Many Americans assume, without knowing why, that certain things are forbidden by the Constitution while other things are constitutional rights. For example, while many believe that prayer and Bible reading are forbidden in schools and other public venues under the doctrine of separation of church and state, many believe abortions, same-sex marriages and affirmative action are actually constitutionally mandated.
The Constitution says absolutely nothing about the last three while specifically protecting the first two. The fact is, there is no doctrine of separation of church and state to be found in any of America’s founding documents. In the minds of the founders, the government, not the church, was to be held in check by the people. So determined were the Founding Fathers that government should be under control that they placed a $25 fine on parents of illiterate children. When you consider that a man’s suit could be purchased for $2 or a dress for $1, you grasp the magnitude of such a penalty. To what purpose?
The Founding Fathers viewed the matter thusly: If a citizen could not read, that citizen could not read the Bible upon which the civil laws were based. If Congress, therefore, were to pass a law contrary to biblical injunctions, an illiterate citizenry would not know the biblical restraints against such a law. Thus, unjust, immoral and ungodly laws could be easily foisted upon hitherto free citizens. (It appears that Americans have become so accustomed to the rule of an oligarchy – a small select group of individuals elected or unelected – that we scarcely even monitor the activities of our government.)
Today, America, for example (depending on the study), ranks 45th in overall worldwide literacy rates, far behind such countries as Georgia, Cuba, Latvia, Barbados and even Tonga (U.N. Development Program 2011). In fact, a recent poll found that, while nearly three-quarters of Americans asked could name at least one of the judges on “American Idol” and 77 percent could name two of the seven dwarfs, only 15 percent could name John Roberts as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Most stunning of all (to me) was that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, citing an Annenberg Foundation poll, pointed out that only one-third of Americans could name the three branches of the federal government! (Of course you can – you read!)
Many of those who do not read (a 2004 study by the National Endowment for the Arts found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002) assume that the founders were deists, agnostics and, in some cases, atheists. Most modern texts fail to mention the anguish experienced by the founders over the apparent contradiction of slavery. Washington, Adams (called the “Hellhound of slavery”), Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers inveighed mightily to free their own slaves. George Washington, who in life was prohibited by the British and the Virginia Legislature from freeing his slaves, wrote in 1786 “… it being among my first wish is to see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country be abolished by law.” Upon his death, his will not only provided freedom but a stipend until the slaves could become self-sufficient. My point? Most historians have not authenticated – or have completely ignored – the deep abiding Christian faith of the founders.
It is clear from the writings of the founders and/or the reading of non-revisionist history that America is God’s idea. American people, whatever their gender, race, creed, culture or national origin owe their liberties to the province of the Almighty. Washington wrote in 1792: “I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency which so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of the God who is alone able to protect.”
Today it is being postulated by a number of black pastors that awarding same-sex marriage licenses is the equivalent of awarding civil rights to blacks! (Agitators use slavery to justify all manner of irrational positions.) A prime example of this occurred on national television recently when two black pastors, both with doctoral degrees, were debating the issue. One pastor insisted that same-sex marriage was a civil right, and as all were entitled to “equal rights, gays should not be discriminated against.” The other disagreed, saying he was on sound theological footing against homosexual marriages, but he could still support Barack Obama, although he disagreed on this particular issue. In this dialogue, the fountainhead of a paradox in the black community – a dichotomy that is clearly evident to anyone paying the least bit of attention – was revealed.
Consider, blacks (with the possible exception of Catholics) are the most religious people in America. There is practically a church on every block and, in some cases, two. African-Americans, on Sunday morning, come closer to Shabbat in Israel than any other group. Why then, according to a recent ABC News report, are 2.3 million black males in prison? Why does a group that is roughly 13.5 percent of the general population comprise from 35-40 percent of the prison population?
Wait! Before trotting out that tired, old, over-ridden mule “poverty and racism,” answer these questions: Why, in the 1940s and 1950s, when the unemployment of black males, poverty and racism were manifestly more obvious and prevalent, were the numbers demonstrably lower? Why are more than seven out of 10 black babies today “bastards” (a person born of unmarried parents, an illegitimate child)? Why, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, are 93 percent of the 9,000 African-Americans murdered annually killed by other blacks?
In the course of the pastors’ discussion, the root cause of the paradox/dichotomy suddenly became clear. In essence, they were saying, “You can believe the Bible but still agree with and support ungodly positions.” The Bible clearly and unambiguously states in both the Old and New Testaments that homosexuality is against God’s standard for moral behavior. Both pastors, in the final analysis, came out in support of Obama. One was adamant that homosexual marriage was just as much an equal right as a civil right, regardless of the biblical admonition against it, and the other, while upholding the biblical injunction against it and verbally agreeing with the Bible, agreed with and put himself in the same boat with Obama morally.
The crux of the issue is, black pastors, in many pulpits, are saying, “You can come to church, listen to the Bible being preached, know what God says not to do, but, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid supporting it, doing it or being involved with it.” “Yes, young lady, God says avoid premarital sex, but that doesn’t mean you are obligated to.” “Yes, young man, “‘Thou shalt not kill’”(murder), but that doesn’t apply to you.” Obviously, all pastors are not doing this, but apparently enough are to cause a black paradox of major proportions to exist in the black community at large.
I read somewhere that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).
I wonder if that applies to an entire community. Paradoxical?