Nation Based On the Bible By Charles Garrison: Special to The Pilot
I would like to respond to some points that Steve Bouser raised in his column, "Church and State: Let's Not Play With Fire."
First, he said, "A Christian store or a Christian church is exactly where … the Ten Commandments … belong. Where they don't belong is in a court of law — especially not if the idea is that the court is supposed to be enforcing said commandments."
That statement contradicts our whole judicial system. Every day, the Ten Commandments are enforced by judges: "Thou shalt not kill … Thou shalt not steal … Thou shalt not bear false witness." Not only do the Ten Commandments belong in our courts of law — they are the underpinning of our legal system.
And that is the great contradiction in this nation. The same judges that enforce the Ten Commandments in their courtrooms ban them from public school classrooms. In three separate cases, the courts declared that it was unconstitutional for students to see the Ten Commandments since they might read, meditate upon, respect, or obey them.
Too bad Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris weren't allowed in their school to "read, meditate upon, respect [and] obey" the sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." The families of 12 students and a teacher who were murdered at Columbine High School wish they had. Apparently, however, Mr. Bouser agrees with the courts. He says the Ten Commandments are "…great as religious ideals to strive toward, but I'd hate to see our country being run by them."
Mr. Bouser says that the judiciary is all that stands between right-wing, fundamentalist Christians and "their dream of remaking the nation in their own image." The opposite is true. The Supreme Court is the only way the "left" has been able to implement its agenda. Liberalism cannot win at the ballot box. The only way that liberal philosophy — removing prayer from public schools, abortion, gay marriage, removing "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance — can become law is through the courts. The judiciary is all that stands between the left and the Democratic Party and their dream of remaking the nation in their own image.
Concerning the First Commandment — "I am the Lord thy God … Thou shalt have no other gods before me," Mr. Bouser asks, "What would that mean if the courts were really to start enforcing it? That Hindus and Buddhists, who have other gods before them, would be charged with committing a felony?" He believes that right-wing, fundamentalist Christians want to ram our religion down everybody's throats.
The facts are to the contrary. The reason that we have freedom of religion in this country is because of America's biblical heritage. The Bible teaches that God will never coerce anyone to become a Christian — which is why we find the words "whosoever will" so often in the New Testament. Right-wing fundamentalist Christians do not ram their religion down people's throats; it is the left that rams its religion, secular humanism (declared to be a religion by the Supreme Court in Torcaso v. Watkins, 1961), down everyone's throats — especially children in public schools.
Finally, he says that right-wing, fundamentalist Christians are trying to "bamboozle" people concerning "the principle of separation of church and state." The separation of church and state did not begin with Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. It began with God and the Ten Commandments.
The first four Commandments deal with man's relationship to God. Those represent "church." Commandments five through 10 deal with man's relationship with man, the biblical function of government; they represent "state." Here in the Ten Commandments — these inspired, infallible words that form the basis for all human law — there is separation of church and state.
The founders of our nation understood this. We see it in the writings of Roger Williams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The restriction is on the government, not on the church.
The left in this country are "bamboozling" the people into misinterpreting the First Amendment. They have taken the words "separation of church and state" and misled the people into believing that they allow the removal of Christianity and God from the government and from American life.
Charles Garrison is interim pastor at Calvary Memorial Church in Southern Pines.