American Churches On the Wrong Side of History

American Churches On the Wrong Side of History

The Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage has sent a shockwave through the Christian community. Many are wondering how it came to be that a nation built on the freedom of religion is now forcing people of faith to choose between obeying the government and following their religious convictions. For an answer to that question they need not look further than their own churches.

For several decades, Christians have accepted the premise that politics has no place within the churches. Whether this is rooted in an extreme interpretation of the concept of the separation of church and state or pastors’ aversion to discussing controversial topics, it is a belief that would be unrecognizable to previous generations of Christians. In fact, it is a belief that places many modern churches and their congregations on the wrong side of history.

Last month the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta was celebrated throughout the English-speaking world. This document is rightfully seen as the seminal document of individual liberty, including that of a free church. What is nearly forgotten is that it would never have been possible without an archbishop named Stephen Langton and his monks in Canterbury. As historian Cyril Robinson would write, “Langston was a man of high courage and large ideas… He understood the barons’ grievances and saw that they were right. So when he backed them, the authority of his name and office won the entire nation to their cause.”

The Magna Carta established in writing the principle that no man, not even a king, was above the law. Unfortunately, history is full of rulers who simply refused to accept that they have limits on their power. One of those was Charles I. After inheriting the English throne in 1625, Charles started taxing his subjects at will, violating the due process of his citizens, and appointing agenda-driven judges who upheld his unconstitutional actions. The famed English poet John Milton wrote at the time that “the Parliament hath no more freedom than if it sat in his [Charles] Noose, which, when he pleased to draw together with one twitch, shall throttle a whole nation.”

Once again, it would be people of faith who would rise up in defense of liberty. Comprising an estimated 30 to 40% of the local population, East Anglia had the highest concentration of Puritans in England. It also, according to author Kevin Phillips, had the highest literacy rate and the largest concentration of Bibles; thus making it the Bible-belt of 17th century England. Throughout East Anglia Puritan preachers would deliver sermon after sermon urging their congregation to fulfill their Christian duty to resist the tyranny of Charles. It is no coincidence that East Anglia became the soul of the struggle for English liberty during the Civil War which resulted in the overthrow of Charles and the reinstatement of representative government. It is also no coincidence that the majority of the leaders of the American Revolution were descendants of pilgrims who originated from this part of England.

Yet, before the American Revolution, there would be one more struggle in England for individual freedom. This struggle would be triggered by Charles’ son, James II, who failed to learn anything from his father’s example. Like his father, he tried to impose his will on the English people. In gross violation of the freedom of the church, he established the Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, which regulated what pastors could say in their sermons. When several bishops were summarily imprisoned for treason for refusing to read a royal proclamation that violated the tenets of their religion, people of faith rose up in their defense. Although a court would eventually find the bishops innocent of all charges, James’ actions ignited within Christians of all sects a passion for liberty. This would lead to a bloodless revolution, known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which would end with James being sent into exile. [In my book, Liberty Inherited, I detail the events of 1688 and their impact on the event that would transpire in 1776.]

To ensure that the rights of Englishmen would never again be violated, Parliament created the Declaration of Rights of 1689. It would be these rights that — less than a hundred years later – Englishmen in the New World would rise up to defend. It is not a coincidence that this struggle for freedom started in the New England colony. The majority of its population were descendants of people who originated from East Anglia. This gave it predominantly Puritan values and, like their predecessors in East Anglia, its pastors preached from the pulpit the values of liberty, freedom, and the Christian duty to defend them. Their example was soon being copied by pastors in all thirteen colonies. These church leaders would come to be known as the Black Robe Brigade and they would be the soul of the struggle for American independence. Furthermore, it would be the offspring of these New England religious leaders who would lead the abolitionist movement to end slavery.

As this brief summary of history illustrates, the churches’ withdrawal from politics is a recent phenomena. It is telling that America has experienced extreme moral and spiritual decay during the same period — a decay which has resulted in same-sex marriage.

