Monday, June 27, 2005

Ten Commandments Ruling- Secular Extremism

By Mark Moore (click "comments" below for article).


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Why State Officials Should Acknowledge God

Some people think the 10 Commandments Case is about cramming religion down other people’s throats. They are wrong, for a government that forbids acknowledgment of God is just as coercive as one that demands His acknowledgment. What is best, and what history shows the founders wanted, is a government neither forbids nor demands, but does allow, its officials to acknowledge God Almighty.

I am in favor of “religious neutrality”. True religious neutrality means there is no coercion by the state- in either direction. Officials should not be coerced to acknowledge God, nor should they face coercion to silence His acknowledgement. That is balanced; that is fair; that is what takes government out of the church police business. Right now the Supreme Court of the United States is in the Church Police business- and we want them out of it.

We don’t want a false faith imposed on the people from above. Nor do we want it stifled from above. We simply want justice. We want the Constitution of the United States to be respected rather than twisted – twisted beyond all recognition.

Some people think this is about a piece of rock now in a closet of an Alabama court house. They are also mistaken. That is just a symbol. It is the philosophy behind the removal of that symbol that should concern every citizen. The judges in this nation have told us that, “the state cannot acknowledge God”. THAT is the issue.

There are two radical and opposite concepts of faith and government, each of which will destroy a country, and then there is the middle ground. Our ideas, which have preserved and nurtured this nation, are that middle ground.

The first extreme is that only one belief system is true, so government demands its officials (and sometimes citizens) practice that and nothing else. This radical idea is held by the Taliban. This idea blatantly destroys liberty, and it is the enemy of Christianity. There is no such thing as imposed Christianity. So that’s one extreme.

The other extreme is that government officials are forbidden by the state from acknowledging God all. It is based on radical secularism- one God is just as good as another, that is to say, they are all equally irrelevant. Such thinking cannot acknowledge that Mother Teresa’s Catholicism is better and truer than Satanism. Besides being radical and extreme, this philosophy has one more drawback – its just plain stupid. Worse than that, this idea also destroys liberty, not openly, like the Taliban, but subtly. By denying all Gods, it ultimately makes the state out to be god.

Those are the two radical ideas, but there is a third concept of faith and government, one that has been shown to preserve liberty. Its one that allows us to use our common sense and say it’s OK to admit that Mother Teresa’s God is better than Marilyn Manson’s. It’s the position of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson in the main, George Washington, and you and me right here. Here is the middle ground: Though the state should have no official religion, State officials can acknowledge God - but cannot impose His reverence on any citizen.

This is really not that difficult. There is a difference between a public official acknowledging God and a public official imposing God’s worship on others. That is the middle ground of liberty, and on that ground we stand. By the grace of God, we shall not be moved.

Amazing isn’t it, how some people try to say we are the extremists? Actually we are balanced on the middle ground between religious and secular extremism.

Let me make it plain for them. We have religious extremism, secular extremism, and balance. Religious extremism = government using force to demand its officials and people acknowledge a god. Secular extremism = government using force to forbid its officials and people are from acknowledging God. Balance = officials are allowed to acknowledge God, but no one has to.

Which of those ideas is not extreme? Hint; it’s the one that gets the government out of using force to either establish or forbid religious exercise. We are not the extremists. We are in the middle and the Taliban represents one group of extremists, and unfortunately our Federal courts are at the other extreme. What kind of muddled thinking could possibly conclude that we are the extremists here? We are the ones out to STOP the extremists, on both sides.

It’s really this simple, which of these three words should be in the middle, Demand, Forbid, or Allow? Even a child can see that to allow something to occur is maximizing freedom, and that to demand that something occur is one extreme and to forbid something from occurring is the other extreme.

Secular and religious extremists oppose us, and the middle ground of Liberty . The Taliban wants to demand, the courts want to forbid, and the Christians want to allow.

Why the State Forbidding This Undermines our Liberties

The Bible teaches that government is God’s servant, given to do His will. It is called by Him to honor those who do good, and bring wrath on evildoers. The Church is also His servant, to bring Grace and Mercy. So church and state are separate, but they are both God’s ministers. They have separate spheres of influence in God’s creation, but they both function best when they uphold His standards in their given realms. Indeed it is only when they do so that people are best served. They can and should be separate institutionally, while both draw inspiration from the same Source.

What does history teach us about governments that refuse to acknowledge God: That they have not served their people well; that they soon grow arrogant and become tyrannies. Rulers who fail to acknowledge God will soon cast off all restraints and assume more and more power for themselves.

Only when the government accepts the principle that it is a servant of the people under God do the people have assurance of Liberty . Jefferson said it by way of this rhetorical question, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure once we remove the conviction that they are the gift of God?” The answer is no people. Without God, there is no fixed standard for law. The law becomes whatever five judges say it is on that day.

No fixed standard for law. Think about that. And this is the situation now with the courts. Justice Charles Evans Hughes let slip: “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”

Shout it on the housetops to all of your fellow citizens, the philosophy of today’s federal judges is a bigger threat to your freedom than Al-Quaida. This is not about where a granite monument sits, but whether the government of the United States is willing to admit that there is any power higher than itself. If it is not so willing, then to it our rights are merely an illusion that the state gives, and what the state gives, the state can take away.

