Rev. Mark H. Creech, Executive Director
Christian Action League
A couple of events in the last two weeks have been interesting, yet mainly disturbing. Last week, U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty, Jr. ruled that Forsyth County Commissioners’ policy of opening meetings with prayer violates the First Amendment. Beaty ruled the prayers were an “unconstitutional establishment of religion.” This week, Asheville considered whether to provide same-sex partner employment benefits. One of the major arguments in favor of the proposal was “personal religious views are not a valid basis for denying some municipal employees the benefits that are provided to other employees.”
Such assertions are based on a skewed understanding of the “separation of church and state.” The Founders provision of the First Amendment was largely to protect religious rights. Its purpose was to keep government on the Federal level from interfering with religious practices and to prevent the establishment of a national religion. But today this great civil right has been turned completely around to oust religious influence from the public square.
The late Dr. D. James Kennedy once lamented that it’s not simply “go to the back of the bus” for Christianity. Instead it’s “get off the bus.”  Religious influence, more specifically a Christian influence, has provided a moral compass for public policy for most of this nation’s history. The evidence to this end is voluminous. If America is to remain the greatest, freest country in the world it will have to rediscover its rich Judeo-Christian heritage.
Nevertheless, what’s happening now is not entirely new. There have been others in America’s past who by ignorance or willful intent sought to secularize all aspects of public life. In fact, an 1853 House Judiciary Committee conducted an investigation into concerns brought by a group who petitioned the government to remove Christianity from its institutions. The conclusions of that committee are most relevant to the current situation:
“What is an establishment of religion? It must have a creed, defining what a man must believe; it must have rights and ordinances, which believers must observe; it must have ministers of defined qualifications, to teach the doctrines and administer the rites; it must have tests for the submissive and penalties for the non-conformist. There never was an established religion without all these…
At the adoption of the Constitution…every State…provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government…
Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people.
Had the people during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.
At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect [denomination]. Any attempt to discard all religion would have been viewed with universal indignation. The object was not to substitute Judaism or Mohammedanism, or infidelity, but to prevent rivalry among the [Christian] sects to the exclusion of others.
If [Christianity] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests. Laws will not have permanence or power without the sanction of religious sentiment, – without a firm belief that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues and punish our vices.
In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity: that, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. There is a great and very prevalent error on this subject in the opinion that those who organized the Government did not legislate on religion.” 
Unfortunately, secularist have so prevailed in recent years that the current view is the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion except whenever it enters the public square. And, it’s not moral to impose morals. This is not only nonsense, but wholly inconsistent with the nation’s founding. No one should be fooled – some religious premise or supposed ultimate truth – some theistic or anti-theistic value system – is always embraced by the state as its communal method for the coherence of belief and practice. Moreover, someone’s morality is always imposed whenever public policy is codified.
 D. James Kennedy, What if America Were a Christian Nation Again, (Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, 2003), pp. 220-221
 March 27, 1854, Mr. Meachem giving report of the House Committee on the Judiciary. Benjamin Franklin Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), pp. 317, 320-327