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Following the ouster of prayer in public schools in the 1960’s I don’t recall when secular forces began their quest to remove manger scenes from the public square. In their ignorant intolerance they used Thomas Jefferson’s * (whom they now decry!) letter of January 1, 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury Connecticut containing the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state” reassuring the Baptist that the government hands were tied from interfering with or in any way controlling the affairs or decisions of the churches in America. They used the wall phrase as a shoehorn into the constitution to turn freedom of religion into freedom from religion (note Thomas Jefferson never signed the constitution nor was he present at the constitutional conventions of 1787).

Over time they accomplished their goal: no manger scenes on public land -eventually, that leached out into – no saying Merry Christmas, no singing Christmas carols at school, no Bible reading at school and no writing reports about one’s faith in Jesus Christ. No crosses at certain cemeteries – no Ten Commandments on the wall – no Ten Commandments at the Mall!

Well, they’ve just about run out of Christian traditions and symbols to tear down or cast aside, so now they’ve come for America’s history in the form of statues and monuments – to a certain segment of the population for whom nothing is sacred. NOTHING!! is scared, not even life in the womb, police on the street, marriage, history, tradition, the Bible, the Church – But there is a common denominator: once we reject God as the cornerstone of life there is a no solid foundation upon which to build a life, a family or a nation – we can’t simply blame a godless culture for the state in which we find our country in 2017.  Each of us has played a part in the secularization of America. We’ve done it through apathy, compromise, capitulation and a spirit of rebellion against God and His word.

Three thousand years ago that same spirit rose in Israel. The prophet Samuel made his two sons judges but they were corrupt and dishonest (some swamps never drain!). The people asked for a king claiming distrust of the establishment as their reason. Yet their own words betrayed their real motive. They wanted a king like all the other nations. The Lord then showed Samuel the true reason behind Israel’s desire for a king: I Samuel 8:7, “they have rejected me that I should not reign over them”. I need to look into my own heart and life to examine where I have pushed God out: is it my time, my priorities, my devotion to prayer, study and meditation on the word, my thoughts, attitudes, sin, my attendance at church, have I given into my fears, worries, anxieties, stresses, negativism or my own will? The list is long but I must ask as others have: Is it me, Lord?

God has given us the freedom to choose -  we can accept or reject Him, heed or disregard His word, follow His leading, or wander off on our own! But choices have consequences. Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in 1781 and I think they are even more applicable today “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my county when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever”

First “they” came for the manger…now what?

*All Jefferson quotations from America’s God and Country by Wm. J. Federer published by Fame Publishing.

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