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Secular government?

The Myth of a Secular Government

Wes Moore

In part one of this two-part article series, Idemonstrated that Thomas Jefferson’s famous words regarding “separation betweenchurch and state” referred not to a complete purging of Christianity’sinfluence from public life, but his conviction that the federal government hadno power to interfere between individual states and churches in matters ofreligion.

In support of this, I quoted the entire letter in which thisfamous phrase appears, reviewed the context in which his words were originallywritten, and noted Jefferson’s own religious accomplishments as a member ofboth the state and federal governments.

Furthermore, I established that far from desiring toeliminate the “evils” of religion, the Founders believed religion, particularlythe Christian faith, to be critical in crafting and sustaining a prosperousgovernment and people.


What makes America great?

As I begin this second article, let me first argue that thethings that have made America great—individual freedom (including economicfreedom), the rule of just law, work ethic, morality, mercy, personalresponsibility, and humility before God (among others)—are a direct result ofthe influence of Christianity and the Bible upon the nation.

Let me be clear, I am not arguing that every person in earlyAmerica was a committed Christian, or that all of the Founders were (thoughmany from both groups were passionate followers of Jesus). What I am saying isthat the influence of the Bible and its principles was so pervasive in earlyAmerican culture that those who were not devoutly Christian thought and actedin accordance with those principles without even knowing it.

Consequently, as we move further and further away from thosesame principles, we deteriorate our own greatness. America cannot continue tobe great, as it has been in the past, without adherence to the principles ofits early design, principles that are undeniably Christian.


Is a “secular” government even possible?

One of the reasons put forth for the current interpretationof the separation of church and state is that it creates a religiously neutralgovernment where all religions can operate freely. This argument is even heldby some in the Christian community.

But this is a terrible fallacy. Every law enacted,policy established, or action taken by a government—federal, state, or local—isbased upon a worldview, a set of beliefs about truth, right and wrong, and,ultimately, accountability (or lack thereof) to a deity.

A worldview thus defined, whether it formally espouses a godor not, is for all practical purposes a religion. Therefore, separatingChristianity from government does not make the government neutral on issues offaith; quite to the contrary, it creates a religious vacuum in which otherfaith systems fight to dominate.

The problem is that every religion is not equal in terms ofits ability to produce a fruitful, prosperous nation. Why? Because they are notall based on the Creator’s design for human conduct, society, and law, a designcontained in the Bible alone.

I remember hearing a sermon on Islam from the late RonCarlson. He recounted the time he spoke at Duke University on the radical anddangerous nature of Muhammad’s religion. As he walked onto the stage, a groupof students on the front row yelled at him, “Islam is a religion of peace. It’sa beautiful religion.” To these liberal-media-inspired charges, Carlsonreplied, “If Islam is such a great religion, where are the lines of peoplewaiting to get into Egypt, Syria, and Iran?”

His point was simple: Islam does not produce a culture inwhich people want to live. Countless millions have sacrificed life and limb toget into the United States. Why? Because it is a prosperous, fair, and wealthynation. America, like Egypt, Syria, and Iran, was also built on a worldview, aworldview taken, not from the Koran, but from the Bible.


Another Religion Must Now Take Christianity’s Place

As the popular view of the separation of church and statetakes hold (namely that Christianity should be eliminated from governmentaltogether), America, whether it realizes it or not, must now choose some otherworldview to take its place, none of which can produce or sustain the greatnation we know and love.

Here are the options vying for adoption:

   Atheism: In this worldview, there is nostandard at all. No God, no accountability, only survival of the fittest. Dowhatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. What kinds of laws wouldbe passed if this godless view became the prevailing view in government?

   Hinduism: Hinduism teaches that pain,suffering, and evil are only an illusion. Furthermore, all animals are asvaluable as human beings and, therefore, and cannot be used for food. The NewAge movement, so popular in Hollywood today, is heavily influenced by thisancient religion. What does foreign policy look like when there are no evilnations? What does healthcare look like when suffering is an illusion? Whathappens to food production when cows are deemed holy?

   Islam: Sha’ria Law and the Koran produce theMiddle East. They teach polygamy (because Muhammad was a polygamist), theoppression women, and the forced subjugation of all unbelievers. What would ourland look like if this system of thought were to take hold?

