The debate over separation of church and state has reared its head again. Two Florida school officials, recently issued a prayer before a school luncheon and are now the target of a civil lawsuit. The two Pace High School official–Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman–are facing up to six months behind bars for violating a decree that prohibits school employees from endorsing religion.
Surely, legal battles over violations of separation of church and state are nothing new. However, in this country elected officials routinely open their day with prayer. In fact, Idaho Senator Nicole LaFavour’s blog site references how important it is for members to begin their day with prayer. Senator LaFavour speaks on her recent experience leading the Senate floor in an invocation that is more inclusive of other religions.
Also, there is a Senate chaplain, whose duties include everything from meeting with members on their personal moral issues to teaching a Senate Bible study group. If the Americans elected to office have the freedom to practice their faith openly in the workplace, how can we the people be subjected to lawsuits meant to prohibit our expression of faith?
The Senate chaplain contends that while the Constitution clearly calls for a separation of church and state, it does not imply a separation of God and state. This statement is a great sound bite for a Web site, but it can be easily seen with a hypocritical view from the American public, however. A recently filed lawsuit against the Kentucky Baptist Home for Children will be allowed to proceed in court. The argument made by the ACLU is that taxpayers have the right to challenge the state’s decision to fund this and any other “faith-based” institution.
There are claims that military chaplains should be banned because their salaries and all ministry related activities are funded by the U.S. government. Most would contend that soldiers in the U.S. military have one of the toughest jobs around. And many would argue that a military chaplain is not a mere luxury, but a necessity for over-extended and over-stressed soldiers. This point rages on for debate, yet our Senate members can openly benefit from the services of a Senate chaplain. Is this not contradictory?
As Christians, we are subject to the laws of God (Romans 13). We are to submit to the governing authorities because apart from God there is no governing authority. Therefore, under God’s authority laws are established and rules are set in place. It is expected that citizens of any nation obey their laws and their elected officials because according to God’s plan, those in leadership are put in place by him to lead. This ties directly into the “separation of church and state” theory because it clearly contradicts the intended law of God.
Ironically, just as God never directed us to live apart from his authority, neither did the authors of the Constitution. The founding fathers petitioned for religious freedom, not freedom from religion. God called for nations to stand in line with his supreme judgment and govern according to his perfect will. As Senate members appreciate the need to keep God first in their lives, they are allowing the everyday American to fight for that right. This debate continues to grow and the nation is led astray by people not willing to stand up and reclaim their God-given right to live in a country governed according to the word of God, thereby perpetuating the myth of separation of church and state.