Do Christian American Churches have the right to invite political candidates and public officials to speak from their pulpits?
Do Christian American Churches, like Christian American Conservative Bloggers, such as myself, still have the right to express our concerns about the direction that America is taking, by framing it in the context of traditional Christian American Faith and Values?
Or, should Christian Americans keep our faith out of the Public Arena of Ideas, like the “Smartest People in the Room” keep insisting?
One Presidential Candidate recently took a stand for the First Amendment Rights of Christian Americans.
Cnsnews.com reports that
Republican Donald Trump told a roomful of evangelicals on Thursday that he was surprised to learn they are afraid to endorse him because they worry about their churches losing their non-profit status.
“Your power has been totally taken away. I mean, I don’t want to insult anybody, but your power has been totally taken away,” Trump told the gathering in Orlando, Fla.
“So, we’re going to get your voice back. We’re going to get it back,” he promised.
Trump explained how he recently learned about the so-called “Johnson amendment,” proposed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1954. The amendment changed the tax code to bar tax-exempt groups from endorsing political candidates or otherwise preaching politics from the pulpit.
“So I didn’t know this, and I didn’t know about the — I know 501(c)(3), but I didn’t know that it played such a big role. And basically, I looked back into it. I said, I want to check this out,” Trump told the pastors.
Trump said he was surprised to learn that Johnson, by getting his amendment passed, was able to “silence people who didn’t feel so good about him.”
“And I said, wow, that’s incredible. And for some reason, the churches, the pastors, the evangelicals, they didn’t do anything about it. It’s very strange, because I know how tough you are.”
Given the size of their congregations, pastors “should be far more powerful,” Trump said.
“And if you look what’s happened to religion, if you look at what’s happening to Christianity, and you look at the number of people going to churches — and evangelicals know this also — it’s not on this kind of a climb, it’s on this kind of a climb of slow and steady in the wrong direction.
“And a lot of it has to do with the fact that you’ve been silenced. You’ve been silenced like a child. You’ve been silenced, you’ve been silenced. Strong, brilliant, great people that want to do the right thing. We’re not talking about bad people, we’re talking about great people.”
Trump said pastors should be able to air their political views in church without fear of losing their federal tax exempt status. “And I’m going to figure a way that we can get you back your freedom of speech that was taken away,” he said. The line drew applause.
Trump noted that as he got closer to receiving the Republican presidential nomination, he told his people to add repeal of the Johnson amendment into the Republican Party Platform.
And he said he intends to follow through with repeal efforts: “I was with a couple of pastors two weeks ago and they weren’t really sure. They had heard we’re going to get rid of it, but they weren’t really sure.
“I hope you can spread the word,” Trump said. “This will be so great for religion, but it will be so great for the evangelicals, for the pastors, for the ministers, for the priests, for America, for America. You know, they took away your voice. They took away the voice of great people.
“They took away the voice of people that want to see good things happen. It’s not like they took away a bad voice, an evil voice. They took away a voice.”
Trump promised that he’ll be able to “terminate” the Johnson amendment.
“And you’ll have great power to do good things. And religion will start going, instead of this way — I mean, Christianity, when you think of what’s happening, you look at the numbers. I talk about Sunday school and people don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore. It’s true. They don’t know what I’m talking about.
“When you look — instead of going this way, you’re going to be going this way. You may be going this way. But you’re going to be going — we’re going to bring it back because it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. They treated you like it was a bad thing, but it’s a great thing, not a good thing. It’s a great thing.
“So, if I get elected president, one of the early things, one of the absolute first things I’m going to do is work on totally knocking out the Johnson amendment. Now, it’s not going to be that hard, because even the Democrats — the power you have is so enormous. It’s not like you have — you represent two percent of the country and, you know, it’s going to be difficult. You probably — 75, 80 percent.
“And if you want to put your full weight, I mean, can you imagine if all of your people start calling up the local congressman and the local senator, and you — I mean, they don’t have a chance of winning that one.”