   Liberalism: This worldview is actually allabout morality, not a biblical morality, but a perverse, man-centered morality.In this view, freedom has no restrictions (sexual or otherwise), work has noreal value, god is whatever you want to make him (so long as you don’t make himGod), and America is the great tyrant and bully of the world.

   Secularism: The American government is actuallysecular now. This worldview tries not to have a worldview at all, but has onenonetheless. Secularism in America takes liberalism and combines it with partsof the other worldviews it approves (all the while expressly excludingChristianity). What kind of good for the land has that worldview produced?School shootings, abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, socialism, massivedebt, destruction of the family, and corruption.

Why don’t secularists accept the truth about America?

If America is great because of Christianity and the Bible,why do so many reject this truth? Let me explain why.

In September of 2009 I had the opportunity to attend aluncheon with Kirk Cameron. As providence would have it, he sat at my table andtalked about his upcoming new film Monumental.

I remember how passionate he was about the film. His soulcaught fire when he talked about how important it was to educate Americans onthe biblical roots of our nation. I agree with him completely, and totallysupport the work he’s doing with his film. I am so glad he’s out therefighting! Praise the Lord for his faithful service.

At lunch that day I ran a scenario by him that really gothis attention, and I’ll run that same scenario by you now. Let’s say it’sunavoidable that America has Christian roots, and that those roots are thefoundational cause of our greatness. Let’s say that you make that case to everyliberal and secularist you can find, and your arguments are so strong they haveno choice but to concede your point. What will happen then?

Do you think these folks are going to change their minds onthe spot and immediately submit to biblical principles? Will they drop theirswords at your feet and reject abortion, homosexuality, socialism, and everyother unbiblical value they hold?

Absolutely not.

Why? Because, in the end, they don’t care! It doesn’tmatter to them in the slightest that America has Christian roots. If you proveto them that it does, they’ll reject it anyway because they hate the Godof the Bible. They vigorously reject his rules, his salvation, and hisauthority over them.

In fact, they hate him so much, they’ll change theConstitution, laws, judges, elected officials—whatever it takes—to get anAmerica that is the opposite of the nation his Word helped found.

They don’t want the America the Founders designed, the onethat produced the amazing nation we have today. They hate the historicalAmerica, and they’ll fight to the bitter end to reform it into the liberal,secular version they desire.


The Underlying Cause and Solution

The underlying cause of the popularity of secularism inAmerica is the collapse of the Protestant, evangelical church. The DanburyBaptists (whose letter prompted Jefferson’s famous phrase), and the rest of thebiblical Christian community, have not done enough to maintain our influenceover the convictions and ideas that held sway during Jefferson’s time.

We have lost the battle to maintain the Bible’s place ofauthority in the moral, legal, economic, scientific, and spiritual spheres ofAmerican culture. To put a fine point on it, we have lost the soul of thecountry by failing to secure the souls of its citizens with thegospel.

The ultimate solution, therefore, is not political, butspiritual. It is rooted in a return to the proclamation of the gospel, thedefense of the truths of the Bible, and the revitalization of biblical churchesthroughout the nation.

When the heart changes, the worldview changes—views onabortion, marriage, economics, family, and virtually everything else. But lawscannot change the heart, only the gospel can.

We must do these things—promote the gospel, revive thechurches, defend the Bible—not for the sake of political change or “remaking”America alone (though we want this), but because our first duty as biblicalChristians is to extend the kingdom of God, regardless of the fate of theparticular nation in which we live.



America is great because of the influence of Christianity onits founding. While many believe a “secular” government would better serve thecountry, a secular government isn’t actually possible. Every governmentespouses a worldview, a religion, that drives its decision making.

The secular government dominate in America today is acombination of liberalism and a host of other worldviews, and has underminedour greatness, morally and economically. In the end, secularists don’t careabout the history of America; they care about creating the America they want,regardless of whether that iteration is as successful as the previous one ornot.

The ultimate solution to the degradation of America is notpolitical. The key to the revival of the nation is the revival of biblicalchurches and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, my fellow American and fellow believer, I ask you: Whatare you doing to revive these?


WesMoore is a conservative Christian author and speaker, and the founder ofEvidence America, an apologetics and evangelism training ministry. Wes is theauthor of Forcefully Advancing, a book designed to equip the averageChristian to engage the lost; The Maker, a futuristic apologetics novel;and The Spiritual Top 50, a non-fiction apologetics book designed to helpChristians answer the questions their lost friends are asking.  You canlearn more about him