Opposed to this is our Declaration of Independence, which says we are ENDOWED BY OUR CREATOR with rights- the creator that our courts now refuse to acknowledge. The Constitution itself implies the same, for it does not say, “the people shall have the right to keep and bear arms”, but rather it says, “THE right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Do you see? The Constitution assumes the right already exists, it’s not a grant from the state. The right pre-exists the state, and comes from a source higher than the state.

So I conclude that what is at stake here goes beyond one symbolic monument. The philosophy behind the court’s tyranny is a threat to all the rights and liberties of every citizen of this country, regardless of their faith, for their ruling removes all fixed standard for law.

ed note: I almost always stick with Arkansas-specific topics, but this one is too fundamental to all of us to pass by. It was originally penned in response to the Alabama 10 commandments case, but today the Supremes have again pronounced judgement against the display of the commandments in courtrooms.

11:23 AM, June 27, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "doctrine" of separation of church and state, which our courts rely on so much exists in no founding document. It is essentially a lie perpetrated on the American people to suggest that the First Amendment contains any such unspoken doctrine. The founders simply did not want the federal government to force the citizens of the U.S. to belong to a particular church/religion. But by no means did they want religion and suppressed by the government. For it was our founders who funded the printing of bibles to be read in public schools. It was our founders who established the opening prayers session each morning in Congress. The list goes on and on. When you hear someone speaking of the doctrine of separation of church and state please realize that they are either being intentionally fraudulent or they are just plain ignorant of the truth.

2:05 PM, June 27, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last poster is correct--it's technically not a doctrine of separation of church and state, but rather the establishment clause, as in, Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion. How in the world does preventing a county in Kentucky from requiring everyone who enters the courthouse to view a clearly religious display suppress anyone's religion?

2:26 PM, June 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tossing the Ten Commandments display out of the courtroom does not suppress anyone's religion. There is, however, no constitutional basis for doing so, as the court claimed.

This is for the most part a religious nation. Religious people naturally do not want to see symbols they hold near and dear trashed and thrown out of the public arena. Moreover, there are many traditions in this country which are based on religious principles. For instance, people place their hands on the BIBLE to swear to tell the truth before giving testimony. If the bible were no longer allowed in the courtroom it would not suppress anyone's religion. It would, however, be offensive to toss out a tradition that dates back to the founding of our nation for no Constitutional reason. That is precisely why people are angered about this recent ruling on the Ten Commandments.

12:04 PM, June 29, 2005  
Blogger Chris Fluharty said...

please see my Blog to view a more complete comment but I agree with what is being said. That is why the Constitution Party must get godly choices on the ballot and we must support them in every state. Keep up the fight Arkansas.

3:58 PM, July 01, 2005  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

To 12:04

How can you claim that the courts would not be suppressing Christianity by tossing the Bible out of courtrooms and tearing down plaques with the 10 commandments on them? A government mandated naked public square when the populace overwhelmingly believes in the God of the Bible is in fact supression. Maybe it is not on the level it could be, but it is keeping a set of religious beliefs at a lower level of respect than the level of the surrounding culture.

Suppose no blacks or Jews , (or their writings) were permitted to be in the courthouse. Don't you agree that they would be suppressed? Suppose no Republicans were allowed in public places, nor could anything written by them be allowed in. Don't you think that is suppression?

Keeping one set of beliefs or ideas at a lower level of public expression than they would otherwise get absent government interference is indeed suppression. We would not tolerate it for any other group and we should not tolerate it for Christians and Jews either.

9:40 PM, July 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I respond to your question, allow me to say that I am very committed to returning to our foundations in America, those of Christianity and Godly principles.

Now, look closely at the context of the question which I attempted to answer. It asks "how does preventing a Ten Commandments display suppress anyone's religion" (in not so many words). To me the answer to that specific question (in the context in which it was asked, which is at least somewhat hostile to religion) is that it will not suppress anyones religion at all in that we all will still be "allowed" to worship as we see fit. In other words, I will still be able to go to church this Sunday and worship as I see fit regardless of the ruling (which is how I interpreted the question). Of course (and on a side note), our right to worship as we see fit is an unalienable right (God given not government given), according to the Founding Fathers, and the government has no Constitutional right to prohibit the free excercise of religion even if it wanted to.

When responding to religious hostile questions, we Christians must use our head as well as our heart. I could have made the same (seemingly) emotional (and yet true) arguments that you made, but since it was a religious hostile question, it needed to be dealt with in a different manner. Notice that the person who asked the question hasn't responded. It disarmed him and left him with nothing to say, because there is nothing he can say.

If I would have came back at him with the arguments that you made it would have allowed him to use the tired old arguments of "quit trying to force your views on me, or, I don't care if the majority is Christian I am not and I am as American as you" and the like. In other words it would have opened the floor for him to respond with some unrelated side issue. I responded directly to his specific question...and then there was silence.

I'm not saying this out of arrogance I simply say this because as Christians we must be wise as serpents. When we deal with the world we must use our heads as well as our hearts.

2:34 PM, July 05, 2005  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I look forward to working with you to returning to our foundations in America, those of Christianity and Godly principles.

5:55 PM, July 09, 2005  
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