I came across this article while doing research for publishing ideas. I can’t tell you how many times I try to come forth with a novel idea only to find an article on the Internet, written much better than I ever could, that captures the exact idea that I would want to put across. This article certainly qualifies.
In it, the real tradition in which Roy Moore operates is exposed:
Moore’s appeal to biblical law – and his vision of a Christian America – is the latest chapter of an old story in U.S. history. It’s an argument about America’s identity that dates all the way back to the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Listen closely, and Roy Moore sounds much like John Winthrop, the first governor of the Puritan colony….
Although the ACLU wasn’t around in 1630, Winthrop’s biblical commonwealth didn’t go unchallenged. The first dissenter was a young Puritan minister named Roger Williams – later founder of Rhode Island and co-founder of the first Baptist church in America. And he based his dissent on an entirely different reading of Scripture….
Not surprisingly, Williams’ challenge to civil authority in matters of faith led to his banishment from Massachusetts in 1635….
Massachusetts’ loss was America’s gain. Roger Williams left the Bay Colony to found Rhode Island, where he was determined to build what he described as a “wall of separation” to protect the “Garden of the Church” from the “Wilderness of the World.” Only in such a society, he believed, would each person be free to follow his or her own convictions in matters of faith without interference from the state. Rhode Island, promised Williams, would become “a haven for the cause of conscience.”
Williams’ vision of a society that protects freedom of conscience (what he called “soul liberty”) for people of all faiths or none was in direct opposition to the vision of a holy commonwealth proclaimed by Winthrop on the Arabella. Winthrop’s vision required that all citizens in the society conform to God’s law as interpreted and enforced by the state. Williams, on the other hand, asserted that it was against God’s law for any state to invoke divine authority or otherwise confuse the civil with the spiritual.
"All civil states with their officers of justice in their respective constitutions and administrations," wrote Williams, “are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual or Christian state and worship.”
Two visions of America: A Christian nation as defined by Justice Moore and his supporters – or a “haven for the cause of conscience” as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The choice is ours.
Click on the article to read what’s in between the ellipses.