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Church & State: Separation doesn't mean opposition

As a constitutional law attorney with a doctorate in theology and 30 years experience as a Christian social reformer, I have a special interest and expertise in the so-called “separation of church and state” I would like to share.

Coadjuvancy is a little-used but precise legal term meaning the cooperation or mutual effort of independent entities with authority to govern, such as the separate but equal sovereign powers of church and state. America’s founders considered church and state to be coadjuvants with the duty to closely collaborate for the benefit of society. The long and beneficial history of church/state coadjuvancy was carefully summarized in the United States Supreme Court case Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892), which is a must-read for anyone desiring to understand the topic.

The modern notion that the separation of these powers implies opposition or incompatibility is a gross misrepresentation of the founders’ beliefs and intentions. It was imposed on the nation by a cabal of hyper-partisan Democratic secularists led by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a virulent anti-Catholic and one-time member of the Ku Klux Klan), along with his co-conspirator Lyndon Baines Johnson, author of the Johnson Amendment that purported to ban church involvement in politics.

Black wrote the majority opinion in the 1947 U.S. Supreme Court case Everson v. Board of Education, which redefined the separation of church and state as a barrier to church/state cooperation – reversing over 150 years of legal precedent in which it had been recognized as a facilitator of church influence in government. It was this early and egregious example of judicial activism in Everson that shifted America from following the Judeo-Christian presuppositions of the founders to the secular humanist presuppositions of Cultural Marxism: preventing government from recognizing the authority of God in our law and history.

This unconstitutional, judge-created and enforced anti-religious form of secularism remains the law of the land, notwithstanding political counter-measures such as redesigning our paper currency to include our national motto “In God We Trust.” This occurred under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61), who said, “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first – the most basic – expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

This was always a Democrat vs. Republican partisan battle. To quote from one of my previous articles, “All of the nine justices in the Everson decision were nominated by Democratic presidents (four by Roosevelt, three by Truman and one by Wilson), and all were Democrats themselves except Independent Felix Frankfurter (a founder of the ACLU), and the lone Republican, Harold Burton, a personal friend of Harry Truman from their days together in the U.S. Senate. Shamefully, all agreed with Black’s revisionist definition of the ‘Separation of Church and State’ (though four dissented as to its application to the plaintiff’s case at issue).”

In 1948, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ostensible victory over former Texas Gov. Coke Stevenson was clouded by serious allegations of voter fraud. Justice Hugo Black (himself a former Democratic senator from Alabama), intervened on Johnson’s behalf, issuing an order barring a federal district court in Texas from further investigation of that fraud, sealing LBJ’s victory. In 1954, Sen. Johnson furthered their mutual ideological interests by sponsoring the “Johnson Amendment” to the U.S. Tax Code, whose existence has been used for decades to unconstitutionally suppress political advocacy by churches.

(Importantly, the IRS refuses to enforce the amendment, knowing it would not survive a court challenge. This has triggered a movement wherein a large and growing number of churches, including my own, deliberately endorse candidates from the pulpit and send the video footage to the IRS, hoping to provoke litigation. President Trump has challenged the Johnson Amendment with an executive order and vowed to push a formal repeal of the amendment through Congress.)

In 1961, Black struck a second grievous blow to the nation in Torcaso v. Watkins when he led the court to define atheism as a religion toward which government must remain neutral. This effectively transformed our constitution’s “equal protection” guarantees into a weapon empowering atheists to purge Judeo-Christian influence from public life as a supposed violation of their rights. That effort began in earnest with the removal of prayer in public schools in 1963 and gradually matured into a culture-wide climate of overt hostility toward the biblical worldview and widespread active repression of Judeo-Christian beliefs and speech in all spheres of society.

As governor of Massachusetts, I would join President Trump in issuing an executive order at the state level similar to his own, and would lend the weight of my office to the efforts of Massachusetts churches seeking to put the Johnson Amendment before a court of competent jurisdiction so that it could be formally struck down.

In the mean time, I encourage churches to openly engage in political advocacy and offer myself as a teacher of their constitutional right to do in sermons from their pulpits – sermons that themselves do not test the law but only explain it.