By Peter Coker
One of the main things that brought colonists to the North American continent in the 1600’s was the atmosphere of religious persecution they had been experiencing in Europe. For most Protestant believers, the “new world” meant a fresh-start, to worship freely, without restraint or persecution. The “old world” in Europe was a world of contention, religious wars, and religious bigotries. Old-world religion held to the conviction that ‘uniformity of religion’ must exist in any given society. This conviction rested on the belief that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of civil authorities to impose it on its citizenry, by force if necessary. This general attitude existed throughout most of Europe at that time. Nonconformists could expect no mercy and might even be executed as heretics. In some areas of Europe, Catholics persecuted Protestants; in other areas Protestants persecuted Catholics; and in some areas both Catholics and Protestants persecuted other “wayward” religious sects.
Even though the early colonists were fleeing the European persecution-concept, some of the more rigorously orthodox (especially the Puritans) initially brought that same concept to the American colonies. But other Christian sects, denounced the persecution concept. The persecution concept was first denounced in the colonies by Baptist leader Roger Williams of the Rhode Island Baptists. William’s denounced the persecution-concept as “inforced uniformity of religion.”
Other denominations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, such as William Penn and the Quakers also rejected the European persecution-concept. Additionally, the Anabaptists who had previously, while still in Europe, propagated the concept of “separation of church and state” also rejected the old-world persecution-concept. (The Anabaptists had been very harshly persecuted in Europe). The Baptists, Anabaptists, and Quakers new-world ideals soon provided the model example for religious freedom, liberty, and tolerance that the other colonies would eventually adopt as well. The seeds of this attitude would continue to grow over the next 100+ years, from the early colonial period to the founding era in the American colonies.
Later, in the founding era, the Baptists in New England strongly believed that all direct connections between the state and institutionalized religion must be broken in order that America might become, a truly Christian nation. To advance their cause, the New England Baptists formed the Warren Association in 1769. The Warren Association believed their dream for a truly Christian America was not being abandoned at all, but merely believed its true essence could not be forced or coerced. As they saw it, it should be free and voluntary; just as the “covenant of grace” was not limited to individuals, it also extended to the “covenant people” in general and the American peoples struggle for liberty.
One of the members of the Warren Association was a Baptist minister named Isaac Backus. Backus believed that ‘truth’ is great and that ‘truth’ will ultimately prevail (By ‘truth’ he meant the revealed doctrines of Scripture). He believed God had appointed two different kinds of government which are different in nature; one is civil and the other is ecclesiastical. Backus said the civil legislature does not function as our representative in religious affairs. Furthermore, he said; legislative power is inappropriate for faith. Backus declared religion is a ‘voluntary’ obedience unto God which ‘force’ cannot promote.
Isaac Backus’s idea of ‘voluntarism’ helped promote the evangelical position on the ‘separation of church and state‘ that both the ‘revivalists’ and the ‘rationalists’ could find common ground. This common ground between the ‘revivalist men’ and the ‘reasonable men’ found mutual agreement in opposing the European old-world ideal of coerced uniformity.
Many of the ‘Sons of Liberty’ in the colonies were men influenced by ‘Enlightenment’ thought, which assumed man could use his ‘reason’ and by it he could arrive at a reasonable or natural understanding of himself and his world. But, Backus’ ‘separation of church and state’ differed from Jefferson and Madison. Jefferson viewed all religious creeds and sects as potential tyrannies over the mind of man and thus explicitly denied that America was or should be a Christian nation… contrarily, Backus and the Baptists wanted to separate Church and State in order to create a truly Christian state in which men rendered to Caesar only what was truly Caesar’s and devote the bulk of their energy to serving God.
The religious influence revived by the Great Awakening breathed a renewed spark of life into the North American colonies and helped shape the ideals for religious freedom, liberty, and independence in the founding era. Independence from British rule and the desire to be governed by a fixed ‘rule of law’ with the ‘consent of the people’ became the ideal for the colonists. The phrase, “no king but king Jesus” had become a common refrain in the streets of colonial America.
From the colonial-era, let’s now fast forward to the 20th century’s Progressive Era. As a result of Progressivism early in the 20th century, and its following philosophy, Liberalism in the FDR era, the secular humanists have since incrementally coerced and forced by law their particular brand of neo-fascism on its citizenry. Theirs is a “uniformity of anti-religion” as the true-religion and civil authorities are duty bound to impose and enforce these alien archaic beliefs on its citizenry. In other words, their secular version is intolerant of religious freedom and liberty. Under the secularists new rules, nonconformists (religionists) can now expect some form of persecution and can expect to be declared ‘heretics’ as well as being culturally ostracized.
Yes, today the uniformity tables have been completely turned around by secular-elitists within the government, their allies and by special interest groups sympathetic towards likeminded paganistic god-haters. Like an ‘unofficial’ conspiracy of reality-deficient malcontents, their goal is make laws that enforce an anti-God atmosphere in the United States. For the god-haters (or God’s-Law haters) there is to be no common-ground between secular and sacred permitted in the United States. There is only their secularized way and their fascist-inspired-culture will be enforced by ‘the state,’ reviving the old-world persecution-concept. Any individual or group that will not conform to the humanistic ideals of a secular fascist law-order is fair game for destruction by a new generation of neo-marxist god-haters.
The phrase “separation of church and state” gets thrown around so much that many believe it is found in America’s Constitution. It is not. The Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The basic meaning of this is that the United States Congress (Federal Government) cannot establish a federally instituted church (Like the Church of England), nor can it pass any law restricting the free exercise of a church. For unredeemed non-believers this also means the federal government cannot force someone to be a Christian. This amendment is a limit on the federal government, but not on the individual states. For a time after America became an independent nation, some individual states continued to have an “established religion” (established denomination). But individual states later changed to the federal government concept as a matter of practicality because people of various Christian denominations were moving into their states.
The secular humanists of the early 20th century (and some divisive clergy) often used the tactic of ‘dualism’ to subvert the American idea of voluntarism. Their philosophic tactic of dualism was used to divide faith and reason, thereby doing ‘violence’ to the original intent of the Constitution. This tactical division drove a wedge between sacred and secular, religion and philosophy, and created a new (Marxist inspired) definition for the phrase “separation of church and state;” (much like the Soviet Union definition). This new neo-Marxist inspired definition was later (subversively) legally adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court via the 1947 Emerson v. Board of Education case. This Constitutional monkey-business is exactly what America’s founders had painstaking avoided setting-up. It resulted in giving the Federal Government too much centralized-power over the individual states. The founding authors of the ‘Constitution’ firmly believed each Constitutional amendment and article should stand on its own merit and intent. Therefore, they should not be combined with other amendments to twist its original meaning or application.
The founder’s referred to maintaining the Constitution’s ‘original intent‘ as “the spirit of the law.” Yet today, subverters of the Constitution and of the ‘Rule of Law,’ claim it is that twisting and ‘changing the intent’ that is “the spirit of the law;” or as they are fond of saying “a living and breathing constitution.” We used to call such people subversives, communists, and socialists – today they are more commonly known as Democrats. Their philosophy, politics, and natural urge is to return to the old-world ideas that American independence discarded. It appears if Democrats stand for anything, it is to turn upside-down, destroy and do violence to America’s founding Christian principles, an established written Rule of Law, and Isaac Backus’s concept of “voluntarism.”