Alexander's Column

Religion and Politics Don't Mix?

By Mark Alexander · May 14, 2009

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.” –Thomas Jefferson

For all of our nation’s history, there have been tactical battles between opposing political ideologies – liberals (leftists) who want to liberate us from constitutional rule of law, and conservatives who strive to conserve rule of law. Great political capital has been, and continues to be, expended by the Left in order to offend our Constitution, and by the Right in order to defend it.

Amid the din and rhetoric of the current lineup of tactical contests, I ask that you venture up to the strategic level and consider a primal issue that transcends all the political noise.

How many times have you heard the rejoinder, “Religion and politics don’t mix”?

Most Americans have, for generations now, been inculcated (read: “dumbed down”) by the spurious “wall of separation” metaphor and believe that it is a legitimate barrier between government and religion. So effective has been this false indoctrination that even some otherwise erudite conservatives fail to recall that religion and politics not only mix, but are inseparable.

Recall that our Founders affirmed in the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In other words, our Creator bestowed the rights enumerated in our Declaration and, by extension, as codified in its subordinate guidance, our Constitution. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are natural rights; they are not gifts from government.

To that end, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

But the Left has, for many decades, made its primary objective the eradication of God from every public quarter, and routinely relied on judicial activism to undermine constitutional rule of law and, thus, the natural rights of man.

The intended consequence of this artificial barrier between church and state is to remove knowledge of our Creator from all public forums and, thus, over time, to disabuse belief in a sovereign God and thus, dispel the notion of natural rights.

This erosion of knowledge about the origin of our rights has dire implications for the future of liberty.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”

As the author of our Declaration of Independence makes clear, we should all tremble that man has adulterated the gifts of God.

Ironically, it was Jefferson who penned the words “wall of separation between church and state” in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.

Jefferson was responding to a letter the Association wrote to him objecting to Connecticut’s establishment of Congregationalism as its state church. Jefferson responded that the First Amendment prohibited the national (federal) government from establishing a “national church.”

After all, the controlling language (Amendment I) reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Jefferson concluded rightly that the Constitution’s 10th Amendment federalism provision prohibited the national government from interfering with matters of state governments – a “wall of separation,” if you will, between the federal government and state governments.

Among all our Founders, Jefferson was most adamant in his objection to the construct of the Judicial Branch of government in the proposed Constitution, writing, “The Constitution [would become] a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

Jefferson warned: “The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. … It has long been my opinion … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary; working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 81, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.”

But Jefferson was correct in his apprehension about our Constitution being treated as “a mere thing of wax” by what he called the “despotic branch,” who would do the bidding of their special-interest constituencies rather than interpret the plain language of the Constitution.

In 1947, Justice Hugo Black perverted Jefferson’s words when Black speciously opined in the majority opinion of Everson v. Board of Education that the First Amendment created a “wall of separation” between religion and government, thus opening the floodgates for subsequent opinions abolishing religious education and expression in all public forums.

John Adams wrote, “If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.”

It may not be in the power of man to alienate the gift of liberty, but it will certainly take the power of men, guided by our Creator, to defend it. To that end, religion and politics are inseparable.

3 Comments

Sandy Pidgeon said:

Mark, this is by far the best treatises on the "seperation" letter and should be required reading for all members of Congress and every school age kid in America! Well done. The Socialists have been chipping away at this for years because they tried the frontal assault, akin to the Clinton health care debacle - can't do it all at once? Then, one must "nibble around the edges" until it is done. Cheers...Sandywww.specialwarfaresolutions.com

Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 6:59 PM

Heath Watts said:

Here is what the Constitution says about religion:Article 4:The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.Amendment 1:Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.That's all it says about religion, and that's the law. The Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion and prohibits the government from excluding non-religious people from public office. If the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian (or Muslim, or HIndu, etc.) nation, they would have written it into the document. The letters that the Founding Fathers wrote to each other have no bearing on the Constitution. Personal correspondence, and documents pre-dating the Constitution have not effect on the Constitution. It's been amended many times, after long, difficult struggles, but it has always been amended to provide the citizens of our nation more liberty, not less.I am a educated progressive, and an atheist and I do not want to live under a theocratic regime, Christian or otherwise. I won't stand back and let you and your "conservative" friends turn the greatest nation in the world into the Christian equivalent of Saudi Arabia, because unlike most Americans, I have read and understand the Constitution.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 10:44 AM

David said:

Dear Heath,There is nothing in Marks article that argues for any sort of "theocratic regime"! You're really not representing education in America very well, if you read that it did.He argues for all of man's essential liberties.By the way, you should be made aware (warned) that progressive atheists tend to be paranoid. Or was it that the paranoid tend to be progressive atheists?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:26 AM