To proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "true truth," and to disciple and encourage people to grow in faith and participate in influencing their culture.
In the Case of Everson v. Board of
Education (1947), the Supreme Court pronounced that the First
Amendment erected a wall between church and state and that wall must be kept
high and impregnable.The Court also
pontificated that it could not approve the slightest breach in that wall. But
did the First Amendment erect such a wall?
Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Who shall make no law?
Congress. What is that law they are not to make?A law respecting “an establishment,” not “the
establishment” of religion, which means that Congress was not to favor one
denomination as the national church over another. In fact, many of the early
settlers purposed to establish their own religious affiliations in the colonies
they founded.Many came to escape
religion.Roger Williams, for example,
escaped the Puritans of Massachusetts and founded Providence in order to be
free to exercise his Baptist leanings. The result of not establishing a
national church allowed the public the free exercise of their personal religious
In Emerson, the vote was 5-4 with Justice
Hugo Black writing the majority opinion. He stretched the limits of
constitutional review by going outside the constitution to support his personal
view. He quoted from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury
Baptists who feared Presbyterianism would become the national church.
Jefferson’s words to them in 1802 were, “I contemplate with reverence that act
of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make
no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
the author of the First Amendment and greatly influenced by the Baptist
preacher, John Leland, did not intend the amendment to be construed as Hugo
Black then interpreted it. In fact, the Bill of Rights was composed to
influence the southern States to endorse the Constitution. The various rights
listed were proposed in order for the states to have sovereignty over such
things as religion, press, and assembly. If a state desired to endorse a
certain religious affiliation, it may do so. Hence, the Catholic Church became
the religion of choice in Maryland, the Anglican Church in Virginia, and the
Congregational Church in Massachusetts, which paid from public funds the salary
of ministers. Madison listed his reasons for the First Amendment, which were as
freedom of conscience with no one subject to penalties by any authority on
account of religions belief.(The
Baptists were previously persecuted in Massachusetts.)
freedom of religious practice and propagation within the bounds of human
decency and safety.
separation of church and state in regard to governmental interference; no
taxation for any religious establishment or activity – this would prevent
government from controlling religion and favoring one denomination over
Madison did not intend the
elimination of God, or Christian institutions, or biblical customs, or
quotations from the national scene.
Court of Hugo Black definitely wanted God removed from the civil scene and so
reached into a personal letter from Jefferson to affirm their political agenda.
Everson was a landmark decision, for
it applied the Establishment Clause not to itself or the Federal Law, but
extended it to hijack State law. Prior to this decision the First Amendment imposed
limits on the federal government, while many states continued to grant certain
religious denominations legislative power and privilege. Because of the
Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause, the ruling of the Court now took
away state sovereignty over denominational privilege. Constitutional law has
been taken out of the founding Fathers’ hands and now made into anything the
Hope for our
nation, however, resides not in nine justices of the Supreme Court or in one
president of the United States, but in God Himself. Though our nation has
drifted from Christ, may we remain firmly anchored to our Lord and Savior,
where true independence is found!
Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "truetruth,"andtodiscipleandencouragepeopletogrowinfaithandparticipateininfluencingtheirculture.