A Voice in the
This matter in Alabama has gotten national media attention; and tonight's news (8/27/03) says the monument got wheeled away into a 'back room'.
This thing has raised quite a stir, with different attitudes from different quarters. In a recent mailing from Chuck Baldwin, he says: "While Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's refusal to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery is not, in strict terms, civil disobedience, many people see it that way. Actually, the federal judge who ordered the monument's removal, Myron Thompson, and those who support him are guilty of breaking the law!" And in another mailing since this one, Baldwin equates Moore's refusal to remove the display with Daniel's refusal to obey the 30-day ban on prayer to anyone except the king. And if anybody disagrees with him, he suggests that they should rip Daniel ch6 out of their Bibles.
In addition, various ones claiming to be "christian" have been standing/sitting/sleeping 'guard' duty over the monument, lest some come and obey the superior's orders to remove it. Now that it's been wheeled away, I wonder how long they will stick around with their vigil? Various prominent religious leaders have been encouraging their hearers that, if they can afford to do so, that they should make the pilgrimage to Alabama and join those who are standing guard over the monument.
8/28/03 Now I read there is also a similar case going on in Wisconsin.
I'm not going to get into the "politics" of this issue. But since a good high percentage of you, likely, are Americans, it seems good to replace our Jeremiah study this holiday week-end (when some might not bother to read the mailings because it's a holiday, and thus miss out on the regular Jeremiah series) with a look at this issue...as Christians.
Contrary to Leftist/Liberal/atheistic propaganda, the US Constitution does NOT mandate a "separation between church and state". Such a statement (or intent) does not exist. What it does say is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
In other words, the US is not like Saudi Arabia, where the state religion is Islam, and all others are prohibited and brutally prosecuted. The US does NOT have a state religion. Congress cannot decide that "X" (whatever "X" may be) is going to be our national religion. Thus, constitutionally (legally), the US -cannot- be considered "Christian", "Buddhist", "Islam", or anything else. Constitutionally, this nation is 'religion-NEUTRAL'.
And also, the constitution guarantees the rights of citizens against government infringement of personal worship (of 'whatever' gods the person may worship).
And there is no stipulation one way or the other about government workers/officials expressing their personal beliefs whether 'at' or 'away-from' work, as any other citizen may display their beliefs 'at' or 'away-from' their jobs. Those claiming to be Christian wear crosses and fish. Satanists also wear crosses, specially-trimmed beards, black, etc. Occultists wear symbols of their beliefs. That's what the constitution is about...that all these various people are 'free-to-express' themselves in all their own individual ways.
Thus, having said that: I suspect if a judge was a satan worshiper, according to the constitution, legally, he would have just-as-equal rights to place symbols of his beliefs at his work place, such as pentagrams, crosses, statues of demons and what-have-you.
In case any of you are bristling up at that last paragraph, we're just laying out the 'facts'. What the Constitution -says-; and what those words -mean-; and as a result, how they can 'legally' be implemented. (Most of what's been going on is emotions-driven.)
Now, let's take a look... those who framed our Constitution during our nation's infancy, in exercising their own -personal- 'faiths', gave verbal assent to the Most High and the Scriptures. But does that mean they were [C]hristians?
A subscriber forwarded something I'd like to include here, and then I'll close below it with some thoughts. I'm not sure where it originates; that data was not included in the e-mail; but it agrees with what my memory serves from past readings of various things over the years:
Commandments should be written on the heart. That way where ever you go, there they are.
This is worth remembering, because it is true. It's familiar territory, but..... Those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this. Our courts have seen to that ! Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed, Christians? The other three all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.
Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death"; but in current textbooks, the context of these words is omitted. Here is what he actually said: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
These sentences have been erased from our textbooks.
Was Patrick Henry a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the front of his well-worn Bible: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator." He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.
On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: "It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."
William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation." Listen to these word of Mr. McGuffey: "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our nation, on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free Institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible, I make no apology."
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, HarvardUniversity, chartered in 1636.
In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies, is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
Today, we are asking God to bless America. But, how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Prior to September 11, He was not welcome in America. Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.
You are encouraged to share with others, so that the truth of our nation's history will be told.
John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life!
This information shared is only a drop of cement to help secure a
foundation that is crumbling daily in a losing war that most of the
country doesn't even know is raging on, in, and around them...
First of all, if this nation truly -WAS- a "Christian" nation (which the constitution says it cannot be), according to God's Law, this item in the Constitution would be sacrilege. God opened His Law by saying, "You shall have no other gods before Me". (Ex20:3) The fact that the US Constitution does not "prohibit the free exercise of" religion, in and of itself, is proof, from a Scriptural standpoint, that this is not a "Christian" nation. If it were a "Christian" nation, all other religions would be outlawed, and the penalty for idolatry would be "death" (Deu6:14-15, ch13) This nation would be towards "Christianity" the same as Saudi Arabia is regarding Islam...the way Israel was in the wilderness under Moses. Like Jerusalem was under Nehemiah who closed the gates for the sabbath against the foreign merchants, and threatened them if they should show up again on the sabbath. (Neh13:19-22) Even in the N.T. we are exhorted to not be "unequally yoked with unbelievers". (2Co6:14) A person who did not give pledge to being a Believing Christian (in the Scriptural sense) could not be an American citizen.
