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Jesse Jackson: 'Right-Wing' Christians Have no Role in Government

 

5/1/2005 9:30:00 AM by David E. Smith, IFI Senior Policy Anaylst - IL Family Inst

 

In his most recent column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Jesse Jackson once again criticized "right wing" evangelicals for their support of Biblical morality and overwhelming support for President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees.

 

According to Jackson, "[D]emanding courts enforce one set of religious beliefs and claiming any who dare oppose that are against ‘faith’ is bad theology and bad democracy."

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't Jackson, excuse me, the Reverend Jackson, used his church, his title and his influence as a national spiritual leader to advance social change in America? Are not his actions and philosophy based on his religious beliefs? Why is it then when “right wing” Christians act on their belief system that the Reverend considers it to be "bad theology" and "bad democracy?"

 

(By the way, Rev. Jackson, we live in a "republic," not a "democracy.")

 

In his editorial piece, Jackson goes on to teach us a little history. He tells Sun-Times readers "[T]his is why the founding fathers, seeking to protect America’s freedoms, made the establishment of any one church unconstitutional."

 

Exactly what church does Jackson think was being established in the recent debate on judicial filibusters? Is he pointing to the Catholic Church, or perhaps the Southern Baptist Church, Christian Reformed Church or maybe the Missouri Synod Lutherans?

 

What Jackson and other liberals such as Illinois' U.S. Senator Dick Durbin fail to understand is the First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing and institutionalizing any particular religion or denomination. It does not prohibit American citizens with religious beliefs from practicing or promoting their beliefs as public policy. In fact, it is the First Amendment that protects that right. The Reverend Jesse Jackson of all people should be able to appreciate that.

 

In our Republic, United States senators are elected to represent the ideals, values and opinions of the people of their states. We, as those people they represent, have a right to expect government -- be it via legislation or rules that regulate their existence -- to reflect those values.

 

Christians, be they liberal or conservative, have a right to their collective voice. If Jackson, Durbin or other liberals truly believe in the First Amendment’s purpose, they must yield to the “free exercise of religion” clause, which guarantees liberty to religious individuals (and non-religious people), the “right to peaceably assembly” clause, which allows likeminded folks to form corporately, and the “right to petition the government for a redress of grievances” clause, which -- to wrap it all up -- permits us to challenge the government for change.

 

In other words, Rev. Jackson, right-wingers have just as much right to influence their government as left-wingers do. Simply because we’ve been more effective in having some of our values implemented shouldn't cause concern or be interpreted as an ominous sign for our nation. Rather, having God-worshipping people involved in the process positively indicates that our government of the people, by the people and for the people is still working, and working well.

 

 

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