"And he stationed the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of Jehovah, so that no one who was in any way unclean could enter." (2Ch23:19)
"And when the tabernacle sets out...the Levites shall set it up. The stranger who comes near shall be put to death." (Nu1:51, 3:38)
"Depart! Depart! Go out from there! Touch not the unclean. Go out of her midst; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of Jehovah." (Is52:11)
This article, due to its subject, is going to be about America. While there are many countries in the world that have national religions: Muslim, Shinto, Sikh, Buddhism, Catholic; whatever their orientation may be; it is only America where people call themselves a "Christian Nation" in the manner that it does, where there is also profound misunderstanding of -what-, exactly, a "Christian" is. And furthermore, if a group of people are attaching the label to themselves, how that is to be interpreted as it extends to their (so-called) "christian" -government-.
First of all, in the piece by Amanpour, among other things, she proclaimed how there have been at least three different ones called "Mary". These are all variations of the -same- goddess known variously as Semiramis, Isis, Astoreth/Ishtar, Moloch, Queen of Heaven, Diana, Libertas, etc. The most current transmutation of which is called "Mary" in her "christian" setting, is worshipped from Rome and celebrated with the mass. In her 'pagan' settings she is worshipped as Moloch (in the Bohemian grove), Isis and her various other feminist empowerment deities.
While there are many things we could address, limiting this discussion to a few basics should suffice. The way public debate addresses things like 1) school prayer, 2) public displays of the Ten Commandments, 3) the slogan "one nation under God", 4) the First Ammendment, Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. And related to this last item: Bible reading in public schools.
Before it was a nation with a Constitution and Bill of Rights, there were colonies, many of which were ruled by their local church parish; and thus, the pastor. Many of the colonies were of the Puritan religion; calvinists, armenian, unitarian, congregational, presbyterian, methodist, etc. They read from the Geneva Bible, Wycliffe and KJV. There were also Baptists and the Holy Rollers. Depending on the colony, church attendance was -mandatory-, and depending on the infraction, if there wasn't a good excuse, there might be punishment. If a person was of an independent mind, not adhering to the local church, in many cases they might be banished....not only from the church, but also from the community. They would have to move away and find a different city/town/community to live in.
The Church of England (Anglican), while labeled "protestant" was actually a 1st cousin to Rome.
When the "church" was associated with state government it was the -PROTESTANT- church. In 1960 when J.F.Kennedy was running for president, the big ruckus was because the Kennedy family is 'catholic'. It was the first time a catholic had run for the office. JFK actually made a speech one day during the campaign, addressing his allegiances: was he an "American", or was he beholden to Rome. Would a vote for JFK actually be a vote to move America under the umbrella of catholic nations and the Vatican? Such as....
When the various European nations were staking their claims to the American continent, the Catholic church often followed close behind, "Christianizing"...often at the tip of bayonet..."convert or die!"
Much of Billy Graham's "evangelism" during his early years was not so much to convert sinners into God's Kingdom, as much as it was to keep everybody good little -Protestants-. When JFK was running for president it was Billy Graham who was sounding the alarm. When Jerry Falwell had his Moral Majority he was moving and shaking to get Ronald Reagan into office, a non-communist. (You know: Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!)
What I'm going to say next is from a background in which I am not a constitutional legal scholar, nor am I an expert in history. As I've explained on other occasions, scholastically "history" was my absolute -worst- subject...well...maybe next to "writing".
The problem is that christians have assumed, for years, that the Constitution, which was written by the nation's founding fathers to be a -neutral- document (equally for all religions, or no religion)...was somehow skewed to be interpreted as "favoring" them; christians. The laws were founded upon "judeo-christian" principles, and that the founding fathers were "christians".
-WHICH- "christians"? The ones who dab water on the heads of babies? The ones who pour pitchers of water over heads? The ones who dunk? The ones who teach that unless you've had some water get you (physically) 'wet' that you are not a christian? Ones who revere crosses, but are satan worshipers? For how long are you saved? Forever? Until you sin, and then you have to get "RE"saved? Are you at all subject to becoming minus your salvation, once you gained it, after purposely rejecting Christ? What did Paul mean by...