Maybe, by avoiding politics, church leaders believed that they would remain untouched by its effects. If so, it was a tragic error of judgment on their part for, as Pericles, wrote, “Just because you don’t take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.” The recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and the effect it will have on the freedom of religion prove that Pericles’ observation is just as valid today as it was when it was written 25 centuries ago. The question is, whether this is enough to wake up Christians or will they continue to accept a premise that has made their churches irrelevant?

Written by John L. Hancock.

One Comment:

  1. Here’s the deal I’ve come to realize about Christianity – there are basically two of them! The problem is – how to help people separate the two…and thus choose which kind they want to be and celebrate.

    Let’s start with Santa: Caution, this is how the ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE with the mission of dominating the world and enforcing “CHRISTIAN VALUES” on everyone, gets the idea into people’s heads when they are young that pretend things (Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy) are real; while also introducing the FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST as the “REAL” yet unseen and only felt, then obeyed idols they should covet for life – after they figure out the childhood idols bearing gifts are false.

    Aka- next generation – BRAINWASHING indoctrination into an oppressive CULT!

    Let them have fun, as kids, then stop the PRETEND FRIENDS IN THE SKY stuff there, teach them to think, not blindly follow – OK!

    If you don’t, they might grow up to be Conservative/Republicans…who seem to support pedophiles, sexual assaulters, enslaving Confederates, and fascist Nazi’s. Whilst also hating those other people protesting for civil rights, protection of the weak, feeding the hungry, healing the sick – you know things like their “SAVIOR” Jesus did. Aka- the so-called “LIBERALS” they can’t control with their “FAITH” based in repenting for life as a born evil sinner society kind of controlling ideas.

    Love your children, teach them the US Constitution to live by, and the BIBLE to know their enemy of FREEDOM by.

    There are two groups of people who call themselves Christians.

    One group lives by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, protecting and sheltering the weak…followers of Jesus’ practices. Liberal sharing things.

    The other group are indoctrinated into the Roman Christian Empire Army as soldiers, the ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS started circa 300 A.D. (after the Romans killed Jesus for speaking out about injustices under Rome’s rule, eh) when the Roman Emperor Constantine hijacked the Christian Religion (Like the terrorist group ISIS has the religion of ISLAM), and used Jesus as a mere recruiting and propaganda tool, to conquer others by trickery (like Santa), or forced conversions where ever they go.

    – 1096 AD Rhineland (Germany) massacres – to convert or kill Jews (and Jesus was a Jew too- Right!).

    – All the HOLY CRUSADES, convert the Middle East regions people or kill them while also raping and pillaging the NON-BELIEVERS who wouldn’t convert and be controlled…

    – European Dark Ages Inquisitions to find unconverted Jews, and kill them.

    – Christian Puritans landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in the NEW WORLD to escape RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION in Europe against them – so, they killed the Native Americans and took the non-believer’s lands 5-years after the 1st Thanksgiving dinner.

    – Late 1700’s, Christians try to get Jefferson (A DIEST CHRISTIAN, like the other Founding Fathers: believed religion is a private matter) to make Christianity the official religion of America – and get the “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE’ letter instead.

    – Confederate Christians make their GOD the supreme authority to enslave people in their Constitution and commit evil in his name, and start a war to FREELY “States Rights” spread slavery to the Pacific Ocean.

    – Post Civil War white Supremacist Roman Empire Christians continue to enforce their old Constitutions ideal in the form of the KKK, Jim Crow Laws, and Poll Taxes, and resisting Civil Rights/Equal Right movement for 103 years between 1865 and 1968 officially ending with the passing of the Civil Rights Act. And they resisted WOMEN getting the vote – so their power in America is diminished.

    – 1888, the Republican Party (which was started by the liberal – free the oppressed and enslaved, President Lincoln) adopts the pre-Civil War Southern Democrat slave owners’ nickname – GOOD OLD PARTY (GOP). Apparently, also adopting their “SUPERIOR” philosophies too. And that explains how the flip-flop of good (Jesus types) versus evil (Roman Soldier type) people between the Democrat and Republican parties came about after the Civil War.

