Without the influence of pastors and Christians, America’s constitutional republic would never have come into existence. Early church ministers taught Americans there was nothing in life the Bible did not address – including civil government. At the beginning of legislative sessions pastors were asked to give a sermon on Biblical principles regarding lawmaking. Makes perfect sense, since God is the Great Lawgiver. He used Moses, Joseph, and Daniel as lawgivers too. Many pastors even served in the legislature, something Thomas Jefferson encouraged. Prior to an election, early church ministers gave Election Sermons calling out candidates by name and discussed how their policies lined up with the Bible. Leading up to the most important election in American history, has anyone ever heard an Election Sermon like that?
Founding Father John Adams stated, ministers were the “most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential” in the “awakening and revival of American principles and feelings” that led to America’s independence. Years later, Adams reaffirmed his statement, declaring, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”
Many pastors during the Founding Era were members of Congress. The Reverend Peter Muhlenberg was a member of Congress and helped frame the Bill of Rights. Could it be the First Amendment (“free exercise of religion”) was listed first in the Bill of Rights so pastors and Christians could maintain and secure our independence? With this historical evidence, why do so many pastors and Christians believe they should not have a voice in the political arena today?
In 1954, the Courts decided to silence and secularize the pulpits when then Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson passed a law restricting churches political involvement. The “Johnson Amendment” meant that, for the first time, nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations and churches must stay out of the political arena or face losing their tax-exempt status. This law violates biblical and historical precedents, it violates the “Free Exercise Clause” and the “Free Speech Clause” of the First Amendment and should have been repealed decades ago!
What many Christians don’t realize – ALL churches are automatically tax exempt under 508( c)(1)(A), making them a Free Church. However, most American churches (State Churches) today have voluntarily silenced themselves by pursuing a 501(c)(3) status which is subject to the government, preventing them from speaking out Biblically on political matters. According to the Barna Group, 90% of pastors agree the Bible speaks about the social and political issues we face as a nation today, but only 10% are willing to speak on them!
Today, many State Churches have chosen to remain silent from a Biblical perspective on issues such as same-sex marriage/LGBT rights, abortion, gun rights, tax policy, climate change, drug policy or religious freedom. Therefore, leaving a moral vacuum for communist groups like the Democrats, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) to campaign and “impose a new public morality” in our nation. Today, the American state-controlled church is progressing into the State Church our Founders delivered us from.
“Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.” Ezekiel 33:5
In the year of our Lord 2020 –
Blessings, Tom Hughes
President, Alliance for Religious Freedom, LLC