Within the Holy Bible the role of government is outlined several times for in 1 Peter 2:13-14 it states, “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution; wether to a king or one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right”. This passage speaks on individuals given authority by the Lord to uphold justice on earth while maintaining morality and eithics. Natural law is a moral theory which relates to this passage for the law is based on what’s “correct”. For natural law is “discovered” by humans through use of reason and choosing between good and evil. As with inalienable rights, all men were created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution.
This essential equality means that no one is born with a natural right to rule over others without their consent, and that governments are obligated to apply the law equally to everyone. This is where the separation of church and state comes into play for Baptists in Virginia who strived for the state to lose power over coercion individuals to convert to the state’s official religion of Episcopalian. Church and state were distinct in that the Federal Government could not elevate one denomination over others. In 1786 a preamble in Act Establishing Religious Freedom stated that “the Author of our religion gave us our “free will” and that he “chose not to propagate it by coercion”. Nor could government and its flawed inhabitants usurp divine authority by harnessing politics to the church. This was done to remind individuals that faith is no civil contract, but a personal matter not to be profaned by politics. This belief is supported in the Bible Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles answered, We must obey God rather than men”.
In response the first constitutional amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Shallus, Jacob. 2019). This passage that it often explained as the religion clauses, prevented the new government from establishing a state religion, and protected the right of citizens to adhere to any religion they seem fit.
This goes hand in hand with the development of federalism which involves the linkage of individuals, groups, and politics in lasting but limited union in such a way as to provide for the energetic pursuit of common ends while maintaining the respective integrities of all parties. This resambls a covenant in which a higher moral force, traditionally God, is either a direct party to, or gurantor of the particular relationship” (Skillen, James. P. 111).
Within public administration, “the covenant is a radically liberating force, one that frees humans to act but not at the price of denying the transcendent authority and power that sets the parameters within which they act and the terms under which their actions are legitimate and morally acceptable” (p.112). As to ensure no crime or sin is committed one must stay true to the convenant but not all crimes committed are sins. A crime can be placed into place during a period of time but as the world progressesss that “crime” becomes morally accepted. For example, during the 3rd century homosexuality was a crime but in 2019 it is widely accepted even though still being a sin.
This can also be seen as a policy issue on civil rights for the LGBTQ community in which the biblical principles do not condone this type of sexual preference. However, on the basis of the United States Constitution’s fifth and fourteenth Amendments, everybody is created equal and has the right to freedom of expression. The government in recent years has fought legislation that has given individuals within the LGBTQ community the right to marriage, laws to ensure a persons sexual origin is not discriminated against, prevents individuals from being fired off the basis of their sexual preference, and granted the right to adopt a child.
These new policies correlate with the postmodernism worldview in which different perspectives are all acceptable for things are relative oppose to objective. For everyone has a different outlook on life coupled with their personal beliefs and interpution on things. Postmoderisim in turn focuses more on authenticity, creativity, intuition, and imagination. As people with a modern worldview tend to place science as their basis for it is a realiable source of knowledge. Moderism takes away from the bible and opposes logic, rational, and science as their basis for tackling life issues.
Our forefathers used the basis of christanity to compose the constitution to ensure the people maintained a nature of truth and values with the assistance of limited government. However, as centuries pass modernism was introduces given government a more expanisve role which is illustrated with the listed enumerated powers in Artile I, Section 8 of the United States constitution.
These listed powers were granted to the federal government to coin money, to regulate commerce, to declare war, to raise and maintain armed forces, and to establish a Post Office. Furthermore, to ensure that citizens are involved in political decisions certain powers not specified in the United States Constitution are given to each state. However, there are certain political powers that both federal and state governments hold such as the power to impose taxes, the power to run elections, the power to borrow money on behalf of the government, and the power to establish and maintain a working court system. These are referred to as concurrent powers but if there is a dispute in which both federal and state governments do not agree, the powers of the federal government prevail.
The government was formulated to ensure justice prevailed each time but Article 1, Sections 9 and 10 of the Constituion was established to ensure certain powers neither level of government may hold such as any action that violates the Bill of Rights, the imposition of taxes on exports from the states, the authority to use money from the Treasury without approval and passage of an appropriations bill, and the authority to change state boundaries. As with powers denied to the federal government the state governments also are denied certain rights such as the authority to enter into treaties with other countries, authority to print money, authority to tax imports or exports, authority to retroactively impair contract rights or obligations, and the authority to deny an individual’s rights without due process. One must keep in mind the United States is a democracy and to ensure corruption does not encompass the government the constitution also includes powers that are denied to both federal and state governments such as authority to grant titles of nobility, authority to permit slavery, authority to deny citizens the right to vote according to their race, color, or previous servitude and the authority to deny citizens the right to vote according to their gender.
In conclusion, the United States was built on the Christianity worldview which instilled everyone’s alienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but also to uphold moral intergrity. Throughout the centuries the world has evolved and certain policies that were put into place has been rectified to reflect today’s worldviews but also aliegns with the original policy or law to a degree. For example, the fourteenth amendement was amended in 1868 to include African Americans as legal citizens who now possess equal rights; since then the fourteenth amendement has grown to include individuals of different sexual origins to possess equal rights to ensure they are not subjected to discrimination. For the Bible and government have become separated in postmodernism.
- Flax, Bill. The True Meaning of Separation of Church and State. July 2011. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2011/07/09/the-true-meaning-of-separation-of-church-and-state/#2c2654aa5d02
- Jacob Shallus. June 2019. The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript
- Robert D. Orr (2007) The Role of Christian Belief in Public Policy, Christian Bioethics, 13:2, 199-209. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13803600701473489
- Fischer, Khalib. 2013. Biblical Principles of Government. https://learn.liberty.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-34979618-dt-content-rid-420303954_1/courses/PADM550_D05_201940/PADM550_LUO_8wk_MASTER_ImportedContent_20190321034338/Biblical%20Principles%20of%20Government.pdf
- Separation of Church and State. The Boisi Center Papers on Religion in the United States. https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/boisi/pdf/bc_papers/BCP-ChurchState.pdf
- Enumerated Powers. Novemebr 2015. https://legaldictionary.net/enumerated-powers/
- Equal and Inalienable Rights. 2019. https://www.docsoffreedom.org/student/readings/equal-and-inalienable-rights