Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Trying To Separate Church And State

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibits any infringement on the Freedom of Speech for individuals and the Press. It also prohibits the U. S. Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. In the case of religion there will be no state interference with the functions of the church and no church interference in the functions of the state.

I support the Constitution and I’m not advocating changing any part of the first amendment. Early immigrants to the American colonies came here primarily to be able to worship freely. Many were victims of religious persecution in Europe. The desire to follow their individual religious conscience as to how to worship and honor their deity was fundamental to the eventual establishment and inclusion of Congress’ mandate not to establish a national religion.

A recent ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. There are varying degrees of commitment among them but the basic tenet of all Christian faith is that HE (Jesus Christ) leads and we follow. Christians are committed to that at baptism and reaffirm it when attending weekly worship services and Bible study. But how seriously do they consider what they truly believe when stepping into the voting booth?

While freedom to worship without government intervention exists, how do Christians like me reconcile our votes with our conscience? Will we compartmentalize the very essence of what we believe; to simply justify pulling the lever for one candidate or the other? Are we so caught up in the secular world that we compromise our values to the point of forsaking those beliefs?

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said we should not judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Although this unfortunately hasn’t always been the case in America, it too is a tenet of Christianity. Sadly there are those who call themselves Christian who continue to struggle with racism. In fact there are millions of Blacks and Whites who will choose who they will vote for simply because of the color of that candidate’s skin. That means, regardless of the outcome of this years presidential election, as a nation we’ll lose. Once again we’ll have lost sight of what really matters- the future direction of our nation.

Now I don’t know John McCain or Barrack Obama. Most Americans who vote on November 4th won’t know them either. But at this point in the campaign those who have been listening have a fairly good idea as to where each stands on the issues. Regardless of who wins one thing is certain; there will be change. Our economy is in trouble and both candidates have a plan for a course correction.

Economists argue over which candidate’s strategy has a better chance of working. McCain believes any plan that imposes further taxes on any segment of our society would negatively impact any chance this nation has of escaping our current economic doldrums; and in fact, will push this nation into full-fledged depression. Although Obama’s government mandated income redistribution plan might sound fair to some, it may lead to troubling consequences for a nation already suffering from debt overload. Taking any economic steps that could ultimately lead to a further escalation of a socialistic entitlement bureaucracy that steals incentive and innovation from a country that sorely needs it is dangerous. A Christian is taught to help all those who are in need. But what about personal responsibility; is it no longer relevant?

The two candidates for president have conflicting views on other issues that I and other conservatives wrestle with. Like most Christians I am pro-life. I’ve been taught life begins at conception. I cannot understand how those who are pro-choice can reject that. Life simply does not begin when the doctor whacks the baby on the behind. And Partial-birth abortion is a heinous medical procedure that has no place in any society. McCain is pro-life and Obama pro-choice. As a Christian I must vote my faith and conscience.

The next president will be appointing a minimum of one and perhaps three new justices to the Supreme Court. It is here where the future course for America will be ultimately decided. Obama is an advocate for liberal judges who will legislate from the bench while McCain will use no litmus test. Rather he promises to nominate judges who interpret laws based on the Constitution. Gay marriage, human cloning and second amendment right to bear arms challenges will be decided here. We’re already seeing the results of federal courts imperiously striking down laws and imposing new ones on arbitrary whims. This is the most important reason to choose your candidate carefully. A president may only serve a maximum of eight years. His appointments to the bench serve a lifetime.

While Christians represent the overwhelming majority of the citizenry, our courts have relegated us to submit to the will of the few. We’ve been forced to bend backwards to acknowledge every culture and belief but our own. Political correctness is the mantra of the progressive global thinkers who believe that this world should be nothing more than a group of individualists doing and saying whatever they like. Tolerance is necessary in any civilized society-but only up to a point. When tolerance includes being forced to accept even those things that are vile and evil, than the very existence of our nation is in grave jeopardy. It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “Tolerance is the virtue of a dying society.” World history clearly shows that he was right. As a Christian I will vote my conscience, my faith and my love of country.

There may be many good reasons for the “wall of separation” between church and state. But checking your Christian values at the door before you cast your vote was never the intention of our Founding Fathers.

God granted us Free Will. Jesus charged us with Compassion and Charity. I agree with Bob that God and Jesus can guide us in our choices. However there are a few efforts by Christians to get laws passed that turn over to the state the suppression of sin, rather than actions that harm another. I abhor and oppose these efforts. I believe we would have less opposition to Conservative and Libertarian principals if those of us who support our views actually practiced a little more Christian charity and respect for the Free Will granted by God in the laws we seek.


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