The Immorality of Forced Morality
By C. Norm Farley, Ph.D.
(Designed for use on a prayer meeting night)
The original settlers in Jamestown and in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were not Religious Pluralists nor were they Americans – they were British and under British law. By 1776 the decision had been made to establish a nation free from English political dominance and the Declaration of Independence was signed. The tide from Uniformitarianism (unity of church and state or of Magistrate and Prelate) had been shifting and by 1787 the Constitution was ratified followed by the Bill of Rights in 1791. By the establishment of the First Amendment our founding Fathers decreed that freedom should ring from every mountainside. Thus religious pluralism was established in America - this did not just happen by accident. Our founders were well educated and intimately familiar with the religious history of Europe and the atrocities which accompanied it. They knew the horror stories of the Inquisition which included water boarding, the rack, and the stake. Jefferson had a particular prejudice toward Catholicism but because of the religious pluralistic doctrine established in the First Amendment he contained his hostility. Our Founders were familiar with the Religious history of Jamestown and they were knowledgeable that in 1610 a Sunday law was passed in Virginia, which provided for punishment (including death) for failure to attend church each and every week."18
They were well versed on the history of the Calvinists in Geneva and the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay colony. They were products of “the age of reason.” Many were Deists, Theists or Unitarians, only one Catholic and one Jew were signatories to the “Declaration.” As a result, the Founders understood the negative results of the witch trials, the stocks and the union of magistrates and prelates in the Bay colony. They knew about the debates between John Cotton and Roger Williams and they understood that Rhode Island was established over the issue of "Freedom of Conscience." As a result, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and other framers of the Constitution determined to resolve the issue of religion by establishing Religious pluralism.
They were keenly aware of the introduction of Patrick Henry's bill, "A Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” in Virginia. In this bill, Henry wanted the law of the state to establish "Christianity as the law of the Commonwealth.” He further wanted the State to collect and distribute taxes for the support of “religious teachers."
Many of our founders took exception to this law, but especially Madison and Jefferson, along with the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals, the Baptists, and the Episcopalians and Methodists. In his retort to this bill, Madison states the same Biblical principle Paul did to the Corinthians -freedom of conscience. He says: "religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right...”19
"The framers of our Constitution recognize the eternal principle that man's relation with his God is above human legislation and his rights of conscience inalienable. Reasoning was not necessary to establish this truth; we are conscious of it in our own bosoms. It is this consciousness which, in defiance of human laws, has sustained so many martyrs in tortures and flames. They felt that their duty to God was superior to human enactments, and that man could exercise no authority over their consciences. It is an inborn principle which nothing can eradicate”20 – Congressional documents (USA). Serial No. 200. document No. 271
Madison constructed the First Amendment so there would be no "Establishment of Religion” or prohibition against "free exercise." This being the case, in order to maintain “Freedom of Conscience,” America must always remain a pluralistic nation.
Now, once again, as we look at the scene behind the scene, we find some visionary advice:
"Let the principal once be established in the United States that the Church may employee or control the power of the State; that religious observance may be enforced by secular law, in short, that the authority of the Church and State is still to dominate conscience and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured" – and I would add made possible by many Evangelical Protestants!”21
For 30 years there has been the attempt to tune a broad based smorgasbord of unifying moral and political principles. All parties connected with the moral majority have agreed on one common denominator. “To do God's work here on earth is to oppose evil at all times... Christians have been given dominion (rule) over the earth by God... It is wrong and worthy of opposition when secular persons inappropriately take that dominion."22
Well, if the evangelical agenda is to keep all secular candidates out of office by what methodology can this be established? We get a glimpse into the inner workings by giving consideration to the Texas Republican platform - it is a reflection of the marriage which has taken place between religion and politics.
"Our founders expected that Christianity... and no other religion... would receive support from the government... the wall of separation between church and state would need to come down to establish biblical law... all our party (Republican) pledges to exert its influence to... dispel the "myth" of the separation of church and state... faith-based opportunities should be increased... until the time the Church bears the responsibility for welfare and education. These programs would be funded through tithing, through community and business contributions... the Republican Party of Texas affirms that the United States of America is a Christian nation."23
In case you missed it, here is the moral/political agenda:
1. Christianity, and no other religion, is to receive help from the federal government.
2. Separation of church and state is a "myth" which must be dispensed with.
3. The Creation of "faith-based initiatives" to replace welfare and education funding.
4. The establishment of America as a "Christian Nation."
What this clearly does is "establish” one religion above all others, Christianity, and thus destroys the intent of the 1st Amendment. If, you have watched the primaries, you are familiar with "Religious Litmus Tests” (moral agendas) which candidates seeking high offices are questioned about. They are individually asked Where they stand on such issues as "Faith-Based initiatives, stem cell research, abortion, school prayer, and euthanasia."
Time magazine listed six abuses of power on September 10 2007. Among them was "Politicizing Justice." This represents the scene behind the scene.
An anonymous group of Justice Department employees wrote a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committee and accused staff members under Attorney Alberto Gonzales of implementing a "political litmus test in determining which of the nation's top law school graduates would be hired as government attorneys. An excerpt from a letter written to the committee on the Judiciary reads as follows:
"While it might be said that whoever wins the election can do the hiring, this new hiring procedure is contrary to the department of justice tradition. The department represents the entire country and has always had attorneys from a variety of schools and political leanings -- there should be no litmus test for a student to get an interview."24
It was not discovered until Monica Goodling's appearance before the Judiciary committee that the Bush administration had a cadre of "150 graduates from Regency University" (Pat Robertson's) serving in the Bush administration."25
Regency University has, over the years, taught Dominionism – Dominionism wishes to re-establish the capital punishments practiced in the Jewish Theocracy. Modern secularists and many Christians cannot accept this reasoning - it means they do not pass the "Litmus test" - neither do they hold to the “moral agenda” of the “right.” Most Dominionists believe that “dominion” was granted to Adam and Eve thus secularists have no right to public office. This both denies and destroys pluralism and thus the Constitution. It should be noted that when John Ashcroft resigned as Attorney General he was hired as the dean of Regency University.
