There was a time in our not too distant past when the acknowledgment of God and His authority over all things including our civil government was a value shared by Americans almost universally. This is undeniably reflected in the following observation by founding father Samuel Adams:
The right to freedom is the gift of God Almighty...The rights of the Colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading, and carefully studying the institutes of the great Lawgiver and Head of the Christian Church: which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.
When Mr. Adams declares that rights are the gift of God, he implicitly acknowledges the existence and supremacy of God. Moreover, he is positively connecting our liberty with our shared Christian view of law and government.
Sadly, while this view was once widely understood by Americans, today it is lost on many, if not most. This is largely due to our ignorance of American history and misunderstanding the meaning of "Separation of Church and State.”
In the American view of law and government, we recognize that the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God is a fixed, unchanging standard. Also, jurisdiction — the authority to speak and enforce the law — is given to four separate governments.
First, there is self-government, in which we, as individuals, are required to control ourselves; to conform our behavior to the strictures of God’s commandments. (Thou shalt not steal…or lie…or murder, etc.)
The other three jurisdictions are institutional in nature.
There is the family, ordained by God in the Garden of Eden and charged with the health, education, welfare, and marriage of its members.
Next, there is the church, whose head is Jesus Christ, and charged by Christ with the promulgation of His Word, the distribution of the sacraments, and charitable assistance to the less fortunate with healthcare, education, and welfare.
Lastly, there is the civil government, which is charged by God with defending the borders and administering justice so that the Lord’s people might live in peace and harmony.
Overarching all these jurisdictions and their authority is God’s jurisdiction, which, by nature of his status as Creator, is all-encompassing and universal.
So while there is, in fact, a separation between the duties of the Church and the State, there is no separation of God and His law from civil government. Conversely, there is an absolute duty on the part of the civil government to understand, promote, and enforce the Natural Law of the Creator.
In the Declaration of Independence, our founders referred to God as the Supreme Judge of the universe because His jurisdiction supersedes every act of civil government.
So, you see, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a state official acknowledging the Word of God as authoritative and controlling in the civil affairs of men. Actually, quite the opposite is true. No State action or law is valid unless it conforms to God’s law and His Will.
So, if someone tries to tell you that God and His law don’t have anything to do with civil government, then you can be sure that this person does not understand American history or American government.
Schedule an event or learn more about your Constitution with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.