The Un-gagging of the Church, Part 1

By Ramon Arias

In this country we hear much about the freedom of expression as a pillar of our Republic, however, are you aware that this freedom of expression was taken away from the church more than 50 years ago?  Many pastors, priests, rabbis and religious leaders have been living under intimidation to speak with liberty about central issues of moral values for fear of a federal retribution. Unbelievable but true!  You would not think that this has been happening in the land of the free and the home of the brave, right?  If you think that this only happens in communist or socialist countries or in countries with other religions that prohibit the expression of Christianity but never here in America, think again.  All of the word of God deals with the definition of right and wrong, what is good and what is bad, true justice and injustice in relation to thoughts, words and actions of people, family, society in general and its institutions.

How can we talk about the reality of moral and cultural issues in the nation if we are not allowed to speak with liberty about the application of God’s word in every situation or circumstance?  How can the moral decadence in the nation be explained if there is no liberty to speak in the pulpits of his country?  If we analyze exactly when our nation started down this moral slippery slope we will find it at the end of the 50s.  You do not need to be a great sociology student to arrive at the conclusion at what the following decades brought to our society.  Today the majority of the population does not know how to differentiate what is morally acceptable or unacceptable in issues such as divorce, gambling, use of animals in medical studies, premarital sex, abortion, cloning of animals, suicide and other human behaviors that destroy the moral fiber of our society.

The problems that are happening in our towns and cities are all of enormous proportions, No political program has been able to resolve them nor will it ever.  No security or police force will be able to handle the increase in crime no matter how much budgets are increased to help fight crime.  No amount of social assistance will be able to eliminate people’s dependency on government.  Schools, streets and homes will continue to be threatened by crime.  The list of things that are wrong with our society is very long been there is only one solution to all of them, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE NATION’S PULPITS. 

«My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.«  (Hosea 4:6)

Who were instrumental in the founding of the United States of America?

Briefly, let us remember that the Puritans that arrived to the shores of America were Christians that came fleeing from political and religious persecution in England.  In England they were called Puritans because of their separation from the official Church of England and because they wanted to follow the purity of the word of God.  The Puritans were in strong opposition of human traditions and constitutions.  They arrived with the vision of establishing a society that would follow biblically based principles.  In 1702, Cotton Mather published Magnalia Christi Americana (The Great Achievement of Christ in America).  It is the most detailed historical record written of the first 50 years of the New England, it declares the following:

«I write the wonders of the Christian religion, flying from the depravations of Europe, to the American strand: and, assisted by the Holy Author of that religion, I do, with all conscious of truth, required therein by Him, who is the Truth itself, report the wonderful displays of His infinite power, wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness, wherewith his Divine Providence hath irradiated an Indian wilderness.» (Mather, Cotton, 1702, Magnalia Christi Americana, pp. 319-320).

The sum of the matter is that from the beginning of the Reformation in the English nation, there had always been a generation of godly men, desirous to pursue the reformation of religion, according to the Word of God…[though resisted by individuals with] power… in their hands… not only to stop the progress of the desired reformation but also, with innumerable vexation, to persecute those that hardly wish well into it…[The Puritans were] driven to seek a place for the exercise of though Protestant religion, according to the lights of conscious, in the deserts of America.» (Mather, Cotton, 1702, Magnalia Christi Americana, 2 vols. (Edinburgh,: The Banner of  Truth Trust,1702, 1979), 1:26, Gary DeMar, American’s Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 47). 

Those who affirm that the church should not be involved in civil government issues are choosing to ignore the enormous influence of the church in the establishment of this nation.  Since the arrival of the first Christians to these shores, to the formulation of the Constitution, this nation was founded upon the biblical faith of Christianity.  Many pastors and clergy played a very important role before, during, and after the American Revolution.  To illustrate this let us mention one of the leaders of the church, John Witherspoon:

«John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794), was an American Revolutionary patriot and clergyman.  Born in Scotland, being a descendant of John Knox on his mother’s side, John Witherspoon’s influence as an educator was widely felt in America.  He designed the Declaration of Independence and was a member of the Continental Congress.  He was a primary proponent of separation of powers insisting on inclusions to check and balance the power of government.  He served on over 120 Congressional committees, including: The Board of War, the committee on Secret Correspondence, or Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Clothing for the Army.

As president of Princeton University, 1768-94, he graduated 478 students, who directly shaped America, including: James Madison, who served eight years as Secretary of State and eight years as U.S. President; Aaron Burr, Jr., who was a U.S. Vice President; three U.S. Supreme Court justices; 10 Cabinet members; 13 state governors; 21 U.S. senators; 39 U.S. representatives; and 114 ministers.

Through his students, John Witherspoon’s views were reflected in our Constitution, as 9 (one-sixth) of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention were graduates of Princeton University: Gunning Bedford, Jr. of Delaware; David Brearley of New Jersey; William Richardson Davie of North Carolina; Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey; William Churchill Houston of New Jersey; James Madison of Virginia; Alexander Martin of North Carolina; Luther Martin of Maryland; and William Paterson of New Jersey.   

To be continued…