Those who judge the erring are merciless and bitter, while those judging the upright are unfair and hostile. This evil is so firmly rooted in us that we have become more brutish than the beasts: At least they herd together with their own kindred, but we reserve our most savage warfare for the members of our own household. – St. Basil the Great
Disagreement motivated by piety is superior to concord held together by sentiment. – St. Gregory the Theologian
As I sit here on this July 4 reflecting on what the American Founding Fathers accomplished, I think of how through their various backgrounds they were able to challenge and defeat one of the most powerful nations on earth (at the time). They did what no one had done before; challenge Great Britain. Though the Declaration of Independence was signed prior to July 4, July 4 is when the proclamation was made to all that America was truly free.
The signers came from a multitude of beliefs; they were Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, Deists, and Agnostics. Some were devout, others were nominal, and still others laid claim to no specific religious beliefs. In all of this, however, they unified for a common cause, the cause of freedom. They all had the common belief that America would be better if she could rule herself rather than allowing some kingdom far away rule America. Not all colonists agreed, which sparked division, but those who did agree with the Founders united in that common cause.
234 years later, we Americans find ourselves under a new kind of tyranny and that tyranny is secularism. This tyranny seeks to prevent all religious displays from finding their way into the public eye or public conscious. We have redefined the “freedom of religion” found within the First Amendment into “freedom of worship.” Such a rhetorical shift is shocking. Under the phrase “freedom of religion” we are not only allowed to worship as we desire, but can evoke our religious background in defending our view on public policy. We can bring religion into the public square and put it on display for others to see, whether we are a factory worker, a CEO, or even an elected official. We cannot force others to worship our God or participate in our religion, but we can proudly espouse the virtues of our religion. Under the phrase “freedom of worship,” however, we are limited in our religious activities. We are allowed to worship our God, so long as that worship takes place behind closed walls and is not seen in the public eye. Should you worship your God in a public school or at a government building, you will be quickly told that such activities violates the secular ideals of our government.
As Christians, what are we to do? The tyranny of secularism has begun to erode away the moral foundations of our nation, substituting the absolute and unshakable morality that the Judeo-Christian tradition respects and replacing it with the shifting sands of relativistic ethics (if such activities and beliefs can truly be called “ethics”). A nation founded upon the shifting sands of ever-changing morality is a nation that cannot survive the storms of perilous times.