Sam Rohrer: Well, when I say the following phrases, “church versus state” or “religious versus secular” or “traditional versus contemporary” or “the French Revolution versus the American Revolution” or “traditional versus secular” what comes to your mind? Well, my guess is if I’d have a few listeners right now calling in and saying, I’d think some of you probably would say, “Well, you know, what they all do is they include comparisons and contrasts between two distinctively different but yet related things.”
Sam Rohrer: Or you could say that they are areas of significant controversy and that would all be true too. Or you may accurately say, “Well, these are all areas where the role and the view of God is either prominent or rejected. Well, today on Stand In The Gap today, we’re going to start with the current unrest and the rebellion in the streets of France and the unrest in Great Britain because they are headline news, but we’re going to use them as a launch pad into the discussion we’re talking about today relative to the American culture.
Sam Rohrer: Our general theme for the day is comparing the traditional versus the secular. I’m Sam Rohrer and I’m joined today by Dr. Gary Dull and our recurring guest every other Wednesday on this program, constitutional attorney and author and speaker, David New. I hope that you’ll stay with us today as I believe the program will not only be very interesting, but hopefully instructive and informative as we increasingly find ourselves, as Christians and patriotic American citizens, having to defend what’s been historically normal and accepted in the face of an American culture that seems to want to be far more like historic France, perhaps, than a historic America.
Sam Rohrer: We’re going to talk about religion and its influence on law and public policy, whether it should be there and have any influence or not. We’re going to talk about God and government and whether it’s right to have God and the word of God in our various state constitutions. And we’re going to conclude with a consideration of whether there should be exemptions from the law for matters of conscience. Okay? All these things are very relevant. They’re all going to be covered today here on Stand In The Gap today. And with that, I want to welcome you. David, Thanks for being with us today. We’re anxious to get going. How are you today?
David New: Well, blessings to you. So nice to be with you.
Sam Rohrer: Good to have you with us here, David. Let me go right into this. I talked about this theme, comparing the traditional to the secular, and I said we’re going to go to France. I want to go there because we’re all watching the riots and the protests in France and as well as the Brexit controversy in the UK and the collapse of the Theresa May coalition there and the history on both of these. The end result, we don’t yet know. They’re in process, but to me when I look at particularly France, it’s almost as if we are watching something from history being repeated because in that nation, revolution after revolution is what they’ve had.
Sam Rohrer: They’ve had constitution after constitution. I did a lot of homework and found that the one that’s currently in use in France as an example, was adopted in 1958 being driven by then Charles de Gaulle, but it replaced a previous constitution adopted just 12 years earlier in 1946. And even the current constitution there in France has been amended 24 times since that time in 1958. But the pattern goes all the way back to the French Revolution, in my opinion, and it stands in contrast, that revolution, to the US war for independence and our very same constitution which we’ve had now, with only minor changes really, for a much longer time.
Sam Rohrer: So Dave, I want you to start right here. Draw a contrast between the French experience in their nation and the American experience as we start today’s program comparing the traditional versus the secular.
David New: Well, the French Revolution of 1789 was very, very different from the American Revolution. And one of the big differences was that the French Revolution was extremely radical. Ours was actually a conservative revolution because we were upholding the rule of law. The French Revolution was destroying the old social order, and the French Revolution always has been the model. It was the model for the Bolshevik Revolution and all totalitarian revolutions from then on.
David New: And one of the things the French Revolution went after big time was religion. Religion was attacked severely. There were more than 400 priests that were executed in Paris alone during the Reign of Terror. They basically changed the Christian calendar, they changed the number of days in the weeks, they changed the number of months in the year to do anything to avoid the Christian calendar.
David New: The Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, good old Joe, he did the same thing. He tried to undo the Christian calendar and it wasn’t until just shortly before World War II started that he gave in and went back to the original Christian calendar, the one that we use, the Gregorian calendar, because nobody knew when things were supposed to happen. He went to a five-day week, and then he tried to, then the French, then they went to a 10-day week and they were trying to do everything to avoid the seven-day week because of Genesis one and two.
Sam Rohrer: Interesting, David. Gary, let me go to you right now because David has touched on some things that these elements are going to be developed further into the program today. I know as we unfold this, he’s talking about God, he’s talking about changing times. He’s talking about extensive change and rebellion and upheaval that marks that country.
Sam Rohrer: Gary, we all have heard the name Alexis de Tocqueville. He was the French historian who came to America and he went around in order to evaluate why it was that the American war for independence ended so differently, and as David said, it was a much more peaceful revolution rather than in France. And he came to some conclusions. Gary, refresh our historical knowledge here of what Alex de Tocqueville said about why it was so different here in the United States.
Gary Dull: Well, he was very curious as to why we were the way we are or were in the United States of America back in those particular days. And he sought all over the country to try to figure out why it is we are what we are or what we were at that time. And basically, he came to the conclusion that the reason why the United States of America, which was to become the United States of America as we know it today, was so great, was simply because of the strain to the pulpits, that pastors were preaching the word of God and that word of God was being applied to the formation of our nation by those who were leading us in that day. And I think that that’s the big difference between what we saw in our revolution versus what was taking place in the French revolutions down through the time.
Sam Rohrer: Gary, he said the actual words were, “Until I went into the pulpits of America and saw them flame with the preaching of righteousness that I finally understand that distinctive difference.”
Sam Rohrer: Well, welcome back to Stand In The Gap. We’re talking today, our theme, comparing the traditional versus the secular. Our sub focus right now in this segment is religion and its influence on the law. You know, in our contemporary culture, religion is defined as, and I pulled this definition from my smart phone where I just said, “Siri, give me the definition of religion.” All right? That’s where it comes from, but this is what it said. “The belief in and worship of a super human controlling power, especially a personal God,” it was capitalized, “Or gods,” small G.
Sam Rohrer: That’s interesting. That’s the current definition. The emphasis you can see is on “super human” and went on to say a particular system of faith and worship, but not any difference whether it’s little gods, anything, or God with a capital G. Now, this stands in contrast to the definition of religion as framed and defined by Webster during the early days of our nation.
Sam Rohrer: Now, here’s how the culture then defined religion, and listen to this contrast. Religion defined then, and this was in Webster’s 1829 form of dictionary said this, “Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of,” capital G, “God. In the revelation of his or God’s will to man and man’s obligation to obey God’s commands in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountability to God.”
Sam Rohrer: Goes on to say part of the definition, “And also true godliness or piety of life with the practice of all moral duties.” Going on is continuing to say, “It therefore comprehends theology as a system of doctrines or principals as well as practical piety. And get this final part of the definition. It says, “Because the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine law giver and without reference to his will or commands is not religion.”
Sam Rohrer: Now, that’s an extraordinary distinction here, so the view of religion, the working definition of religion and its relationship to our culture, to our law, and to public policy earlier in our nation compared to now is totally different. David, I want to go to you. What influence should religion, which is our view of God, have on law and public policy? As we evaluate this piece here today in this discussion on religion’s influence in the law, within the context of comparing traditional to secular, give us the constitutional and historical perspective of this matter of religion and its influence on law and public policy. It’s a big issue.
David New: Yes, it is. There is a profound difference. The traditional definition of the separation of church and state, this is the one that we had starting in 1789 or 1787 and even before with the new constitutions were being written in 1776. And that continued up until 1940 when the secular definition of the separation of church and state began to replace it. Under the old system, the system that I support, religion influences the law. And you see it in the laws of the 18th and 19th century America. Religion is everywhere influencing the law, what we call blue laws, Sunday laws, or Christian Sabbath laws.
David New: The law recognized the Christian Sabbath, which was a Sunday. Thomas Jefferson wrote a law to protect the Christian Sabbath. James Madison worked hard to get that bill passed for Jefferson and this is in 1779, and then James Madison later, for Jefferson, tried to get this Christian Sabbath law passed and he finally did. And then about eight or nine months later, he went to Philadelphia to write the US Constitution.
David New: And in the Sabbath Law that Jefferson wrote, nobody was allowed to work on Sunday except for the ordinary course of labor in the home and ministers were fined if they didn’t cease from their labors and did not perform their worship services on Sunday. The secular definition would never allow something like that. These people, the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they have a very, very intolerant attitude towards religion and believe religion and politics don’t mix.
Gary Dull: You know Dave, this is an interesting comparison and contrast between secular and traditional, and you’ve done a lot of study on this as it relates to not only legal matters, but also biblical matters and what’s going on in the world today. Why don’t you dig into this just a little bit deeper for us if you don’t mind and explain to our people the difference between the terms traditional and secular as it relates to what we have in our nation today and the influence that the church should have on our nation.
David New: The word “separation of church and state” does not appear in the constitution or the First Amendment or anywhere. It comes from a private letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote, but the idea of the separation of church and state is abundantly clear in the US Constitution. Article One, Two, and Three, Article One, the legislature of Congress, Article Two, the president, Article Three, the Supreme Court. You notice there is no role at all for the clergy of America in the governmental process in articles one, two, and three.
David New: That, by definition, is separating church and state. I’m sad to say that secularists have interpreted that to mean religion should have nothing to do with government, and that is not the view of Jefferson and the framers of our Constitution. Let’s take an example. Look at the 13th Amendment. That abolished slavery. That made slavery illegal in the United States, passed in 1865. That amendment exists for one reason. The single most important influence that made the 13th Amendment possible obviously was the Civil War itself.
David New: Initially, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, but it became about slavery after the Battle of Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation, but the thing that made that amendment possible to pass was the Christian religion. Of all the amendments in the Constitution, that is the one that is most directly influenced by Christianity because the abolitionists, from day one when the Constitution was created, were against slavery and they had been agitating to remove it because it is a sin. Politics and religion mixed from the very beginning of this country. The 13th Amendment is proof of it, and secularists who say that politics and religion don’t mix have not listened to the issue of slavery.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. So Dave, what you’re talking again, at the definition 1829 Webster, wasn’t all about God, man’s relationship to that God, God’s commands, man’s relationship to obeying those commands of that God, that’s religion as interpreted in that culture and undergirds everything that you’re talking about. The secular view of today says there is no God, therefore he has no control, therefore cut him out of government all together. So I’m going to sum that up now.
Sam Rohrer: Let me go back to an illustration. This is the headline piece of news I just saw this morning. There’s a church up in the Boston, Massachusetts area who, in the front yard of their church, have a Nativity scene. And in that Nativity scene you normally see the manger and the animals around and so forth, there is the baby Jesus. Unfortunately, there in the front of that church, which is “religion,” baby Jesus is not in a cradle as you would normally think him to be. He’s actually in a box in a cage. There’s a cage. They put Jesus in a cage.
Sam Rohrer: Now, the parishioners, some say this is a great thing because the demonstration by the pastor there was to show solidarity with those who want to keep open borders to the south. Others said, “Wait a minute. This is not what we ought to be doing.” So David, I want to ask you hear about that. Is that an example of proper religion trying to influence public policy in a legitimate way, or is it not and why isn’t it? I’d like to hear your opinion.
David New: Well, the interesting thing is as secularists, who under their definition of the separation of church and state. They believe that religion should not influence politics, but there is an exception. If you are a liberal religious personality, if you are an extreme leftist on the political spectrum and your religion and in your politics, then they don’t mind you. It’s the Gary Dulls and the Sams of the world that they don’t want to hear from.
David New: The difference between the traditional definition of the separation of church and state and the secular, the traditional says our rights come from God, the secular says no. The traditional says we get our rights from God, the secular is based upon Charles Darwin and says God is no longer needed. There is a new explanation for the existence of the universe and therefore we don’t need God at all. That’s the key difference and because of that difference, the traditional definition says religions should influence politics via sin, the 13th Amendment, the secular says religion has nothing to do with politics unless of course you’re a left winger.
Sam Rohrer: David, I think that’s a great example. And ladies and gentlemen, we’re not going to get into it right now, but some say you cannot legislate morality, which as part of our discussion, that’s all legislation is. The question is, whose morality? Whose world view?
_____________________________________________________________________________________Let’s go now into this next segment here. God in government. When comparing the traditional versus the secular and the changes it has had on American culture, our view of history, our view of morality, truth and the view of and the purpose for government and religion in society, it all boils down to one’s world view, which we talk about a lot here, and specifically one’s view of God.
Sam Rohrer: So in the early definition of religion, God was paramount. He was focused. He was the central piece of it. Not so today, but in the end, it is one’s view of God and God’s role in society and life, and God’s role in personal living that makes the difference. In the context of comparing traditional versus secular in this segment, we’re going to consider the aspect of God and government and how this fits within the comparison of traditional versus secular.
Sam Rohrer: Now, David New, I want to go back to you right now. You are working on a book and a lot of things that you’re sharing on when you’re with us or things that are a part of what you’re preparing in this book, but you’re entitling it The Separation of Church and State For Beginners. I think it’s a great title. One of the sections of that book, you’re dealing with the issue of God and government and you actually seek to answer the question of whether the word God is consistent with this contemporary secular thought, and if it is, should it be removed from our state constitutions?
Sam Rohrer: Good question. I’m going to ask you this. Is it possible to remove the word God from where it occurs in state constitutions and still keep our constitutions unique from those types of changing constitutions in France that they change every decade it seems? And can our freedoms intact if we were to go that far, Dave? So take and put that whole thing together because I think it’s very intriguing.
