by Jeff Mullen
Clash Daily Contributor
What you won’t hear from the secular historical revisionists: At its founding America was not only a Christian nation, but its original colonies were founded as sectarian religious havens—with NO separation of church and state.
Puritans at Massachusetts Bay seeking freedom from the state church of England (Anglican) gave rise to the decentralized sect of Congregationalism. Maryland was originally founded as a haven for Roman Catholics. Quakers, Mennonites and Moravians. Others—Dutch Reformed, Lutheran, French Protestant Huguenots, Brethren, Amish—sought religious freedom in William Penn’s Pennsylvania.
The truth is that freedom of religious belief and worship—and independence from the state—were uniquely American innovations.
Americans so take these freedoms for granted that we tend to miss the point. For centuries throughout Europe Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches have been thoroughly mixed up in affairs of state. To this day, the government of Germany pays salaries of the clergy. Only in recent years did Sweden end its support of the state church (Swedish Lutheran).
For a while the American colonies were headed down the same road. All but four of the 13 original colonies had established their own state churches, to the point of supporting church construction and maintenance with public funds. When these colonies contemplated secession from Britain, they realized their sectarian differences would have to be set aside to unite against the Crown.
So, they all became deists, secular humanists and freethinkers? Hardly. They just amended the Constitution to say that Congress shall make no law establishing an official religion—“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (Emphasis added.)
Author and conservative radio talk show host Michael Medved noted that state-established churches lived on well into the 19th century.
These religious establishments—clearly in contradiction to the idea of a “secular government”—continued in three states long after the adoption of the First Amendment,” wrote Medved. “Connecticut disestablished its favored Congregational Church only in 1818, New Hampshire in 1819, and Massachusetts in 1833 … Their existence reflected the fact that the founders never wanted to secularize all of government, but intended rather to allow the states to handle religious issues in their own way while avoiding the imposition of any single federal denomination on the diverse, often quarreling regions of the young nation.
There’s a reason why Jewish Americans such as Medved, author and talk show host Dennis Prager and author Don Feder, president of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, are unstinting in their defense of America’s Christian heritage. As students of history, they know that those very values have ensured their own free exercise of religion. They know that Christianity is all about voluntary choice—so personal a matter of the heart that the very idea of forced-conversion is a total oxymoron.
Accordingly, in this matter of the State vs. Freedom of Religion, the defense now rests.
Image: Courtesy of: https://www.boundless.com/u-s-history/american-life-during-the-revolution-1763-1789/
Jeff Mullen is a pastor and patriot. He began ministry in 1989 and in 1995 founded Mega Church, Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa and is also politically engaged in the community. He is a musician with extensive recording and performing experience and is a dynamic, humorous communicator. Jeff is also an avid shooter and enjoys a good hunt. He’s been married been married since 1989 and has two amazing daughters. You can connect with Jeff at www.facebook.com/jeffrey.mullen or www.jeffmullen.com