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    I Did Not Relinquish My Citizenship When I Became A Pastor

    Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    One of the great fallacies in America today is the assumption that because one is involved in church ministry he is disqualified from being involved in political affairs. This is totally contrary to the values and principles that made this nation great.

    If one will read American history, he or she will discover that pastors and religious leaders had as much to do with fighting The War for Independence and bringing into existence this great republic as did the political figures of that day. Furthermore, most of the political figures in Colonial America were Christians.

    For example, fifty of the fifty-five men who signed the Declaration of Independence were faithful members of organized Christian churches. They were not atheists, agnostics, or Deists. They were not people that omitted God from their lives. They were not people to whom matters of faith were foreign. America's Founding Fathers were, on the whole, deeply religious. They were committed Christian men who believed in God and His Word.

    In fact, we would not have the Bill of Rights today if it was not for a Baptist pastor by the name of John Leland. In addition, Lutheran pastor, John Peter Muhlenberg, Presbyterian pastor, John Witherspoon, and countless other Christian ministers were very influential in America's founding.

    Frankly, I am a little weary of pastors and Christians who, under the myth of "separation of church and state," have allowed themselves to be removed from civic involvement. By doing this, they have allowed secularists, humanists, and others to expunge Christian influence from our society.

    As I'm sure many readers know, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not found in any founding document of this country. That phrase was taken from a personal letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut.

    The Danbury Baptists were concerned that the new U.S. Constitution might allow governmental intrusion into the private affairs of the church. And, as it was religious persecution that initially precipitated the flight of many Europeans to these shores, they certainly did not intend to go through that again. Therefore, they wrote President Thomas Jefferson inquiring of him what safeguards churches could expect regarding federal encroachments upon their liberties.

    Jefferson wrote back a personal letter and said to them, (paraphrase) "You don't have to worry about the federal government intruding into the affairs of the church, because the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights puts a fence around the federal government which prohibits it from interfering with the affairs of the church." This was the spirit of Jefferson's "separation of church and state" letter.

    It was not until 1962 and '63 that the United States Supreme Court reversed some 300 years of American history and legal jurisprudence by changing the accepted definition of the First Amendment from that of prohibiting the federal government from interfering with the affairs of the church to prohibiting individuals from exercising their religious freedoms. To do this, they took Jefferson's "separation of church and state" wording completely out of context and totally misapplied it. Since then, the misinterpreted "separation of church and state" has been used to thoroughly purge God and Christianity from America's public life.

    Since those egregiously unconstitutional and un-American Supreme Court decisions in 1962 and '63, Christian influence upon civil government has all but disappeared in this country. So great has been this deception that we now hear people say that Christians (especially ministers) should not be involved in politics in any shape, manner, or form.

    Yet, the truth is, I did not relinquish my citizenship when I became a pastor. Neither did any other American surrender his or her citizenship when he or she became a Christian. Just the opposite is true.

    In order for America to regain its religious liberty, it is mandatory that Christians everywhere get involved in the political affairs of their country. We must stop surrendering our God-given liberties to would-be tyrants! Pastors and other Christian leaders who are actively engaged in the civil affairs of our country serve in the finest tradition of America. Stop apologizing for it!

    As Daniel Webster so eloquently said, "I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's, and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American."

    Christians are Americans, too; they need to start acting like it!

    © Chuck Baldwin

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