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The Reality of Faith vs StatePosted Sunday, November 27, 2011, at 9:01 PM
Back when the United States of America became a reality, it was our truly brilliant founders who knew what they wanted in a country; what worked and didn't work in the old countries in Europe.
One of the most important concepts that came out of the constitutional hearings in Philadelphia was the separation of religion and state.
These learned leaders had seen what happened when nations mixes faith and government. They knew the problems that could arise deciding which religion is correct for a whole country to espouse.
Here's a great example. King Henry the Eighth of England needed a legitimate male heir to his throne. The Roman Catholic Church which was the state church of Great Britain, at that time, wouldn't let him divorce. So after much fighting with the Pope, King Henry broke from England and made up his own religion. Thus Episcopalism was born. He divorced Catharine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn but he still didn't get his male heir. And of course, Henry goes through four more wives before that saga is over.
Most of our forefathers came to this country for religious freedom. The Pilgrims* settled the New England colonies. They had enough of church run governments and they had seen wars fought over religions. They wanted nothing to do with the upheaval caused by trying to ram another person's faith down an unwilling citizen's throat. That's why they left Holland, too.
This is why our founders stressed that the separation of religion and state was so very important for the survival of our fledgling country.
Here's a fairly modern day example of how a country suffers when their state religion and their government are mixed up. That country's name is Iran. Look how well that's turned out for them.
America's religious right hates Muslims. And yet, I can't see a big difference between Christian zealots and Muslim zealots. They both want the same thing and that is to control their respective governments.
However, during the last few decades, our politicians have forgotten this important tenet in the constitution. Instead they have listened to the right wing conservative Christians in our country who each feel they have the only true faith. These voters think they know what God wants for our country. This concept is called Dominionism ** by evangelicals. This term comes from Genesis 1:26-28 in the Old Testament of the bible where God instructs Adam and Eve to "have dominion" over every living thing on Earth, thus they believe they "must exercise dominion in the name of God and that the world must be brought under God's law politically, economically and in every other way possible." ***
These same voters all proclaim to be Christians. But they can't even decide which faith is correct. For example: the Lutherans have several synods. There are the Evangelical Lutherans, the Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod and on and on. The same is true with the Baptists. They have the Southern, the Baptist General Conference, the Free Will Baptists and so on. None of them trust each other because they know only they have the true religion.
Now, how are all these different brands of Christians going to decide which candidate is just the right believer for the job of president of our great country? Are they going to hire a faith arbitrator for religious correctness or will "the decider" be self appointed? I am inclined to believe it would be the latter. Maybe Chuck Colson, the Watergate felon turned fundamental Christian, will offer his services.
* My faith, also known as Congregationalism.
Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann both believe in the Dominionism mandate.
Church & State Volume 64, Number 9. Issue: October 2011
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I'm Enid. No, not the town in Oklahoma, but a transplant to Eureka Springs from Minneapolis fourteen years ago. I'm a writer, journalist and sometime artist. My real love is expressing my opinions on almost any subject, as you have seen in my many letters to the Editor of The Lovely County Citizen over the years. Now, I'm happy to say that I will be writing a blog titled In a Twist for your amusement, amazement or commiseration. Thanks for giving me a read.