a direct and active hand in founding a people. Like the Jerusalem of old, America’s ‘New Jerusalem’ was to become God’s promised land to the oppressed – an example to all humankind. In short, without God’s blessing, many of the Founders, especially Washington, believed that this country would never have come into being.”
This conviction was so prominent in American life that, by the beginning of the 20th Century, when President Woodrow Wilson said, “America was born a Christian nation for the purpose of exemplifying to the nations of the world the principles of righteousness found in the Word of God,” nobody even winced.
Bennett also added and qualified that the Founders believed, “By worshipping and conducting ourselves in such ways that are pleasing to God, we would ensure that the American experiment would continue to thrive… But if there was a ‘Biblical fragrance’ to America,…it was not to be a theocracy.”
The Founders weren’t theocrats, but they did believe that our laws were best drawn from the Christian religion. Christian evangelicals of the present are no different, and entirely in sync with the American tradition.
There may be a fringe element among Christian evangelicals today who believe America should become a theocracy. But most think the theocracy described in the Old Testament applied only to Israel and another dispensation. Most hold that the New Testament doesn’t call for a theocratic form of government. Instead, the New Testament emphasizes principles and moral values that are relevant to all types of government. What Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles taught provided a tremendous amount of direction on morality and liberty. These Christian assertions are as relevant for totalitarian regimes as any democratic form of government.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech