HIJACKING THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE
By Doug Tjaden
March 2, 2014
Today we live with Alice in Wonderland, where up is down, and down is up, and little in the world makes logical sense. Nowhere is this more evident than the twisted logic used by progressives to literally hijack the “establishment clause” in the 1st Amendment, and then use it to establish a religion of their own.
The clause is very straight forward:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
In order to understand its original meaning, we must know the definitions of the key words as they were used during the time period when the Constitution was written. The most accurate source we have for these definitions is Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It defines several of the key words in the clause as follows:
1. Participle present tense Regarding; having regard to; relating to.
Establishment (as in, “to establish”):
To set and fix firmly or unalterably; to settle permanently.
2. To found permanently; to erect and fix or settle; as, to establish a colony or an empire.
3. To enact or decree by authority and for permanence; to ordain; to appoint; as, to establish laws, regulations, institutions, rules, ordinances, etc.
4. To settle or fix; to confirm; as, to establish a person, society or corporation, in possessions or privileges.
Religion in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being
and perfections of God.
2. Religion as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law.
3. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of Christians; any religion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers.
By these definitions, there is absolutely no logical argument that can be made that the Federal Government ever has nor is currently engaged in specifically, permanently, and firmly erecting laws, regulations, institutions, rules, or ordinances to “establish” a religion as this nation’s official religion. A rational mind cannot even conceive that, understood as originally intended,this clause has ever been violated by the Federal Government.
Yet, the progressives today have successfully hijacked the clause through their propaganda and the public education system. They have redefined it to mean, “No governmental agency or property shall in any way reference religion, Christianity in particular.” This is the new operative definition of the “establishment clause,” and progressives are feverishly using it to drive out any reference to the Christian religion from anything considered “public.”
There’s only one problem. There are no laws establishing Christianity as our nation’s religion. That is why the battle is not being fought in Congress. There is no legislation to overturn. Instead, progressives, led by the ACLU and atheist organizations, have strategically moved the battle to the courts.
These judges have no laws to cite that are unconstitutional. Instead they cite the “establishment clause” which has been killed, redefined, and resurrected as their straw man. Wikipedia’s definition of a straw man includes this insightful observation:
“To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.”
The arguments used in today’s courts citing the “establishment clause” should be laughed right out of the courtroom. Unfortunately, the public is ignorant of the original argument, and the judges who the cases are argued before are in support of the agenda. Thus, the prosecution and judges easily knock over the new straw man. As a result, life in the United States is being radically transformed.
Filling the Void
Every society adopts a core belief system that determines how people interact with one another, and the standards of morality they collectively practice. The United States’ underlying constructs were derived from Judeo/Christian principles. As they are removed, they must be replaced by something.
In a hypocritical twist common to progressives, they are using their distorted definition of the establishment clause to actually establish a “religion” of their own. They have exempted the belief system of secular humanism from being defined as a “religion.” This removes all restrictions from using the force of law to enact or rescind laws in order to create a moral and social vacuum that only their religion can fill.
Webster’s definition of “religion” includes a “belief of a superior power, or powers governing the world.” In the progressive’s case, the religion of secular humanism places the state as the superior power to govern the world. The ruling elite are its “gods.” Their superior human reason is the means by which society is ordered.
There is great danger in such a belief system. Never in the course of human history has such a “religion” succeeded in governing its citizens without bloody oppression. In a recent event at the University of Pennsylvania, a student asked renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, the following question:
“Why are you so afraid of subjective moral reasoning?”
It goes to the heart of the appeal to allow the secular humanist religion to govern mankind. They truly believe that, left to his own devices, man can and will order society to peacefully benefit all. Dr. Zacharias’ response is classic.
“Do you lock your doors at night?”
That simple question laid the groundwork for his point. He reminded the young man of the bloody atrocities committed by secular China during the Red Guard’s Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion. He reminded him that secular China and Russia killed 60 million people a piece during the 20th century. He then stated, “When subjective morality becomes totally subjectivized, this [bloody oppression] is what happens in society.”
Progressives who subscribe to the secular humanist religion must be approached with truth, reason, and the undeniable evidence of history. Christians should not be cowered by their tactics, one of which is the increasingly aggressive push to have us all bow to the homosexual agenda. While many may disagree on how to deal with issue of homosexuality, their agenda is being used as the tip of the spear to set the legal and societal precedents that undermine our society’s Judeo/Christian foundation.
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Progressives have twisted the establishment clause, creating an environment where they use the clause as a pretense to do exactly what it was meant to prevent – in this case, establishing a state mandated religion of secular humanism. The longer the Christian community waits to confront this, the more deeply their religion will become entrenched. If we do not stop secular humanism from becoming the established religion, it will only be a matter of time – decades maybe – before our nation experiences a fate similar to that of past secular governments. That is not something we want our children and grandchildren to face.
Help remove the scales from the eyes of your Christian friends and family. Share the news and sources you read. Gently, but persistently engage in conversations with them. Network with others who are like-minded, not only for support, but for ideas on how to get involved. Finally, do not shrink back from taking the progressives to task. Exposing hypocrisy is one of the most effective ways to shine light on the gathering darkness, and to defeat it.
© 2014 Doug Tjaden - All Rights Reserved
Doug Tjaden is founder and Executive Director of the Christian Liberty Project. He is the author of “Fool’s Gold - How The Traditions of Men Have Replaced God’s Honest Money”, and is a regular speaker for the Tenth Amendment Center’s Nullify Now! tour. Doug also co-hosts the second hour of The Gun Show, with Matt Canovi, on KSGF, in Springfield, Missouri.
Doug spends his time and energy fighting to re-establish honest money through state led initiatives, and to awaken and engage the Christian community to fight for our spiritual, civil, and economic liberty. He regularly blogs at dougtjaden.com.