Thus, this nation is NOT "Christian", and NEVER HAS BEEN!! In the same way many so-called "christian" churches are not [C]hristian; just as, "not all those of Israel are Israel." (Rom9:6)
Next: just because this nation's founding fathers gave verbal assent to the Most High does not say they were true [C]hristians in their hearts.
Many today make "claims-for-Jesus" as they repeat His name over and over, and even write notes in their well-worn Bibles, but they are not [C]hristians. Just because they brought Bibles over does not mean they were saved; in the same way the purveyors of today's perversions of Scripture, calling them "Bible", and Bible publishing companies are not saved. Even our current president claims to read his Bible daily.
Many of those same men giving assent to the Most High were also high-order Free Masons (just like the current president?). Much about the establishment of Washington, D.C., the layout of its buildings and streets are according to masonry, occult and astrological positions and angles as they line up with the astrological heavens. The monument to the first president (who was also presumably a "christian") is a paganesque obelisk. God had said, "You shall...break their sacred pillars" (Ex34:13) It was when Judah sinned that they "..built for themselves...sacred pillars.." (1Ki14:23)
Our money proclaims, "In God We Trust", but also has the Free Masonry occult "seeing eye" in the pyramid. -Which- 'god' is it in whom they trust? "No one is able to serve two masters" (Mt6:24) Let's not forget that (as I understand it) satan worship often includes the use of the KJV Bible for incantations. Mormons give away the KJV free. That doesn't make either of those groups [C]hristian. So, just because those early leaders brought thousands of Bibles over, or invoked the Almighty, doesn't mean they were True Believers into Jesus Christ. 'Some' (some) of them may well-have-been (God knows their individual hearts). But... There are many preachers who vehemently pound their pulpits, but have come up "some other way" (Jn10:1) They may thump their Bibles... but they are not saved. Even satan quotes Scripture. (Mt4:6)
Our founding documents proclaim that all men are created equal, and are free. And yet, in true Christianity, we are "slaves" to Jesus Christ. (1Co7:22) So, even aside from the constitution, in what way is this a "Christian" nation?
What about this issue of a monument with God's "Ten Commandments" inscribed on it...being placed in public view in a government facility?
There's two ways to view this...one from each side of the fence; both potentially legitimate. Which is why I'm not going to become politically publicly 'active' on this issue.
If this nation is not "Christian", and never has been, then, why should we perpetuate a hypocrisy by pretending something which isn't? Having the Ten Commandments posted or displayed is merely a form of idolatry (like the subscriber suggests). Like Athens that had their images to all the pantheon, including "to the unknown god". (Ac17:23) Having all the bases covered in form, even though the reality doesn't exist in the hearts.
On the other hand, 'many' of our laws are based on so-called Judeo/Christian principles. But then by the same token, so was the Magna Carta, some of the laws of Rome, as well as Hammurabi's "code". But that doesn't mean they were "Christian"...but as lost mankind, were merely following that in-built "law" of the -heart- of the "conscience". (Rom2:15) From that standpoint, God's Ten Commandments (and all the other civic laws given through Moses), certainly provide a "standard": So why do we not have women drink the waters of jealously, offer animals in sacrifice when someone is cured of a disease, stop all commerce on the sabbath, outlaw pork and many other such things, etc,etc?? Because our laws are NOT based on the Scriptures.
If our laws were based on a -general- concept of God's laws, the Ten Commandments certainly are 'symbolic'; and so if a society chooses to display them, it somewhat fits a similar concept as when Nebuchadnezzar issued his edict about anybody who should speak anything "amiss against the God of [Ananiah, Mishael and Azariah]" (Dan3:29) [VW: I really do prefer using their Hebrew names, instead of their given pagan ones :VW] But such an edict did not mean Nebuchadnezzar had become God-fearing. (That didn't happen till chapter4.) And yet, by that edict, the Most High was registered in the laws of Babylon as -a- 'god' to be revered. As such, the display of the Ten Commandments could be considered a good thing. A representation, even if merely 'symbolic', of a society's -recognition- of the Most High. Recognizing that He exists.
'Not going to get into the discussion of Federal vs State vs Local jurisdictions. All those things have deviated SO FAR from the original intents of the Constitution. That is not the purpose of these comments. Besides, they would only matter to Americans.
But what DOES MATTER is the -heart- of the issue. Where is the heart of a society? When a society has a constitution that is supposed to not restrict -any- religions, but they selectively choose to remove symbols of references to the Most High, against the objections of those Believers who wish those symbols to remain...Believers who are supposedly protected by that same constitution...that speaks to the collective depravity of that society. The same constitution guarantees a thing called "free speech". While Believing Christians object to paganism, and under our constitutional rights are allowed to make those objections vocal, we do not engage in militance to destroy them, because we understand that the world is only doing that which is 'natural' to them. (Rom8:7-8, 1Co2:14) A True Believer is not going to shoot, bomb or otherwise hurt abortionists and sodomites, because a Christian understands that they are of the world, and are behaving like the unregenerates that they are; they are doing the will of satan as their father. (Jn8:44) A Christian is a "citizen of Heaven" (Php3:20); and right now we are in a "foreign country", we are 'guests' here, as sojourners. (1Pt2:11-12) Just as Jesus did not come to condemn (Jn12:47), but to "save" the lost (Lk19:10); as Jesus' followers that is our mission, also. (Mt28:19-20) If we are out there killing them, how are we being instrumental in saving them? Vengeance is not ours! It belongs to God in His own due time: "I will repay, says the Lord". (Heb10:30)
But the world does not afford us the same courtesy that we do to them. They are like the snapping dog who comes and bites the hand that merely wants to pet and feed it.
