God and Culture

Separation of God and Culture

“Be this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, & mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the U.S. and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” – Thomas Jefferson

We have heard the phrase: “Separation of church and state.” Thomas Jefferson wrote these words down: “wall of separation between church and state” to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association in 1802. It was a shortened description of only a part of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution that Jefferson documented along with the other delegates from the colonies 1787 convention that marked the birth of our union of states. However, the shortened version of the 1st Amendment does not include context, which has worked to the advantage of shrewd manipulators of public opinion. So for clarity this is what the 1st Amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Here is what the 1st Amendment does not say:

  1. That public facilities cannot be venues for the discussion of, or the dissemination of religious matters
  2. That high school football coaches cannot pray alone or with students of faith at a football game
  3. That the 10 Commandments mentioned in the Torah/Bible should not be displayed in public buildings or taught to students
  4. That the chambers of Congress cannot assemble in prayer
  5. That churches could lose their tax-exempt status if they protest government policy
  6. That church affiliated institutions and hospitals must provide abortions and vaccines
  7. That any public or private organization can ignore informed consent for adults or for the children in their custody
  8. That a baker must bake a same-sex themed cake for a gay wedding.

Rather, the 1st Amendment is a precaution that harkened back to the emigration of European pioneers to the New World weary of the theocracies of the Old World, which often arbitrarily dismissed the God given rights of citizens.

Interesting how human authority periodically revisits failed ideas with the intent to push aside natural law for a “progressive” vision of top-down created morality. Today’s popular morality in large segments of the culture is promoted by university intellectuals and the politicians funding them. It is different from the past iterations of morality, only because it is unmoored from any universal values and floating in a sea of postmodernism; whereby truth is whatever suits the individual, but officials and experts are the final arbiters. Ultimately the central planners are not seeking any truth (particularly that of God and Creator) for the average person or society, but control so that they can assume a superior role as gods themselves. Their solutions are sub-optimal to worthless, and wildly expensive in the short term; but ultimately harmful and destructive in the long term.

Can we blame only our government leaders? Yes and no. No, because our system of government is a republic, which gives citizens the right to representation in order to make the government aware of the principle that we give our consent to be governed, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances (see above – 1st Amendment). Constitutionally the citizens are in charge, but what is lacking today is awareness and participation.

Again, can we blame only our government leaders, or are citizens culpable too? Yes to both parties regarding meaningful participation. The awareness issue is more complicated, which helps explain the lack of participation.

Our public education system and media (evident in recent times) is based upon the Prussian model and is designed to teach students what to think; not how to think independently using common sense. It worked great for Prussia’s military, but it has been a disaster for students, otherwise independent thinkers, and free people. Our education and media systems, for the most part, have been conditioned to toe the line of the masters that lord over them. America and the Western culture have churned out generations of “good citizens” without the important critical thinking skills to determine that out-of-touch professionals in higher education who dream-up subjects like Critical Race Theory (CRT) are nonsense. A theory intended to oppress “white oppressors” and the “minority oppressed” alike under a Marxist/Socialist tyranny euphemistically couched to help the unwashed masses and covertly labeled to advance the “common good.”

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. – C.S. Lewis (read the entire quote here).

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was an intellectual who concluded that the concept of a god was of no use in the age of the Industrial Revolution when science and man were the creative forces alone. He was aware of the consequences – in order to replace God, man would need to create his own morality or chaos would ensue. However, he mis-calculated the depravity of man and his new moral code.

Who better than Karl Marx (1818-1883) as the memorialized moral czar of the coming 20th Century to give life to the exhumed dead ideology of Communism/Socialism. An ideology that would initially require absolute power to its leaders as Nietzsche had prescribed for a new morality to ensure order. What resulted from that absolute power was absolute corruption and an absolute hell on Earth in the death and enslavement of millions of people.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (read the entire quote here).

Oddly, the Western world continues to trust our Socialist intellectuals to educate our youth and rule our lives. We shouldn’t, because intelligence doesn’t necessarily equate with morality and wisdom in the same group of experts. But then, why would intelligentsia include truth, since it can dispense with morality, wisdom, and God? Committees who are cunning enough with an out-of-touch arrogant messiah-imposter-complex can dupe the overworked taxpayer and indoctrinate his progeny.

Yet there is one more point to be made regarding our churches and private institutions that have contributed to our cultural and moral decline. The tendency to not speak in opposition to power is a foible of the human character, when any value is made popular in a culture that has drifted morally. People who resist the drift can lose their jobs, livelihood, friends, status, security, wealth, and even their lives. The “cancel culture” and groups like Antifa demonstrate that kind of Leftist “tolerance-as-long-as-you-agree-with-the-narative-of-the-day.” (By the way, it’s not as though the right cannot exhibit such tendencies too, but these examples are just particularly prominent today.)

What confounds me is the lack of resistance by churches today in defense of religious liberty and the Constitution’s 1st Amendment. In an effort not to offend wealthy donors in the pews, government officials, or clergy who do not understand their own religious principles of freedom and God’s supreme authority, …or do and have an agenda contrary to God’s commands, are more than willing to compromise their religious convictions for the sake of secular matters that erode civilizations and cultures.

Leaders, who are human, do not and never have had the moral high ground on all matters. That position is ultimately held by God. Which is why the Founders created a nation of laws and aspired to a law designed after God’s Natural Law – the US Constitution. And as imperfect as our Constitution may be, our churches, spirited free assemblies, and God used to be America’s grass root conscience that also guided her.

Now I’m not so sure? Human authoritarians have clumsily substituted their new morality, as if indeed, they have mapped Nietzsche’s delusional vision for a godless society.

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