How Far Right ?

    I know that there are some out there who wish I would just drop this issue, and let it slip quietly away. There are others out there that know me better than that, who know that when I believe something, I speak my mind.

   I have written two  post on this issue and made numerous comments on it. I have attempted to show my point of view and concerns from two different angles. I will now attempt to tie them together so that those who question my position on this issue, will have a better understanding of it.

   The issue of course is the law suit being brought against the Sussex County Council, charging that the Council has violated the so-called, “separation of church and state”. The suit charges that by holding a moment of prayer before the monthly council meeting, and that prayer being a Christian prayer, that the council is “establishing” a religion.

   Personally I am not convinced that what they are doing rises to the level of establishing a religion. I do however feel that the way the meeting is necessarily run, does restrict the free exercise of religion. The fact that the council chooses the prayer, decides which prayer will be said, and who will lead the prayer, and allows no input from citizens, in my view restricts those who come to the meeting.

  Now on this issue I am of the minority opinion within the GOP. At least the Sussex County GOP Executive Committee.  On Monday night past, at the monthly GOP meeting,(where we did pray before the meeting), the issue of the law suit came up in two ways. A resolution was proposed and passed, commending the Sussex County Council for their stand on the issue. The second was a news release from Sussex GOP Chairman Glen Urquhart again supporting the council. The floor was opened for discussion before the vote. I was the only person to voice an opinion that the council may have crossed a line of constitutionality. I also believe I was the only one to cast a no vote against the resolution.

  I’m not going to re-argue my reasons for my opinion. I have made them clear from the start. My concern is not over the effect that faith will have upon government, but the effect government will have upon faith.

  Let me say at this point that my view on this issue has nothing to do with the current make-up of the council. I would hold the exact same opinion no matter who the council members were.

  To understand my views on this, you may need to know where I came from. In my youth I was a sinner of the highest ranks. There wasn’t much I didn’t do. But I was one of the functioning sinners. I could get up and go to work, earn my wages, pay my bills and taxes. Had a wife who loved me, and no one knew. But there came a time that my life was going to be completely changed. I was on the verge of losing everything. Job, home, wife. There came a moment when I found a Bible that had been in my house for sometime, unread. I began reading the Gospels. My eyes were opened. Every word was written for me. I understood exactly what God was saying to me. I didn’t need someone to guide me. God was guiding me. It is at our lowest that we reach out for the one hand that is always there.

  Through the word of God I was able to stop using drugs. I gave up drinking to excess. And I gave up the other things I was doing that would risk my eternal soul. Jesus saved my life. Maybe not my physical life, but my spirit. I believe that Jesus has saved my soul.  I hope this explains somewhat why and how I feel the way I do on this issue. I hope that this covers the spiritual side of the issue. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I am forgiven.

  Now to the political side. I happen to believe that the Declaration of Independence is the greatest document ever written, second only to the Bible. I hold the Constitution as an extremely close third. With these three documents, I feel we as American citizens can negotiate our way through this world and into the next. I believe our Founders were inspired by God to put together such a near perfect system of government.

  I have often said that the Constitution and the Bible are very much alike. Ten people can read them, and you will most likely get ten different interpretations of each. They are also alike I feel because, just as when we read the Bible with an open heart, the words of God are put in our hearts with understanding. We need no man to explain them to us.

  I also feel that the Constitution in its simplicity, is the genius of its longevity. It was written in a fashion that every literate citizen could read and understand, and in a language that having it read to them, every citizen could understand.

 So is it any wonder that an issue such as this, which contains elements of both politics and faith, would cause so much division? Not at all.

  When I first posted on this issue I received comments from people who considered themselves conservatives, and from those who considered themselves liberal or progressive.

  I actually received more positive response from those on the left. Those describing themselves as conservative didn’t see the point I was trying to make. Some may have even felt betrayed, since they considered me a “good” conservative. Not to worry, I am still that good conservative.

  So if I am such a good conservative, how come the left is agreeing with me? Well this is one of those cases where two differing ideologies, that normally disagree, agree. We agree that there is a problem. But we don’t agree on what the problem is or what is causing it.

  Okay, I now want my older conservative friends to take their medication. Anyone with a heart condition, you may want to take this next part in small doses.

  There is a separation of church and state within the Constitution. Of course there is, anyone who says not is either confused or working another agenda. But it is not the separation that the liberals are always talking about.

 The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech”.

  The word that causes people trouble many times is the word, “congress”. Some have said that “congress” only refers to the U.S. Congress. I and others, who do not necessarily agree with me on the rest, do agree that the use of “congress” is intended to mean government. By the way one definition of the word congress is, ” a formal meeting of delegates”.  So it would seem as if the Founders clearly wanted “congress” to stay out of the faith business.

  Okay, have you all caught your breath? Anyone feeling a little lite-headed? The reason so many on the right get upset at this idea is because they have been taught by the leftist media how they are supposed to feel about this issue.

   This is the point where my liberal friends of a few day ago, may have to get off the bus. This is where I no longer agree with them. The liberal take on the issue of church and state tends to hold to the idea that no one can pray on public property. That to have a child say a prayer over their lunch, somehow creates government-run religion. They would say that because a park is owned and run by government that prayers could not be said there. They would in some extreme cases, may even want to stop prayers in foxholes.

  This is not what our Founders intended. From my understanding of the Constitution and my interpretation of it, I feel that the Founders intended that all citizen would be free to exercise their individual faith, whenever and wherever, with no interference of government. Be it on government lands, in government buildings, schools or at home in their closets.

  Now I come to the part that has troubled my conservative friends. One even asked if I would be happier in the Democrat party. I am sure at least a few have called me a liberal for taking the stance that I have. Or have they gone so far as to call me a “RINO”?

  The reason that I am misunderstood on this issue is because I am too far right for even Sussex County Delaware. Too conservative one might say.

  While we have some conservatives saying that this is an attack on religion, I see my stance as fighting for the freedom of religion for all. While some are saying that we need less government, they then turn around and shout that government should be in the faith business as well. Some have even called for school prayer. I have said that I feel school  children should be allowed to pray if they choose to. But I sure as heck don’t want that prayer led by a government paid teacher. No more than  I want to be led in prayer by a government paid council member.

 This is my problem then. I am too far right on this issue for the GOP. While I am saying that I don’t want any involvement of government in faith, some in the GOP would actually have more. 

 This issue will come down to, I am sure, whether or not the council when called to order as a governing body is afforded the same rights as individuals.  As I have stated, I feel that when they call the meeting to order, they have become government or a “congress”, and have no business then conducting prayers or restricting others from praying.

  I hope that this reassures some of my fellow conservatives and doesn’t scare away too many of my liberal converts. I do not see this as a partisan issue. I see this as a question about one of our fundamental freedoms. A cornerstone of the foundation upon which this nation was built. If our faith is to be free we must protect it from all influences. God will work within us if we ask him to. And we don’t need government to lead us there.




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