Many of the issues addressed within the book Personal Faith, Public Policy have religious conservatives as their base of advocates. Chapter nine directly addresses the issue of religious freedoms. There are many of people who believe this nation has many people religious fanatics who wish to manipulate the Declaration of Independence in order to create a theocracy. The objectives of the chapter are to address the issue of Church and State, Christianity’s effect on the democracy, the battleground of religious liberties, and the biblical approach to religious liberties. Then after Jackson and Perkins present a defense of the religious freedoms, they then go on the offensive and address issues which are currently being debated. According to Jackson and Perkins the Christian faith has benefited our nation as a hole.
American culture has created an environment which people believe the church played no role in the history of the United States. This is incorrect, in fact “that without Christianity, America would never have become the great power it is today.” Within the United States there has been a slippery slope effect. This started “at the time the First Amendment was written and ratified, a number of the fifteen states had established state churches.” Ending with “liberals who misread America’s original document are really saying is the federal government should not only silence churches but also exclude their members from any influence on government.” One of the large steps taken in this slippery slope is when the Supreme Court misinterpreted Thomas Jefferson.
The Supreme Court misinterpreted the term separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson was the first person to use the term when writing a letter to religious leaders. He said, “Legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” This has been interpreted to the benefit of the churches. The current interpretations of the Supreme Court has had many major impacts on the why which the government conducts its business. This is explained later when Jackson and Perkins tackle the battleground for the Religious liberties. In order to provide a defense of Christianity for the liberals there must be given examples of a positive impact on Democracy.
By providing evidence that Christianity has a positive impact on Democracy gives the American public reasons not to believe the Liberals. As a group the Founding Fathers of the United States they wanted freedom of religion. “Freedom of religion was established to protect the free exercise of the Christian faith without the interference of an overly intrusive government.” This was created out of frustration with the King of England who required a certain belief system. In the past there have been many attempts to connect Christians with radical Islamic terrorists. The Muslim track record with freedom of religion is appalling. They conquered many nations by Jihad, forcibly limiting the practicing of other faiths. Currently worldwide the United States State Department has identified eight countries with limited freedom of religion.
There are not very many Biblical scriptures which have dealt with freedom of religion. Jackson and Perkins use many examples from the life of Daniel. Daniel is a particular good example because of his position within the Government. There were two things which Daniel did to benefit him, the first was do the best job he could; second was to not hide his personal relationship with God. His enemies were “unable to find fault with Daniel’s professional and personal life, they decided to make a wedge issue of his religion.” By doing this Daniel was trusted and he flourished within the positions he was given. “America has prospered not because it forced everyone to be a Christian; it has not, but rather America has recognized that we each have a choice.”
Within America the religious freedoms have been infringed upon. The main way which Jackson and Perkins express this infringement is through their analysis of the local law enforcement hate crimes prevention act of 2007(LLEHCPA). This law would give the Attorney General the right to aid local law enforcement with resources. These cases would include only hate crimes, the law also had a clause of crimes against someone’s sexual orientation. The law according to Jackson and Perkins would go beyond the crimes and extend to opinions contrary to the political correct ideology. There are three reasons why the bill was not liked by Jackson and Perkins. The first is the bill did not define sexual orientation. LLEHCPA also contains the phrase bodily harm, “the legal ramifications of this phrase can present a huge loophole through which speech can be included under the hate crime legislation.” The authors also are worried about the government pressing charges and indicting churches. Many government buildings have had the Ten Commandments removed from the walls or statues. This also applies to religious symbols such as nativity scenes and crèche.
America has had a history of religious freedoms which it extends to all faiths and beliefs. The current political climate is attempting to change the religious liberties of the nation. Watching its religious liberties be destroyed is the churches current role, when what they need to be doing is taking an active role in their government. “We cannot allow Christians to be forced to check their faith at the gate of the public square.” The church must push back and give an defense for their religious liberties much like Jackson and Perkins did in chapter nine.