By: Dr. Jerry Bergman
During my first two decades at Northwest State College, we had a Christmas party every year. All college faculty, staff, administrators, and their spouses were invited.
The meals were superb, as was the conversation. It gave all of us a chance to get to know people in other departments, as well as to get to know each other better.
We often talked shop, but family, children, and other interests were usually discussed as well. We also had excellent, often live, entertainment. It was an event we all looked forward to, even the atheists.
Then, as I understand what happened, the lawyers got involved and somehow concluded that our Christmas party was a violation of separation of Church and State.
Our Christmas party was not a church but a get-together which existed since the college was founded in 1968. So ended our once-a-year get-together.
We also used to have many Christmas decorations around the college and the lawyers, so I am told, wanted to make sure they all met the required Constitutional mustard.
After the evaluation, all that was left was colored Christmas tree bulbs. Most of the decorations did not pass the Constitution sniff test.
The candy canes were removed because the white stands for the purity of Christ, and the red for the blood of Christ. Of course, the manger, and all figures relating to Christ’s birth, were removed.
Ironically, the claim that “the Constitution requires a wall of separation between Church and State” is not in the American Constitution.
It was in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Baptist Congregation in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802. Jefferson’s meaning is clear when the entire letter is read.
His conclusion was, “the first amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State. That wall is a one-dimensional wall. It keeps the government from running the Church, while making sure Christian principles will always stay in government.”
As eloquently said by many others, Jefferson was referring to a conclusion long held in American government that, for most of its first three centuries the Constitution prevented the government from meddling into the Church’s business but, as a democracy, the Church can influence the government.
This is allowed for any other group, as is true of any majority-run government. The influence of the Christian majority in our government is still found everywhere from the swearing in of the President on a Bible, to the prayers that open every session of Congress, to the in God we trust on our coins.
The Constitutional phrase: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” meant that Congress was prohibited from establishing an official state religious denomination.
Eight of the thirteen British colonies originally had official, or “established,” churches, and in those states dissenters who sought to practice or proselytize a different version of Christianity, were sometimes persecuted.
Laws mandated that everyone attend the official state house of worship and pay taxes that funded the salaries of their ministers. Most New Englanders went to Congregationalist church services.
They were held in a meeting house which served secular as well as religious functions. The meeting house was a small wood building located at the center of town.
By the eighteenth century, the vast majority of all colonists were churchgoers. Church attendance in some areas was then 70 percent of the adult local population.
The New England colonists—except for Rhode Island—were predominantly Puritans, who led strict religious lives. The highly educated clergy were devoted to the study and teaching of both Scripture and Gods creation, i.e. the natural sciences.
In 2022, an average of only 34% of U.S. adults said they had attended a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple in the past seven days. Church attendance is about twice as high among Republicans as compared to Democrats.
Banning Christmas is only one indicator of where our country is heading. Se few attend church that my grandkids have football practice on Sunday morning and the usual Wednesday evening church service now is football practice. Welcome to secular Europe.
Dr. Bergman is a multi-award-winning teacher and author. He has taught in the science and psychology area for over 40 years at the University of Toledo Medical College, Bowling Green State University, and other colleges. His 9 degrees include a Doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He has over 1,800 publications in both scholarly and popular science journals that have been translated into 13 languages. His publications are in over 2,400 college libraries in 65 countries. Bergman has spoken over 2,000 times at colleges and churches in America, Canada, Europe, the South Sea Islands, and Africa.
Source: The Village Reporter