Contrary to what most people think, the First Amendment to our Constitution does not contain the term “separation of church and state.” It is just not there or anywhere else in the Constitution for that matter. What the First Amendment does say, however, is this: ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Andrew Beckwith, the director of Massachusetts Family Institute, wrote a book entitled Engage the Bay State. In it he says, “It is the ‘free exercise’ clause that protects our right to preach, teach, pray, worship, evangelize and engage in the full work of the gospel. If we do not use the shield of law and public policy to keep the door open for Christians to share and live their faith, the church will increasingly lose the ability to reach the lost with the Word of God.”
The loss of religious freedom in our state was the foremost reason for establishing the Family Policy Alliance here in Rhode Island. We were once the most Catholic state in the U.S. and now we are one of the most secular. The reality is that because we have been silent on moral and ethical issues, our moral standards now come from the world.
Theologian Wayne Grudem warns about Christian apathy in public policy and lawmaking:
“….if pastors and church members say, ‘I’m going to be silent about the moral and ethical issues that we face as a nation,’ that will leave a moral vacuum, and it will not be long until the ultimate adversaries of the Gospel – Satan and his demons – will rush in and influence every decision in a way contrary to Biblical standards. And if that happens, then governments around the world will increasingly use their tremendous power to silence the church.”
Are we not seeing this happening? How else could our legislature pass an extreme abortion bill two years ago that can rightly be labeled “infanticide” because it included killing babies right up to birth? How could we make it illegal to counsel minors who want to move away from the LGBTQ+ lifestyle? How else could we change the definition not just of marriage, but of what it means to be male and female?
The vacuum has been growing and it will suck the spiritual life out of our state unless the church makes a difference in 2021.
Martin Luther King Jr. knew how to energize the church when he said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.”
Please pray that we will see the church awaken and arise to be what Dr. King envisioned it to be in 2021. God has already been doing some wonderful things across denominational and cultural lines this past year, but it is just the start of what He wants to do! Please help us in our mission to make Rhode Island a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.
I am available to speak in churches, Bible studies, and small groups about our ministry and what we are doing. As we finish out the year and look ahead to 2021, we have reached $9,545 in our Matching Gift Challenge of $13,500. That leaves $3,955 left to go. Please consider an end of the year gift to help us reach our goal.
Chairman, Board of Directors – Rhode Island