David New: Well again, the primary difference, the most important difference between the traditional and the secular definition of the church and state is that traditional says our rights come from God. Human rights, human freedoms come from God. The secular definition says no, they come from the state. How does that impact the constitutions of the United States? You go to the the 50 state constitutions, every one of them somewhere in that document refer to God.
David New: You go to the California constitution. In the preamble it says, “We the people of California, grateful to all mighty God for our freedoms,” and you can go to many of the other states. About the most popular word for God in the state constitutions is El Shaddai. Genesis 17:1, almighty God. Other states use different words. If secularists had their way, they would remove every word of God from the state constitutions. One of these things that these state constitutions do since they all refer to God, they prove the secular interpretation of the US constitution is wrong.
David New: Because according to these people, the framers of the constitution intentionally kept the word G-O-D out. They say that. There’s no evidence for it, but that’s what they say. Of course they ignore the word “our lord” in Article Seven of the US Constitution. But this interpretation cannot be correct because if that was correct, some state somewhere would have followed their example and kept God out of their state constitution. The fact that every state constitution includes the word God or some similar wording means that the radical interpretation of the US constitution is invalid.
Gary Dull: Dave, it’s interesting that you bring this up and I have a question regarding that, but one of the things that really concerns me today as well is how that even within the realm of Christianity, and I’m not talking about government now, I have a question on that in a second, but even within the realm of Christianity today, I find that there are people who like to make the distinction between secular and spiritual, if you know what I mean.
Gary Dull: I mean, I’m talking about Christians who seemingly have a dichotomy in their lives and they have their secular life and they have their spiritual life. And in reality, for those of us who are believers, it’s all spiritual. It’s all God and godly, or at least it should be. I don’t think that God is pleased if we say, “No, this is my secular part of life and I’m going to live it that way and this is my spiritual part of life and I’m going to live in that way.” And yet, I find as being a pastor for 45 years, that that is something that’s practiced so much by so many, maybe too many Christians.
Gary Dull: And you didn’t have to pay for that. I just put that out. Let me get back to the question here that I have for you. You know the phrase “separation of church and state” by those promoting this concept really means the separation of God from government. And how many times have we seen that in focus over the last years? To a large extent, this secular view has taken hold and seems to be prevailing more and more. How did this happen? How did we get here, and how can it be reversed, if at all?
David New: It started in 1940 when the federal government took control of religious freedom in the United States. Before 1940, the religion clauses in the First Amendment did not have jurisdiction over the states. That means the states had complete control. In 1940 in Cantwell versus Connecticut, the Supreme Court first applied the Free Exercise Clause to the states. Then in 1947, the Establishment Clause.
David New: Once that happened, the Supreme Court began establishing the new secularism. Now, if you live separate your secular life from your spiritual life, you have your spiritual life on Sunday and your secular life the other six days of the week. What that means is that you’re going to live like the devil on the other days when you’re not in church on Sunday. If you take the word God out of the state constitutions and even “our lord” from the US Constitution, you have dethroned God politically and you have exalted the state to the status of God in your system.
Sam Rohrer: Well David, what you’re saying, I think it’s very clear. If God is out of government, then summing up what you said, then of necessity, the rights enshrouded in the constitution came from man and can be changed or come from government and can be changed. If they come from God, they cannot be changed.
David New: They cannot be changed. Even if the government doesn’t recognize your rights, you still do not lose the right.
Sam Rohrer: See, that’s a critical point, which is what ladies and gentlemen, that phrase, “We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable unchanging God given rights.” That’s what that all means. That is a fundamental viewpoint, a biblical worldview, Judeo Christian worldview perspective. So we’re talking today traditional versus secular. It does come down 100 percent to one’s view of God, the Bible, absolute truth, morality, and it all walks together with that.
Sam Rohrer: So David, you have made it just really very, very clear here that to take God away, you have to change the definition that I read earlier where it says that everything starts with God and his commands, man’s relationship to God, the original definition of religion, and change it to the secular definition that says a little god, G, is equivalent to big God, G. The whole thing, ladies and gentlemen, wraps together around this. If we understand this basic principle, then we can make sense out a lot of the nonsense that we see around this.
Sam Rohrer: As we move now into our final segment in this very fast moving program today, we’re going to talk about the theme of conscious. Now, I’ll explain that in just a minute. One of the most significant legal and constitutional questions of recent years, in light of an increasingly secular culture, with a redefined definition of religion as we’ve talked about on this program, in a redefined view of God and his role to our rights, in his role in regard to truth, in his role in regard to government, the matter of conscience has come up and the protection of that under the First Amendment.
