Voters’ Guide for Evangelical Christians

Intentions of the Founding Fathers with Commentary by John Tennison, M.D.,

Libertarian Candidate, Texas House of Representatives, District 116, November 7, 2006


Separation of Church and State Protects Freedom of Religion.


When considering freedom of religion, many citizens of the United States are frequently unaware of the intentions of the founding fathers and of the United States Constitution.  The following quotations will help to clarify this intent and will reveal how people of all religions are protected by maintaining what Thomas Jefferson called, “a wall of separation between church and state” in 1802.


Even though a large proportion of European colonists in North America and subsequent United States Citizens have been and continue to be devoutly religious, founding father John Adams (2nd U.S. president) made it perfectly clear that the founding fathers intended to form a secular government.  Specifically, the treaty between the United States and Tripoli (ratified by the Senate and signed by President John Adams) in 1797 contains the following wording:


                "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."


                Precisely BECAUSE the United States government is secular, it allows for protection of the practice of ALL religions, even when one religion disagrees with another religion.  Without a secular government, freedom of religion would be endangered.


With regard to freedom of religion, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution had the same intent as the earlier Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, which was written by Thomas Jefferson.  The intention to protect the practice of ALL religions and even atheism was made clear by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the following about the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom in his autobiography:

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

                Moreover, in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, Jefferson made the intention of the 1st Amendment clear when he wrote following famous words:


                “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”


                It is helpful to remember that the qualities that make for a good political leader might not be the same qualities that make for a good practitioner of a particular religion.  For this reason, the founding fathers established the “No Religious Test” clause in Article 6, Section 3 of the United States Constitution:


                The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”


                Thus, even though someone might be a good “Christian,” they might be completely incompetent and undesirable as a political leader or elected official.


When Politicians Ignore the Teachings of Christ


Although many politicians claim to be “Christians” or to “follow the teachings of Christ,” their actions often betray their words and reveal them to be hypocrites.  As Christ said in Matthew 7:16, Ye shall know them by their fruits.”  Thus, when considering politicians in relation to the teachings of Christ, keep in mind the following politically-relevant teachings of Christ:


God’s Two Greatest Commandments


"'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: '"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'" - Matthew 22:36-40


The Golden Rule


"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." - Matthew 7:12


How to Treat Your Enemies


"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:43-45


Crime and Punishment


"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well." - Matthew 5:38-40


Six Commandments, Including the Golden Rule


"Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 19:19


Anger with One’s Brother


"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." - Matthew 5:21-22


Don’t Have Favoritism Towards Your Brother


"If you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" - Matthew 5:47


Responding to Those in Need


"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'" - Matthew 25:41-45


Hypocrisy and Judgment of Others


"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:1-2


"With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more." - Mark 4:24


"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." - Matthew 7:3-5


If You Want God’s Forgiveness, You Must Forgive Others


"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." - Matthew 6:14-15

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." - Matthew 5:7

Setting an Example


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16


Materialism Versus God


"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" - Matthew 19:23-24


"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money." - Matthew 6:24 


The Value of Child-Like Humility


"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 18:3-4


What People Say and Do Reveals Their True Character


"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" - Matthew 15:11


"He went on: 'What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’  For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’" - Mark 7:20-23

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