Chris Rebuts a Visitor’s Argument Against the Ten Commandments, Christian Politics, & the Constitution
On 5-23-05 a website visitor gives me down the road about the Ten Commandments, Christian politics, and constitutionality…and I respond. Here are both sides of the conversation…
An email from a man named Doug:
Dear Mr. Long,
Recently I stumbled upon your web page and read carefully your article on Christian politics. Right off I will confess to you that I am a secular humanist like those whose views you insist upon lampooning. It would of course be fruitless for me to say much about the many errors of logic and common sense that your article contains. However, I still feel compelled to say a little something about your suggestion as to our true objection to the posting of the so-called Ten Commandments on government property. You say that our definition of the separation of church and state is “lying hogwash.” That is a very strong statement. And very untrue. It could not be more clear that the Constitution says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….” The lying hogwash is in fact served up by those who despite that clear language insist the United States is a Christian nation and our law is based on the Ten Commandments. That would clearly violate the First Amendment. You go on to state that the “the issue is really about their ability to remove from public view the best reminder of their sins God ever created.” I have no idea how you presume to know this, but I assure you that you are wrong. The issue is indeed the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Your suggestion that God established government is equally wrong-headed. You insist that God is directly responsible for the many viciously cruel tyrants who have soaked the soil of this planet with the blood of humanity; I must insist that suggestion is inane. But I do know for a fact that our government was established by “We, the people of the United States….” I hope you will not interpret my bluntness as meanness. I respect the fact that you are a Navy veteran and served to defend the very freedoms of which we speak. It is just so very troubling that you would allow your religious views to muddle the important issue of separation of church and state.
Sincerely and respectfully yours,
Thank you for your candid and respectful response to my article. I admit the language in my article is a bit strong due to the passionate nature of the issue, but I also maintain that it is 100% true. I am fully aware that you do not agree and while I respect your opinion, I would like to briefly answer your response.
It is very true that the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”, but it goes on to say, “…nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is clear to most objective people that this “establishment clause” doesn’t mean that the state is to be free from any and especially not all religious influence or involvement. The clause simply meant that the government wasn’t to establish a particular sect of Christianity as a “state religion” like the corrupt Church of England which our forefathers fled from. That was tyranny just like a government totally free from religious influence would be. Our forefathers understood well that “good” government can never exist without the influence of God’s people and God’s Word, the Bible.
The Ten Commandments and our founding fathers:
Consider the following words of some of our country’s founding fathers:
On June 21, 1776, John Adams wrote: “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”
Our founding fathers believed the Bible and posted the Ten Commandments in public places.
The Ten Commandments of Bible
In his diary entry dated February 22, 1756, John Adams wrote: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…What a utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
James Madison wrote about the relationship between religion and civil government: “Religion is the basis and foundation of Government.”
Mr. Madison also once stated, “We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”
Our first president, George Washington articulated his understanding of what will keep America great: “The situation in which I now stand, for the last time, in the midst of the Representatives of the People of the United States, naturally recalls the period when the Administration of the present form of Government commenced; and I cannot omit the occasion, to congratulate you and my Country, on the success of the experiment; nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and Sovereign Arbiter of Nations, that his Providential care may still be extended to the United States; that the virtue and happiness of the People, may be preserved; and that the Government, which they have instituted, for the protection of their liberties, may be perpetual. It shall still be my endeavor to manifest, by overt acts, the purity of my inclination for promoting the happiness of mankind, as well as the sincerity of my desires to contribute whatever may be in my power towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American People. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to. That great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. The sentiments we have mutually expressed of profound gratitude to the source of those numerous blessings-the author of all good obligations to unite our sincere and zealous endeavors, as the instruments of divine providence, to preserve and perpetuate them. Providence has therefore taken us up when all other means and hope seemed to be departing from us, in this I will confide. Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations, to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our constitutions; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that posterity, which his goodness has already conferred, and to verify the anticipation of this government being a safeguard to human rights.”
