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How churches invite government interference in religion.
April 01, 2009
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How Churches Invite Government Interference In Religion

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Boundaries aren't just about interpersonal relations in ministry. They are about church-state relations as well. Hopefully the article will be useful to you in understanding how legislatures can turn Christian values into “hate speech”.

There is an often quoted “wall of separation between church and state”.

But...did you know that this phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution of the United States? It was used by Thomas Jefferson in his private correspondence...long after he retired from public life to Monticello.

There is, nevertheless, a common sense of things that governments should not interfere in religion.

And yet the government does it all the time. Judges and various officials decide that there will be no Christmas creche on some village green...or there will be no school prayer...or there will be no references to God at sporting events or commencement exercises in public schools...or there will be no display of the Ten Commandments on public property. And the list goes on.

But it's not unconstitutional. And here's why.

The First Amendment to the Constitution only says that the government cannot make any law that establishes an official state religion. That's it.

The same amendment also says that government cannot interfere in the free exercise of religion.

So how does it happen that the government can interfere to regulate religious expression without violating the Constitution and the free practice of religion?

The answer is right there in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It has to do with freedom to peaceably assemble and to associate with each other. One major way that people associate with each other is through contracts.

If you contract with the king...you can't play by constitutional rules...you've eradicated constitutional boundaries...and have contracted to play by the king's rules (see I Samuel 8:10-18 for God's warnings about doing this).

Enforcing separation of church and state is the church's job. However, you can find out more about how churches actually invite...consent...and authorize government to cross constitutional boundaries and lawfully regulate religious speech and religious activity.

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Thanks...now go and be a blessing in other people's lives.

TD

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