A commonly held modern belief is that government should not only be free from religious influence, it is dangerous and harmful to society for the two to commingle. In reality, the impact of religion on government has had an effect that is the complete opposite of this belief. Religion, specifically Christianity, has successfully guided this country in the past and is absolutely essential for the future.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, in this full-length sermon, addresses the question of whether or not God and state must be separate. He explains that the world has completely distorted the meaning of the Constitution’s First Amendment. Separation of church and state has wrongly come to mean that any source of religious influence or motivation should be removed from politics. However, what many people do not realize is that the original purpose of the First Amendment was to protect the church from the government, not the other way around.
Dr. Kennedy cites the original clause in the Constitution which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....” Note that the clause specifically addresses Congress and not the people whose lives are shaped by their religious beliefs.
What does this mean for society today? It means that to ask Christians to dismiss their religious convictions when it comes to political matters is an infringement on their religious expression. If the identity of a Christian is found in Christ, asking them to abandon their faith is asking them to abandon their identity. Since the government is “of the people,” any attempts to eliminate religious bias would also mean eliminating people with religious faith from the institution of government which would be in and of itself unconstitutional.
Some of the people who have had the most significant impact on the United States—George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and others— were convinced that religious principles would steer America right. It is the principles of the Christian faith that have given America strength to stand on its own and to become “a light to the nations.” The question remains, will our nation now abandon that distinctive foundation?