The scene behind the scene is that there has been in place a methodology to install in the Judiciary, the federal courts, the state courts, and the Supreme Court, Christian judges who pass the litmus test - this is the politicizing of justice and an "abuse of power" and it was all accomplished as part of a "secret agenda."
This is why Governor Huckabee recently stated in a most unprecedented and deadly serious manner: "I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution that it would be to change the word of the living God - and that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution.”26 Now that we understand what is going on in "Secret" and being sold as “morality” how does this destroy the Constitution? Article 6 states: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." – Article 6, Constitution of the U. S.
Now let's take pause to note that there is a fine line between a "religious test" and a "moral test." Governor Romney was possibly eliminated from the Republican primary by one simple question, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers"? This is perhaps a not so sly way of implying that Mormons are not Christians! The question is does this constitute a “religious test” or is it a “moral test?” The Constitution forbids “religious tests” this then is an unchartered way to wave a big red flag in front of a large voting block of Evangelical Christians. To his discredit, the Governor did not make an Article VI reply as John Kennedy did in 1960 but went out of his way to try to pacify “Religious Right” voters. He accomplished this “By tying together a ‘person of faith’ and America’s heritage of Christian symbolism (which) sent (the message) that only Christians will uphold Christian values in the public square and thus the only ones qualified for public office.” The question you might ask yourself is – does this look more like a “religious test” or “moral test?” “Secret” code words might begin to look a little less secret.”27 **
But the driving force which has kept religion/politics wedded is the Roe v Wade decision - and the question always asked politicians is, “what do you believe about abortion?” This question, while not asking about "religion" immediately informs the moral majority, whether one is a conservative or liberal and in the eyes of many a Christian or a secularist.
The following observations are not an attempt to “politicize” moral issues. Rather, an attempt to consider the methods which have been and are constantly being unleashed on the American public to drive a specific “moral agenda” to achieve a specific moral goal.
Here are some statistics compiled from a poll taken nationwide with regard to the Roe v Wade court decision. “63% of men and 73% of women believe that abortion is a decision which should be made by a woman and her doctor. 65% disagree that it should ever be an amendment to the Constitution even though everyone agrees it is a ‘moral issue.’ 46% believe it should be illegal except for rape, incest, and to save the mother’s life.”28
In America, therefore, abortion is clearly not a black and white issue, rather one that generates the emotional energy responsible for the political union of Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism. The whole question of morality is not a 20th century phenomena. The scripture records that: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” Genesis 6:5, 6. The raw facts are that in all the millenniums of earth’s history the problem of morality on earth has not been solved. It is a monstrous delusion to believe that man’s secret attempts to politicize justice, stack the courts, and legislate a moral agenda, will heal the ills of society. We must especially take seriously the biblical doctrine of “freedom of conscience.” Peoples' consciences differ and we are must understand that some issues have as much grey as black and white.
To my knowledge, no candidate currently possesses the courage to stand before the "moral majority" and clearly state as John Kennedy did in 1960:
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic Prelate would tell the president. . .how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. I believe in an America that is neither Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. Where no public official either requests or accepts instruction on public policy from the Pope, The National Council of Churches, or any other Eccleastical source. Where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of it’s officials and where religious liberty is indivisible . . .”29
The "moral majority" has two categories - conservative or liberal. Liberal is the word equated with "anathema." It is anyone who will not affirm all points of their moral agenda - it is black and white - "I don't know or I’m not sure" can't exist. There is no place for faith and doubt or personal conscience. No room for "Lord, I believe help my unbelief". Instead It’s "this is how it is" – this is "ink and stone theology" it is “moral theology” borrowed from Rome and draped in the coercive garments of 17th Century New England Calvinism. That is the "Secret Agenda" turned “coercive” - the scene behind the scene.
So the real scene in America is the hidden agenda of an “enforced morality.” This constitutes the immorality of morality and is accomplished by the “politicizing of justice.” (The stacking of courts Federal, State and Local.) Whenever we admit that our families, and our churches have failed to instill "moral values" and we beckon the government to assist in the job through legislation we have simply moved the clock back to the failed systems of the middle ages, Geneva, and Puritan America. While "ink and stone theology" may impose morality, all "coerced morality" is "bondage" and "freedom of conscience" which Scripture establishes and the constitution, which our founders adopted, languishes. What has made America the greatest nation on the face of the earth is the doctrine of "Freedom of Conscience" and our steadfast adherence to the laws of “Habeas Corpus.” These laws are the underpinning of freedom, both intellectual and physical. To permit the removal of these “natural laws” means that we deserve “neither liberty nor safety.”
In the end it is all about the God we serve. The God I serve “never forces the will or conscience; but Satan’s constant resort is to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce – this is both compulsion and cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience, and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this he works through both religious and secular authorities. . .”30 The work of the Christian is to believe the Gospel of grace, and pray for the “Spirit” to convict and soften hearts so that the “hardening” which afflicted “Israel” may not afflict the Christian world.