The second in a two-part series looking at how God is welcomed by the world:
Predominantly Protestant, the early framers of the Constitution were influenced by Christian worldviews. The belief in the depravity of the human condition is credited in having influenced the checking, limiting and balancing of power. The idea that humans are created in the image of God influenced the idea that human beings have “inalienable” rights that are guaranteed not by human institutions but by “their Creator.” While certainly not perfect, with the institutionalized discrimination of women and slaves, these doctrinal positions welcomed God’s authority in every facet of human interaction. The Bible, as both a cultural force and an accepted revelation of God’s will for personal conduct, organization of families and communal laws functioned as the foundation for both criminal and civil law. The Bible was understood as the great equalizer. With Scripture in hand, the stable boy could stand in the presence of a monarch and discern together as equals since, before God, one was no more important than the other. Such is not the case with all religions where cast systems separate rulers from untouchables, as in Hinduism, or where one group works while the other only prays, as in Buddhism.
In its original understanding, secularism was an idea that though government is influenced by religious worldviews, its application of particular viewpoints by the government must be neutral. This was first introduced to our nation by the Baptists of Rhode Island. Unfortunately, secularism has changed throughout the years. The foremost research center on secularism is housed at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In a recent study of secularism, the center concluded that today’s definition of secularism is the total absence of religious influence in the organization of not only government, but culture. Unfortunately, we are all influenced by something. What is the end of a people who no longer welcome God? We shall soon see.