    – Hitler embarks on the mission to finally solve the JEWISH problem, and other less worthy people (Holocaust), wears a Christian Church Cross symbol (Swastika) on his sleeve.

    – 1950’s they target anyone not in their ranks as “GODLESS COMMUNIST”, and persecuted them “blacklistings, etc”. they also used this kind of subversive coercing and duress to get “UNDER GOD” added to the American Flag pledge of Allegiance and “IN GOD WE TRUST” on to our currency – to mark AMERICA as a “CHRISTIAN” country. Makes me wonder if the Rosenberg’s were really traitors of the USA, or just resisters of the Roman Christian Empire? And this Commie scare stuff got us into the Vietnamese’s War for independence from post-WWII European re-colonization.

    – Now we have the likes of TRUMP being propped up by them to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Which makes me wonder what past “AGAIN” period they want Trump to take AMERICA back to? Before women could vote, before Equal Rights, before slavery was abolished before people could be killed and run off their native lands with impunity?

    – They have the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and other EVANGELISTIC Christian empire preachers pushing their agenda in the mass media. And fiercely protecting/defending any from their ranks that get caught being in violation of their “CHRISTIAN VALUES”…like Roy “RAT” Moore!

    Now it’s easy to see why contemporary Republican/Conservatives ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE soldiers covet Confederate monuments and want to fly Nazi flags, and hate protestors of Civil Rights (police brutality and murdering of minorities they can’t control by proxy for them) taking a knee while a song plays before a sports event; trying to use “PATRIOTISM” as a tool to silent their 1st Amendment Rights to the US Constitutions Freedom of Speech!

    The ROMAN Christian Empire soldiers follow ACTS 5;29 that tells them to only obey their GOD, and not men….so they HATE the self-ordained US Constitution – WE THE PEOPLE’s US Constitution and keep trying to change it to a Christian document…

    Anyway – ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE World Conquering/Dominating HISTORY is something they don’t teach their young in Sunday Schools, but instill thorough indoctrination so-called “CHRISTIAN VALUES” which exploits people’s fears of the unknown after they die, and the natural instinct for survival with blind obedience to be rewarded with the answers about those things they provided – kind of exploitation. Thus, as adults brainwashed to take orders or else those “GIFTS FROM GOD” will be withheld.

    Not to mention why the ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE SOLDIERS want many and military types of firearms, without first also being under a 2nd Amendment US Constitutional volunteer “WELL REGULATED MILITIA’s” control; on-par meeting the same prequalifications for trustworthy and fitness with the professional contemporary US Reserve and National Guard Militia’s personnel, and swear an oath of loyalty, before their right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Teach your kids well…what they won’t learn from the BIBLE about the ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE, but from the real-world ways, ROMAN CHRISTIAN EMPIRE SOLDIERS have acted/events.

    Then when someone says they are a “CHRISTIAN” – you kids won’t be so confused about what kind of Christian the proclaimer is if they just look at the CHARACTER (like Dr. Martin Luther King in his “I HAVE A DREAM” speech told us to judge people by) of that person. They can decide that way if the CHRISTIAN is a LIBERAL and Literally follower of Jesus, or just an exploiter of the religion for (Conservative unto themselves) selfish and greedy reasons of wealth and power over others.

    I’m not saying being wealthy or powerful is evil in itself, just not sharing the resources and talents which got people that way to help others less fortunate regardless of biological or geographical differences might be!

    The Roman Christian empire soldiers hate it when you tell them “Happy Holidays” in, instead of “MERRY CHRISTMAS” – like the last week of December is all about only their religion and the birth of Jesus, exclusive of NEW YEARS, Hanukkah, and maybe Ramadan too. Not to mention atheist who just enjoying giving gifts of kindness to others during this time of year without any religious context attached, but to just spreading joy to the world – like Jesus did, eh!

    To you and your loved one, and new hope for peace on earth, with the empowerment of knowledge! Hopefully, an eye-opening historical perspective knowledgeable view was my gift just now?


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