I personally don't believe it's the Christian's place to "demonstrate" about -Christian- matters in a political arena. Politics belongs to the world. That is -their- realm. We can raise our voices and proclaim Jesus Christ to them, and God's holiness. But when they decide to take away symbols of God's Law...well...it's not yet -our- 'house'. It's theirs. Jesus hasn't yet come and made it into the kingdom "of our Lord and of His Christ.." (Rev11:15) Not yet...but soon! Come Lord Jesus!
However...when they do such things, it is an indication of the depths to which they have sunk. It is a gauge of their (collective) heart. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because their wickedness had reached up to Heaven. (Gen18:21) Although there were many nations who were not God-fearing, they remained, and Sodom was destroyed because of the depths of their depravity. Many nations today don't know of God, and for the time-being, He leaves them be.
But like Peter says, "For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them." (2Pt2:21) Jesus used a similar expression ("would have been good") regarding Judas, who betrayed Him. (Mk14:21, Ac1:16-20, Ps109:8-15)
America HAS KNOWN the "way of righteousness". Whether or not individuals are saved, as a collective society it has nominally looked to "God"; not because it was written into the Constitution, but because of the witness of the Believers who make up its citizenry, some of whom may have also been legislators and leaders...just as Joseph, Daniel and Esther were in their times.
This matter of the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama is not a matter for Christians to demonstrate over. Yes, raise our voices and be heard. But the civil government (remember, this is NOT a "Christian" nation) belongs to Caesar. And depending on what happens with this case...how far up the court system it goes, and what the higher courts do with it...it will be a gauge of where America is. What the courts do will have nothing to do with the Constitution; even though they will claim it does. This case is so-far-afield of what the Constitution says, anyway. And it has been a LONG TIME since anybody has actually passed laws or adjudicated laws based on the Constitution! The Constitution is to civil society what the Bible is to so-called "[c]hristians". The former prevaricator-in-chief said it so succinctly, where things have sunk to today, that the Constitution (in his view) is a "living organism"...that "breathes and moves" with the times. Thus, the legal system spends its time re-defining its principles with the same logic that wondered what the meaning of "is" is. Same as christendom that re-writes the Bible to fit its whims-of-the-moment.
If this nation, at the highest levels of the judiciary, decides to oust the Ten Commandments, citing "separation of church and state", well, Caesar and Laodicea will share in each other's judgment. They will be deserving of what God sends. And they will justly share in it in each other's company!
But... True Believer...."come out of her, My people so that you not share in her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her." (Rev18:4-6)
As Believers we do not need to worry about these symbols. As the subscriber so concisely stated it: "Commandments should be written on the heart. That way where ever you go, there they are."
So elegant in its simplicity!
We are "ambassadors for Christ" (2Co5:20) We are a witness "..among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col1:27) When Israel had the Ten Commandments, those tablets of stone were hidden away in the ark; ordinary people didn't see those tablets in public. Yes, they were to post God's Laws all over where they lived and worked (Deu6:9) But God's Law was to first of all be "in your heart" (vs6) God's Word does not need a public display, that has become idolatrous to some; but is "...very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may -DO- it." (Deu30:14)
The Ten Commandments is not some monument to LOOK AT...but God's Law in the heart TO DO!
Daniel did not 'look' at some monument of Jerusalem, he -prayed- TO GOD. (No, I'm not tearing ch6 out of Daniel! It's not the same argument!)
The Command says to "not bear false witness". A witness takes the stand, swears to "tell the whole truth, nothing but...so help me God"... and then immediately proceeds to lie through his teeth as coached by the attorneys. Such a travesty! Such mockery! Actually...isn't it better that such monuments not be desecrated by being in such INSTITUTIONS OF LYING! In actuality, would not the presence of such a monument in such a place be like last week's Jeremiah study, in reverse? In that lesson God was chiding Israel...you do all these horrible things, and then have the nerve to come before Me and say, We're Cool man! In this case, they lie and pervert justice, and then feel a sense of piety when they're finished, as they walk past the monument on their way home, because they've got the Ten Commandments in their building. Of what good are plaques, when the heart and deeds are perverse?
So, yeah! If our leaders are going to insist on remaining perverted, then BY ALL MEANS...REMOVE THEM! And then: "..prepare to meet your God.." (Am4:12)
[Suggestion: look up the passage and read the context of that last verse. This "meeting" of God for Israel was -NOT- in a 'good' sense!]
"But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves... But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his deeds." (Jac1:22,25)