I awoke one morning thinking about how many people aren’t aware of one of the Biblical sources that inspired our Founding Fathers to include the “free exercise” of religion into the First Amendment. They did so because Jesus commanded it.
In Matthew 22:17-21, Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees, is it “lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus said, “Show Me the tax money.” Jesus then asked “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said; “Render therefore unto Caesar (the state) the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God (the church) the things that are God’s.” In these verses Jesus teaches us there are things that belong to the “state” and things that belong to the “church,” and we have responsibilities in both areas.
In America these two jurisdictions of church and state always worked together to publicly acknowledge God, not create a “rigid wall” of separation as secularists have done today. We were “one nation under God” but the jurisdictions were two, a picture of the parallel in the Bible between God’s law and the gospel. Our Founders used Jesus’ teaching on the realms of “God” and “Caesar” to establish religious freedom in America. This principle is protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, which says, “Congress [arm of the federal government] shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The church and state relationship remained reciprocal because, for example, the First Amendment’s “free exercise clause” permitted government officials to freely express their own religious beliefs in public and exert influence in their government functions.
I wonder, if Jesus was asked the tax question today by the American people, how would He answer? Jesus would need a coin (e.g. a quarter) and then ask, “Whose image and inscription is this?” A modern day person would answer “George Washington” and “In God We Trust.” Jesus might then say, “render therefore to George Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers what they established by trusting in God.”
Instead of rendering to our Founding Fathers what they established by trusting in God and freely exercising our religion in the public arena, we have chosen to remain silent, allowing our nation to sink into a hole of secular humanism. If we love Jesus wouldn’t we want to keep His commands?
The problem in America is not the left or the right, but those who know the truth and won’t publicly proclaim it.
In the year of our Lord 2018
“In all your ways, acknowledge Him…” Proverbs 3:6