“I recently learned,” writes political commentator Glenn Beck, “that the United States government was actually trying to strip God out of a homeless shelter for previously incarcerated women struggling in Colorado. …Marilyn Vyzourek, the woman who runs an organization called Gospel Shelters for Women, was told that she could no longer offer Bible studies at her shelter. … Our government … decided that the shelter’s acceptance of two twenty-five-thousand-dollar federal grants made them subservient to their wills” (From David Barton, The Jefferson Lies, Location 62).
Marilyn Vyzourek, to her credit, refused to back down from the government’s demand and lost the grant. Why? In the government’s view, to preserve the separation of church and state. Our Founding Fathers had a very different perspective. The Amendment should, in fact, have protected Ms. Vyzourek from governmental interference.
The Amendment simply states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Ms. Vyzourek should never have had a problem; the Constitution was on her side!
The “separation clause” is, actually, a recent concept. In 1947, the Supreme Court, in Everson v. Board of Education, made this statement:
“The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”
“Following this declaration, the Supreme Court – and numerous lower courts – began striking down religious activities and expressions which had been constitutional for the previous 150 years” (David Barton, Original Intent, p. 13).
This was not the design of the First Amendment. Our Founding Fathers were open to the influence of the Church. The Bible was a textbook in many of America’s early schools. What our early leaders did not want was for the government to have control over church affairs. But the secularization of our society has reversed the Amendment’s original intent. To the Christian community, the results have been devastating.
Government legislation has banned the Bible from our classrooms and God has become a four-letter word. A new generation of children is emerging with little understanding of God and no familiarity with His Word. We have given our children no objective standard of morality; we have left them to develop their own standards of right and wrong.
Perhaps the reason the Christian message has generated so much antagonism is that we claim an exclusive understanding of truth. But we have little choice if we are to be true to our faith. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus was quite clear: He is our only access to God.
We will share our faith, despite government opposition. Our motivation is more than theological; it is personal. We have found our relationship with God to be immensely rewarding. Our interest is not to berate others when they are wrong, or conversely, to proudly defend the premise that we are right. That is not our attitude. We are simply grateful to God that we have found a better way. Jesus Christ has become the Lord of our lives. He has changed us, sometimes dramatically, and we are simply driven to share the good news.