Just as Paul says that not all Jews are -true- Jews (Ro9:6), Jesus also says that not all "christians" are -true- "christians". At the Judgment to those who have called out "Lord, Lord", He will be saying, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness" (Mt7:21-23)
Is it the government's job to "sort out" who is true and who is not? Thus, neither can it presume to -establish- a religion. (1st Amendment) What religion would it seek to establish, with what doctrines?
Thus, also, what are they going to PRAY? If you have a classroom filled with many different faiths, -whose- 'prayer' are you going to pray? If everybody believes something different, whoever is not of the faith of the one -leading- in prayer is in disobedience. If the leader is not a true (Biblical) "Christian", for a true Believer sitting in the same space it would be as "idolatry" for them to bow to what is, in essence, a "strange god". It might be a classroom with everybody bowing their heads...oh, isn't that nice...everybody's "praying"...but somebody in that room is committing idolatry. To -force- "school prayer" is to do, in effect, what Rome did when they used to force people to bow to the emperor and proclaim his 'deity'. (And there were many martyrs of those who refused to bow)
Public displays of the Ten Commandments. While Biblical Christians might like it, what was the rule to Israel when somebody not qualified even 'touched' any of the holy things? When the nation prides itself on individual "freedom" to do 'anything' they want, as long as it does not infring on one's neighbor (You know: My freedom to swing my arms and fists around is 'unlimited' until it reaches your nose.)...and that "anything they want" includes breaking over half the commandments...to post monuments claiming adherence to God's Commandements is a mockery.
"One nation under God". Again...-which- 'god'? The Most High is not like the other gods. Rabshakeh tried to equate all the gods of the nations to Israel... "where are the gods of....?" and Hezekiah prays to God... (2Ki18-19)
No Bible reading in school? That which calls itself "christian" has been 'presumptuous' for many years, expecting it has the right and authority over pagans. When the pagans rise up and rebel against the Bible, they are not being anything that would not be -expected- of them. Who do "christians" think they are, expecting to force "down the throats" of pagans holy documents which they despise. Even Paul did not do this...
Is it OK to teach the Bible in school? Is that not what christian and parochial schools are for? Thus, they of like-faith can teach and pray the same thing/s together. Should a christian student be able to carry a Bible along with their other belongings to public school? Of course. Should a group of christian students be allowed to hold Bible studies on public school property, on their own time. Why not? And by the same token, then, the pagans have just as much right to hold their pagan gatherings. It's 'public' property. Do christians 'force' nativity displays on public property? Doesn't this fit similar guidlines as the Ten Commandments? I don't remember the exact years....but I think it was the 1800s "christmas" was -outlawed- as "illegal" in the (protestant) colonies. After all, with the designation "mas" it is known to originate from catholicism. "christmas" is -NOT- "christian"...by definition.
What about when the ACLU and other atheist groups make laws against christians? Well, aren't christians just getting what they had been dishing out for years?
What about when a christian coach gathers his team for a pre-game "prayer", and then gets sued by pagans? Well, was that a "christian" school? Was that a "christian" activity: ie where they preparing to 'worship' God, were they going to sing hymns and have preaching of the Word? No? Was that team even "christian"? No? Then, such a "prayer" was out-of-place.
Right about now, and for the last half of this article I expect half you readers are getting disgusted. What do you mean? We shouldn't pray? Well, where are we told to mix up our worship and 'share' it with pagans? We are told to keep the world -out-. And you mean to say you don't know how to pray but what you have to stop all activity, plop on your knee in a Tim-Tebow pose, close your eyes and swoon all 'pious'; as Jesus says, "to be seen by men"?
On a side note: You mean to say that Jews don't know how to pray without bobbing their bodies and heads; and thus stirring up the pagan guards on the Temple Mount?
Some churches complain when the government starts to levy taxes, negating their tax "exempt" status. If they are a -true- Biblical Church that is as it should be. Did not Jesus reason with Peter when the tax collectors came around...
How did Jesus describe the Church?
"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your Truth. Your Word is Truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world." (Jn17:16-18)
"For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Php3:20)
Remember: E'brybody talkin' 'bout Heaven aint goin' there. (Mt7:21-23)