We see the church in America under incredible attack, usually by those trying to force sexual anarchy on the country. In Houston, city officials have sent out subpoenas, demanding certain ministers who have spoken out against homosexuality to hand over their sermons and emails. In Idaho, a husband and wife team who run a wedding chapel might have to go to jail and be fined because they refuse for conscience sake to conduct same-sex weddings.
What’s happening today is in part because of a misreading of Jefferson. We try to set the record straight in Doubting Thomas.
In my work for D. James Kennedy Ministries, I have covered so many stories related to discrimination against Christians because of the supposed separation of church and state. The separation of the institution of the church from the institution of the state, properly understood, is a biblical concept and was promoted by some of our founding fathers, including Jefferson and Madison. However, today’s “separation of church and state” is often defined in such ways as to essentially mean “state-sanctioned atheism”—something different than what the founders advocated. Groups like the ACLU actively promote the “state-sanctioned atheism” version of the separation of church and state.
I remember when I interviewed an African-American woman who who was kicked off a public bus in the pouring rain in the Pacific Northwest. Even though she was pregnant, she had to walk home in the driving rain. She said by the time she got home, she felt like a drowned rat. Why was she kicked off the bus? Because she was telling another passenger (who was interested) about her church. The bus driver said you can’t talk about God because it is city property. Get off the bus.
I remember another story where a girl got an F on a history paper she wrote in her public high school. Initially she had permission to write about Jesus of Nazareth, but then the teacher changed her mind and disallowed it—while permitting other students to write about subjects related to other religions or the occult. And this discrimination was done because of the supposed separation of church and state.
One time in the 1990s a judge in Texas said to a group of ministers sponsoring a baccalaureate service that if any of them prayed in the name of Jesus at that service, he would have them arrested, thrown in jail for a minimum of 6 months. The judge said, “You will wish you died as a child by the time this court gets through with you.” This is not what the founders intended—certainly not Thomas Jefferson or James Madison.
Suppose the worst report about Jefferson’s faith were true. What then? Well, then he would have missed heaven. That was his loss. Meanwhile, it’s still seems that when he was a young man he did apparently believe in the Christian faith; and he articulated principles of religious freedom based on Jesus, “the holy author of our religion”.