THE AMERICAN STATE RELIGION

A Study By
GARY RAY BRANSCOME

   
    Contrary to popular belief, our American government is not now, and never has been, religiously neutral. In fact, it is impossible for any government to be neutral when it comes to matters of right and wrong. For example, government must condemn theft or allow it, condemn murder or allow it, condemn homosexuality or allow it, but it cannot remain neutral. Moreover, because the men who founded our American Republic knew that government could not be neutral, they never intended for it to be neutral, and there was no attempt to make it neutral until the last century. Therefore, while the founders did make it clear that Congress was not to make any law establishing a state church, the idea that they wanted government to be totally secular is simply not true.

    At the time the Constitution was drafted all but five of the original thirteen states already had an establishment of religion, and First Amendment was adopted to make sure that the federal government would not abolish those statewide religious establishments, or impose one of its own. As a result, some of the states continued to have state supported churches well into the nineteenth century – and the men who drafted our Constitution did not see that as “unconstitutional”.

    In order to understand the First Amendment you need to realize the significance of the words, “Congress shall make no law.” Those words tell us that the amendment places a limitation on Congress alone, not the states. Moreover, its specific reference to the freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly, and petition addresses specific ways in which religious freedom was denied in the past. Under the Church of England, dissenters had been denied the right to preach (freedom of speech), publish religious literature (freedom of press), assemble for worship (freedom of peaceful assembly), or even petition the government for a redress of grievances. Nevertheless, those who now yell loudest about keeping church and state separate, treat Bible believers as second-class citizens and seek to exclude their views from the halls of government, while striving to make secularism the religion of the realm.

THE ATHEIST RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT


    Those who want to see Christian influence excluded from public life have taken advantage of popular misconceptions in order to create a religion that most people fail to recognize as a religion. In order to better understand what they have done, I would like to go back to the to very roots of congregational worship. As the Jews sought to preserve their national identity and culture during the Babylonian captivity, they established synagogues, and each of those synagogues served a threefold purpose. They functioned as a “house of fellowship” (or community center), a “house of learning” (or school), and a “house of prayer”. Jews were free to come to the synagogue at any time during the week, and as they gathered those who remembered life in Israel would teach the law, and various traditions, to the younger generation. On the Sabbath they would then join together for worship. However, as those old enough to remember life in Israel began to die off, the synagogues had to hire teachers (rabbis) who were well versed in the law. Therefore, by the time of Christ it was customary for the rabbi to teach the boys reading writing and arithmetic during the week, while also instructing them in the law, the tradition of the elders, and the opinions of various commentators.

    Nevertheless, even though education has always had a place in the work of the church, Christian congregations have tended to separate religious instruction from academic education – either dropping academics, or treating it as an extra for which tuition is charged. However, try to imagine a society where congregations are primarily devoted to education, and people worship in private. In such a society churches would function as schools, and where there was state support, the state church would consist of a network of state supported schools. Now, suppose that another religion took over those schools, and began teaching evolution rather than creation. Students would be taught that they have an animal nature rather than a fallen nature, that the environment determines behavior, that morality is just a matter of opinion, that Jesus was just one teacher among many, and that there is no life after death. How, I ask you, how would that religious system differ from the public school system that we have today?

    Many educators like to blame the current social malaise on the family, however, the primary reason for the breakdown of the family, has to do with the false religion being disseminated through the schools. Satan has simply taken advantage of certain cultural paradigms in order turn our schools into an educational cult that we do not even recognize as a cult.

SOCIAL SUBVERSION


    The state religion that I have described did not come into existence by accident, instead, there have been people working for generations to bring it into existence. Moreover, even though Christians founded most of our schools and Universities, secularists have been using state support to force Christian influence out of education.

    In his book, “NEA: TROJAN HORSE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION”, Samuel L. Blumenfeld offers a number of quotations documenting the fact that certain key people intended from the start to establish a secular religion. The following quotations are from his book.

    “In 1933 John Dewey and 33 other liberal humanists drew up and signed that extraordinary document known as Humanist Manifesto… It called for the abandonment of traditional religion and replacing it with a new secular religion.” (Pages 225,226)
    “The Ethical Culture movement had been founded in 1876 by Felix Adler who saw the need to provide nontheistic religion for people who no longer could accept the traditional views… This goal dovetailed nicely with Dewey's.” (Page 71)
    “It was thus Dewey who began to fashion a new materialist religion in which humanity was venerated instead of God.” (Page 55)


    In 1984 U.S. Department of Education held hearings in which parents, students, and a number of teachers were called to testify in regard to proposed regulations for the protection of student’s rights. In the course of those hearings, over 1,300 pages of testimony were recorded, and excerpts from the official transcript were compiled by Phyllis Schlafly and published under the title “CHILD ABUSE IN THE CLASSROOM”. The testimony recorded in that book documents the attack on students’ religious beliefs, as it is zealously being carried out by many teachers. In regard to the religious nature of secular education, I offer the following quotes:

    “I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. They will be ministers of another sort utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach – Pre school day care or large state university.” (Page 120). (Quoted from A RELIGION FOR A NEW AGE, by John Durphy, HUMANIST MAGAZINE, Jan.-Feb. 1983)
    “Dr. Benjamin Bloom… in his recent book “ALL OUR CHILDREN LEARNING” states. “The purpose of education is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” (page 145)
    “The NEA'S report, “EDUCATION FOR THE SEVENTIES” states: Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized psycho-social treatment for the students.” (Page 168)
“Kohlberg measures the degree of change in the student's moral levels. He does this by presenting moral dilemmas, which deliberately create an internal conflict within the student… The message of such deceitful dilemmas is crystal clear and always the same: there are no rights or wrongs – no absolutes by which to live and act.” (Page 178)


    In light of these facts, is it any wonder that Karl Marx, in his “Communist Manifesto,” called for the creation of free public schools? A government controlled school system is just as antithetical to freedom as a government controlled press, for both easily become tools for political indoctrination.

CONCLUSION


    One of the main objections to an establishment of religion listed in The Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom reads, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical” (signed into law by Patrick Henry, in 1786). If that complaint is valid, then it does not cease to be valid just because we call the state-supported vehicle of religion a school. In either case, it is evil and tyrannical for the government to force Christians to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions that they find abhorrent, or to have those opinions taught to their children. At present, those who object to the secular indoctrination of their children can avoid it only by great personal hardship, and that must change if we are to preserve freedom. We must separate government from education!