Please pardon me for saying so, for I know it is not “politically correct” these days, but I certainly regard the opinion of those who lived in and nearest the days of the writing of the Constitution much more reliable in regard to their original intent of how this nation was to be properly governed. These are just a small sample of the historically accurate quotes that exist from these men and the great men that stood beside them in the foundational days and years of our great nation…and upon examination of an even greater sampling of their writings, the honest person, with or without their own agenda, must concede that their intention was clearly that “good” government cannot possibly exist without the solid principles of Christianity holding things together.
I believe John Madison’s statement alone thoroughly squashes your statements regarding the Ten Commandments as well. Here they are again, just so you don’t have to search for it: “We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.” The evidence is crystal clear, but those who agree with you will not accept it for precisely the reason I stated regarding the removal of the Ten Commandments, “…the issue is really about their ability to remove from public view the best reminder of their sins God ever created.”
Now I expect neither you nor them to admit such an accusation is true, not without God Himself working in your heart. Because I know that the real culprit is not you or they, but the enemy of all of our souls.
Please allow me to move on to your final point. You stated, “Your suggestion that God established government is equally wrong-headed. You insist that God is directly responsible for the many viciously cruel tyrants who have soaked the soil of this planet with the blood of humanity; I must insist that suggestion is inane. But I do know for a fact that our government was established by “We, the people of the United States….” Let me be clear about this: God did establish civil government as an entity long before this government was established. In fact capitol punishment was instituted by God in Genesis chapter 9. But you are right that this government was established by the then Godly people of the United States after they sought God’s direction and fought back the tyrants of England with God’s blessing.
Thank you for your kind words about my service to this nation. I do not wish to flaunt it as I have not paid in blood or loss of life as so many have and still are. I am proud of my service and wish that I could do more and tried after 911, but a medical condition prevented me.
I certainly did not interpret your bluntness as meanness in any sense. You seem very passionate in your response as am I. I trust therefore you will afford me the same courtesy of not misinterpreting my intentions, especially in what I am about to say. My desire for you and every “secular humanist” and every other brand and label that speaks out against the principles I stand for is not to shut you up. As a Christian American, I realize that my freedoms of speech and expression are held together by your ability to voice yours. My desire for your and everyone like you is the same desire that I believe you have for me with regard to your own opinions…My desire is that you would see the light. I mean that both figuratively and literally.
I know. I know. Compared to me and plenty of other “Christians” you know, you are just as good as we / they, and you are probably right. But God will not hold you to that low standard, nor will He me or them for that matter. I challenge you to take The Good Test and see how you measure up to God’s standard. Seriously Doug, if I am wrong about all of these things and even about God and eternity, then I have lost nothing because in the end I will have lived a moral life that I have immensely enjoyed with my family and friends. If eternity is not real or the standards are not as high as I believe than I have absolutely nothing to worry about and neither do you…but if I am right and you are wrong, are you willing to take that kind of gamble with your eternal soul? The choice is up to you. What will it hurt for your to take The Good Test in the privacy of your own home and see how you measure up to God’s law?
Thanks again for writing and please do not hesitate to do so again should you so desire.
Faithfully and respectfully yours,
Note to the reader: Doug was kind enough to write back to me and point out that I failed to mention that our email exchange did continue, but neither of us conceded our positions. He also wanted me to note that the constitution is not a “Christian” document and never directly mentions the Ten Commandments of Moses and the Bible (and I must note that that matters not since one can go to the writings of our forefathers and not miss the fact that these men were Christian men of faith who fully intended for our government to be founded upon the principles and precepts of God’s Word and knew that it would both fail and fall if it became otherwise). Doug further wanted me to mention that he and many other liberal “historians” consider the Madison quote listed above as a false quote that Madison never said, but I submit that there are also many historians who do not doubt the authenticity of the quote and hold fast their position. I do not know either way, but I have read many other quotes by James Madison and the other founding fathers that are thoroughly documented and not in question, which still emphatically indicate that Madison and the others profoundly stood and built our national government upon the principles of God’s Word. My thanks to Doug for caring enough to hold my feet to the fire for the accuracy of this post.
Ten Commandments and the Decalogue