The Separation of Christian Faith and Public Office

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

Few things seem to exasperate the mainstream media more today than when someone in public office boldly professes faith in Christ and allegiance to God's Word. And it's not just the media. A lot of Democrats and Republicans also seem uneasy with outspoken Christians among their ranks. How crazy is that? After all that the Bible and Jesus Christ have meant to the freedom of our nation! Thank the Lord that you are not living in Iran or North Korea. Look what can happen to a nation whose leaders have no clue about the truth of the Bible and no faith in the promises of the Savior.

John F. Kennedy said he "believed in an America where separation of church and state is absolute." There was nothing new in that statement. The two always have been separate in America. I don't know anyone who thinks church and state should be united, or that one should be in charge of the other. Unfortunately, the "church and state" mantra often just becomes a smoke screen to push for what I would call "the separation of Christian faith and public office." Talk about clueless! It is that sort of spiritual confusion and wickedness that led to slavery in our nation years ago, and more recently to the legalization of killing unborn children. Jesus sanctioned neither one of those abuses.

The freedoms we enjoy as a nation come directly from Almighty God. Is our government executing people because they do not follow a particular religion? Of course not. Without Jesus in our hearts, our nation could easily become just as cruel as those nations that persecute people for their faith. For now, the cruelty has been reserved for those innocent ones in the womb who cannot defend themselves. Abortion is just as evil as the execution of a Christian for his faith.

America has been mightily blessed by God for centuries. Did our early American Presidents believe in the separation of Christian faith and public office? Heaven's no!

George Washington was our first U.S. President, and he wrote, "To the distinguished character of a Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." (The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.)

John Adams was our second U.S. President and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote, "Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God...What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be." (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.)

James Madison was our fourth U.S. President, and he said, "Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ." (America's Providential History, p. 93.) The elite establishment today would have eaten him alive for saying such a thing! Our fourth President said it because it is true.

John Quincy Adams was our sixth U.S. President, and he said, "The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible."

Andrew Jackson was our seventh U.S. President, and he said, "Go to the Scriptures...the joyful promises it contains will be a balsam to all your troubles."

Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth U.S. President, and he said, "All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book; but for the Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it."

Woodrow Wilson was our twenty-eighth U.S. President, and he said, "The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and need of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation."

Calvin Coolidge was our thirtieth U.S. President, and he said, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."

Ronald Reagan was our fortieth U.S. President, and he said, "Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible."

Hundreds of similar examples could be given. Those Presidents were not perfect in gaining wisdom and applying justice, but they understood what must be done in order for a nation to be blessed by God. If those Presidents and other politicians in their day had separated their Christian faith from their public office, we might not be living in a free country today. There is only One Lord and He created man and the universe. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." (Psalm 33:12)

There is not one respected Christian leader in America today who wants to remove the separation of church and state. At the same time, they don't allow this separation to intimidate them from publicly professing their faith in Christ and their love for God's Word. Of course there is a separation of church and state, and rightly so. But that does not mean American Presidents and others in public office must place political correctness above the values and the Book so many of our Presidents have revered and followed.

Some Republicans and Democrats criticize political candidates who talk about faith as much as they talk about the economy. What a travesty to criticize such courageous leaders! Those critics either don't know our nation's spiritual history, or they don't care about how God has provided our freedoms. Americans deserve to know the core values of those running for public office. Many Presidents in our history have not been hesitant to share their spiritual convictions in addition to their agenda for the nation. If the morality of a nation had no bearing on its well-being, perhaps there would be no need for Christian politicians to advance the cause of righteousness in our land. But morality does matter, and it matters a lot.

Remember the famous political slogan 20 years ago, "It's the economy stupid!" Imagine God in heaven saying to those who arrogantly reject Him and His Word, "It's biblical morality stupid!" The morality of a nation will protect it from without, or destroy it from within. It is foolish to think that wise economic decisions will be made when a nation is promoting immorality. Those who flaunt their sins (debts) before God end up being destroyed by their debts of immorality and overspending. Blindness in the first area produces blindness in the second. All the while, a man who is spiritually blind is pursuing his course in self-reliant arrogance. "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no god.'" (Psalm 14:1)

We have had many people in public office throughout the history of our nation who knew you cannot sustain economic stability if you discard biblical morality like a dirty rag. They were wise enough to see that economic stability flows from biblical morality. Many politicians in America today do not seem to understand that fundamental reality. They continue to oppose those who are vocal about their Christian faith and values. These elites seem embarrassed when Christians bring their faith into the public square.

Rick Santorum was recently ridiculed merely because he said some things years ago about the reality of Satan. He dared to speak publicly about the evil one. That is a quick way to be labeled a "lunatic" by the elites. How dare he step outside of the box that the elites have created for Christians in the public square? In order for the evil one to begin to control a nation, he must be successful at getting people to separate Christian faith from public life and public office. He will use anything at his disposal to get people to "keep God in church" and not bring Him into their daily lives...or their public statements...or their public office.

If you don't believe that Satan is a literal being, then you probably won't believe the rest of the Bible literally either. That goes for the cross and the resurrection of Christ and all the essential teachings of Scripture. Satan shows up early in Genesis, and gets his eternal punishment late in Revelation. He is talked about in many places of Scripture. God and Satan exist. Good and evil exist. God created Satan, who then chose to rebel. God won. Satan lost. Jesus won the victory at the cross. (see Colossians 2:15) But Christians are not supposed to talk about it outside of church? Hmm. Who do you suppose is leading that crusade to keep this message under wraps?

This is why folks like Tim Tebow in the sports world and Rick Santorum in the political realm will always get plenty of criticism when they talk about Jesus or the Bible. The moral to this story: Don't speak outside of church about the Lord and biblical values unless you are willing to come under such attacks. "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12) Some of our Presidents were applauded in their day for making statements that would get a politician crucified by the elite establishment today.

Jesus was literally crucified by the elite establishment of His day. He made the choice to suffer for us because He loved us and wanted to save us. When Christians who love our nation and its citizens step into the political arena in America today, they too must choose between being politically correct or being crucified by the establishment. No man can serve both Christ and political correctness. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.

Jesus didn't say, "Come follow me.....unless you happen to serve in public that case, I guess I don't mind if you are rather 'hush hush' regarding your allegiance to me and my Word." Jesus would be undermining His own message if He were to encourage the separation of Christian faith and public office.

At the end of the day, no one ever said it would be easy to serve Christ in a culture that is dominated by political correctness and the elite establishment. There is a battle going on in the public square and in the invisible spiritual world of angels and demons. The good angels serve their victorious Master. The demons serve their defeated master. Most of the elites are blind to that world. They are even ashamed to have it mentioned in public by anyone other than a religious leader. They view such statements as being "beneath them" and their level of sophistication.

Just like the establishment in the days of Christ, the elites today have a reputation to uphold in the eyes of man. They simply have no tolerance in their hearts for anyone to proclaim Christian faith and biblical values while in public office. The kingdom of God is seen as acceptable for people to celebrate in church, but not out in "the real world" where it begins to interfere with man's kingdom and his personal choices of right and wrong. That is taking it a step too far. After all, "we have the separation of church and state to uphold." Yeah right. I got it.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.