Sam Rohrer: Now, it raises a logical question. In light of an increasingly secular culture with the Supreme Court doing what David New talked about in the last segment in court rulings in 1940 and 1947 in particular, changing the role of God and government or law and public policy, it’s creating great controversy and it’s creating a lot of problems. The question is, under the protections of the First Amendment, which is still in the Constitution, are there because of that, exemptions that should in fact be built into the law for our citizens in regard to matters of conscience?
Sam Rohrer: Now, we’re going to conclude the program today on this subject. David, before you answer that specific question, whether or not it ought to be a matter of law and exemptions put into place, I want you just for the sake to make sure we are on the same page and defining the terms appropriately, define what we mean by matters of conscience and describe what that is before you get into deciding and detailing whether or not it ought to be done.
David New: Under the traditional definition of the separation of church and state, there is a religious exemption because of the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment. There is an exemption and it’s not an absolute exemption, but a religious exemption is available. For example, if somebody says, “I’m a Quaker, we don’t believe in war, and I’m a conscientious objector for religious reasons,” under the traditional definition, that will be allowed. That can happen. It’s not absolute, but they will make room for it.
David New: Under the secular definition of the separation of church and state, forget it. There are no religious exemptions whatsoever, and this is one of the reasons why secularists do not like the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment. They liked the Establishment Clause because the Supreme Court uses that to control people, but they don’t like the Free Exercise Clause. If they had their way, they would delete it. They do not believe, the secularists, they do not believe religious speech should be treated any differently than any other speech.
David New: Therefore, they believe religious speech should be protected under the Free Speech Clause. Drop the Free Exercise Clause and only treat religion like it’s any other speech, no preference. But the Free Exercise Clause gives a preference. In fact, it implicitly recognizes that men have a relationship with God.
David New: And that’s what Justice William O. Douglas, who voted against school prayer in 1962 said in his book, The Bible of the Schools, that the Free Exercise Clause recognizes that men have a relation to God, that this is tacit recognition that our regime, our government, is under God. And for that reason, they would take it out if they could and treat everything under the Free Speech Clause for religion, but that’s not the way the First Amendment was written.
Gary Dull: You talk about the fact that everything should be under God. I think that’s very significant, David, because the Bible has a lot to say about the conscience. And that should guide our conscience should be God and his word, and that will keep us focused on what God would want us to do. But having said that, should there be a range of exemption for matters of conscience? And if needed, why aren’t they already a matter of law in our country today or even in individual states?
David New: Yes. The religious conscious exemption exists and has existed from day one under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. So that means if a Christian says, “I don’t want to issue a marriage license to a homosexual couple,” so called gay marriage, so called same sex marriage, the government should make a way for that to happen to where that clerk doesn’t have to do it, that somebody else will do it. And that’s exactly what happened in that case with that lady. What was her name? Kim something.
David New: And so there are religious exemptions and there should be, but secularists, no way, Jose. They don’t want that going on. They don’t want religion having any kind of preference over any other type of speech or conduct.
Sam Rohrer: So David, again, we’re just about done here. Again, it brings us back to the concept, God is defined, moral truth is defined, our Constitution is defined, and it’s based on God’s definition of truth and law. So if you throw out God as the secularists want, you also of necessity will at some point totally jettison the entire Constitution and freedom as we know it, correct?
David New: Yes. Yes, absolutely. If you remove God, the foundation for the US Constitution is the Declaration of Independence.
Sam Rohrer: And in reality David, under the secular view that is emerging, that’s why we are seeing such an attack on the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
David New: They divorced the two completely, but the US Constitution combines them in Article Seven.
Sam Rohrer: Okay, it does. So ladies and gentlemen, let me make one application here, if I can, as we just wrap this up. The founders in Pennsylvania where I’m sitting right now and Gary is sitting, William Penn, he and other founders said that in this self governing republic, which we have, self government, one of the distinctives between us and the French Revolution at that point, we started the program with those thoughts there, self government in this nation hinges, they said, on the concept of both individuals, you and me, and those in government who make and enforce the law, that they submit themselves to the understanding of God and when it comes to law, the 10 Commandments of God.
Sam Rohrer: That’s why they were in our public school classrooms. That’s why they’re in our courtrooms. And if we throw out those 10 Commandments, you throw out the basis for moral law. You throw out God, you will throw out the 10 Commandments. You throw out both of them, ultimately, you will have an absolute destruction of self governing republic that we have and you will end up with the only alternative, and that’s a French Revolution type of a totalitarian form of government that so many around the world have. It’s that simple. These things we’re talking about, very simple, but very, very profound as well.