Trump also told the pastors he “may not perfect,” but he knows how to win. He admitted to being “not perfect on the Bible — but I did go to Sunday school for many years, I want to tell you that.”
Before I get started with my analysis, please allow me this disclaimer:
I am a member of a Contemporary Evangelical Church, which I attend regularly, when I am not working on Sunday.
My faith is not marginal. I stand on The Solid Rock, not shifting sands.
America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Theocracy. And, as such, Americans, including the 75% of us who declare that Jesus Christ is our Personal Savior, must each make our own individual choice as to whom would best represent us as the Leader of the Free World, based upon both logic and the Spiritual Gift of Discernment.
Logic dictates that I vote for someone who will keep my family, my friends, and my country safe from the murderous barbarians that are at our gates. It also drives me to choose someone who actually has a chance to defeat the Democrat Candidate, the representative of the political party whose sitting President has driven this Sovereign Nation straight down the Highway to Hell, over the last seven years.
Judging from the Republican Primaries’ outcome, and the overflowing crowds at his Campaign Rallies that the MSM refuses to acknowledge, the overwhelming majority of voters believe that candidate to be Donald J. Trump.
During the Republican Primary Season, I was called everything but “a Child of God”, simply because I wrote factual posts about Donald J. Trump and stated that I would pencil in the bubble beside his name as my choice to fill the Office of President of the United States of America.
According to some people, you are not truly a Christian, if you are willing to make that choice.
However, I beg to differ.
That being said, Christianity, the faith of the overwhelming majority of Americans has played a part not only in the birth of our nation, but also the shaping of its Domestic and Foreign Policies.
To deny that fact is to attempt to rewrite history.
There is no such codicil in the Constitution of the United States of America as “The Separation of Church and State”.
Per the website, usconsitution.net,
One of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, is directly responsible for giving us this phrase. In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, then-President Jefferson used the phrase — it was probably not the first time, but it is the most memorable one. He said:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, [the people, in the 1st Amendment,] 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.
Jefferson did not have a hand in the authoring of the Constitution, nor of the 1st Amendment, but he was an outspoken proponent of the separation of church and state, going back to his time as a legislator in Virginia. In 1785, Jefferson drafted a bill that was designed to quash an attempt by some to provide taxes for the purpose of furthering religious education. He wrote that such support for religion was counter to a natural right of man:
… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Jefferson’s act was passed, though not without some difficulty, in Virginia. Eyler Robert Coates wrote that the act was copied in the acts or constitutions of several states, either in words or in concepts. Jefferson himself was in France by the time word of the act reached Europe, and he wrote back to America that his act was well-thought of and admired.
However, unlike the tyranny in England that our Founding Fathers escaped from, no one in this present free nation has ever been forced to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
And, that fact is extremely evident in some of the comments one sees on Facebook Political Pages and Political Websites.
But, I digress…
In recent times, especially under the current Democrat President, Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm), a concerted effort has been made to marginalize Christian Americans, putting us in a box if you will. a lot of Liberals and “libertarians” seem to believe that Christianity Americans should only practice our faith on Sunday Mornings from 9 – 12, and be seen and not heard the rest of week.
To which I personally answer, with two quotes from the Bible,
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. – Matthew 27:5 (NIV)
…”Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:37 (NIV)
And, boys and girls, that is MY right as an American.
For decades, American churches, like the black congregations in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, have invited local politicians to speak from their pulpits. while Modern American Liberals have had conniption fits over white churches around the country doing the same thing, they have not said a mumblin’ word about the actions of a constituency which historically votes Democratic.
The Johnson Amendment was a violation of Christian Americans’ Constitutional Rights to begin with, whose selective enforcement has been an intentional act of self-serving hypocrisy by the Democratic Party.
The Republican President Candidate was exactly right in what he told that meeting of Evangelical Christians on Thursday:
They took away the voice of people that want to see good things happen. It’s not like they took away a bad voice, an evil voice. They took away a voice.
This November I pray that voice is heard once again…loud and clear.
Until He Comes,