Saturday, August 13, 2005


Millions of Americans want America to be an official Christian nation

(This column will run in the 8/18/2005 THE ALBANY (Ga.) JOURNAL)

“Dear Mr. President:

In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. ...Christ has allowed you to be His servant in this nation for another presidential term. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government....”

Bob Jones, III, President, Bob Jones University

“There's a battle being waged for the very soul of America. Power-hungry courts have run amok, fueled by secular allies, and together are eroding the spiritual foundation of America.”
From official website of M. G. “Pat” Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)

As Iraqis put the finishing touches on their country’s first democratically based constitution and wrestle with issues like whether or not Islamic Law (Sharia) should be enforced as the law of the land on infidels and Muslims alike, we Americans face a similar struggle over the role of religion in public life. If asked many ordinary Americans would agree that we should base the laws of our nation on the Bible and openly acknowledge God in the public schools. One poll found that 32 percent of Americans would favor a constitutional amendment to make Christianity the official religion.

But the most fervent adherents of turning America into a Christian theocracy would surely oppose provisions in Iraq’s new constitution that all laws conform to the Koran and that only those who profess a belief in the prophet Mohammed could hold public office. It would be a bitter pill indeed if almost two thousand Americans, many if not most Christian, would have died to create a government which discriminates against Christians and reduces the role of women to virtual property.

As for Americans’ willingness to abide by the First Amendment’s guarantee of Freedom of Religion and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection under the Law, the Associated Press reported in December of 2004 that:

“Nearly one in two Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict civil liberties for Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide Cornell University poll on terrorism fears. The survey also found respondents who identified themselves as highly religious supported restrictions on Muslim-Americans more strongly than those less religious. Curtailing civil liberties for Muslim-Americans also was supported more by Republicans than Democrats, the survey found.”

Almost a thousand years after the Crusades, in an age when advances in science have brought us space travel, computers, and annoying cell phones, millions of human beings, Christian and Muslim, can’t wrap their brains around the concept that tolerance and respect for minority religions is essential to peace. As retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it so eloquently in the recent Ten Commandments case:

“Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly? Our guiding principle has been James Madison's — that ‘[t]he Religion . . . of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man.’”

For Bob Jones, Pat Robertson, and others who don’t agree with James Madison and Justice O’Connor, in our country they are free to peacefully attempt to persuade non-Christians that the Bible is an infallible guide to lawmaking. But if life were fair, then before they do they should have to publicly respond to Aaron Sorkin’s (West Wing) Jed Bartlet riposte to a Dr. Laura character:

“1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)”

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