Last Wednesday, while aimlessly scrolling through my phone, I happened upon an article that fortunately pulled me down its rabbit hole. The title alone was enough to keep me on the page. Before I give my spill, take a look at the article yourself below.
Now I’ve read a couple of books from Robert P. Jones, the author whose work the above article was based upon. However, I haven’t gotten the chance to put my hands on this specific work. Nevertheless, after watching the brief animation and reading a few published summaries of the book, I can honestly say that I’m itching to get to the bookstore.
The points that Jones makes from an unbiased and non-partisan point of view is, in my opinion, highly agreeable. For so long, we have alluded to ourselves that the great American experiment was founded upon the incontrovertible foundations of Christianity — that the Judeo-Christian religious system is the primal and preferred dogma that should be adhered to by government and society in toto.
I couldn’t disagree more.
One of the chief purposes behind the building of America was to escape religious persecution that ran rampant in Great Britain under the reign of King George II. Several religious groups such as the Puritans, Jesuits, Huguenots, Mennonites, and many others sought to flee the tyranny that the Crown facilitated and believed that the New World would give them the chance to practice their beliefs — and worship God — the way they felt was best. No single state religion would rule. This new nation would be a nation of laws, not men and religious beliefs. Such sentiments were reflected in the development of our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, and our instrument of government, the U.S. Constitution.
Now let’s fast-forward over 200 years later. In a nation that was originally founded upon diversity and freedom of religion, it looks as though we’ve missed the mark somewhere. While one percentage of the populace celebrates all of the things that makes America a culturally-rich nation, another portion continues to latch on to the idea that one spiritual belief is to be revered above all others. This dangerous ideology seems eerily akin to the zeitgeist that prevailed in Great Britain in the early 1700s.
So what happened? Why have we reverted back to such an unenlightened way of thinking that so many of us continue to harbor such animosity towards the ideas of individual freedom and uninhibited liberty? I’ve long held on to the persuasion that government and religion are undeniably mutually exclusive. One can exist without the other. As a matter of fact, I believe that there are many more references that point to this being the Framers’ preference rather than the alternative. The Bible even accounts of a time when Jesus Christ himself promulgated the idea of such a separation.
Matthew 22:21 (KJV)
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Interpretation? Those things that are the affairs of secular government are to be exercised as such. Those that are of God’s divine affairs and His church, likewise. The two should not intermingle. Yet, ultra-conservatives make it their mission to do the complete opposite of what the Lord teaches. Maybe Christ peered through time and saw the upcoming centuries that harbored the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, and countless wars sponsored by government and the church in the name of religion and knew that mixing the two would bring havoc upon humanity. What better way to try to avoid such calamity than by giving a simple answer to a trivial question concerning a coin?
What should America look like? It should look like a place of liberty and freedom for people of all nations. It should be, at the very least, tolerant of all beliefs that seek to pursue peace and unity. It should be a cornerstone and hallmark for the universal ideals and tenets that we hold dear to our hearts as we embark upon the next level of progression and cooperation among people everywhere.
Give me your thoughts.