On October 18th, NowThis tweeted about the Trump administration’s recent affirmation of the idea that “Christianity is key to good government.” They simultaneously countered this affirmation by adding “despite that whole separation of church and state thing.”
First of all, the separation of church and state has nothing to do with the concept of Christianity being important to government. Disregarding the fact that the concept isn’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution itself, the First Amendment does state that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Therefore, you cannot be told what religion to follow, nor that you should follow one in the first place. However, that does not mean that government officials can’t express explicit faith in the values of their religion or another’s.
Regardless, Christianity has been a cultural force in every government since its inception. When Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion of Rome, it destabilized the nation. Citizens, prior to this declaration, were indoctrinated into believing the Emperor of Rome was a supernatural and divine being, an all-knowing and all-powerful entity. When the citizens of Rome were made to follow Christianity, they realized that he simply wasn’t. Today, Christianity plays the same role in our culture, albeit without the legal aspect. Christianity reminds Americans that the government is not the arbiter of the universe and simply cannot solve every problem presented, no matter the size, or the order.
At a speech at the University of Notre Dame’s law school, Attorney General Barr stated: “[of secularism] Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery.”
A Christian non-profit organization called Faithful America filed a complaint against his remarks on religious liberty, saying his comments violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. Whether Barr actually violated that oath is up for discussion, but to dismiss the idea that secularism has hurt the “traditional moral order,” as he puts it, is intellectually dishonest.
Secular ethics, specifically humanist ethics, have led to some of the arguably worst principles in the last century. Moral relativism, for example, is a product of humanist ethics. Moral relativism, as the name implies, states that all morals are relative, that each person has a separate moral code and that no specific code is wrong. Under moral relativism, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a moral theory like Adolf Hitler’s.
Moral relativists would likely believe there is something inherently wrong with the carrying out of his moral theory, of course. However, there’s nothing wrong, according to a moral relativist, with a moral theory that puts forth the idea that there is a race superior to all others, and that those inferior races ought to be exterminated in the name of purity.
On the other hand, Judeo-Christian moral theory puts forth the idea that all life is sacred, and that there is no justifiable reason to take away that life unless under special circumstances. Judeo-Christian moral theory puts forth the idea that all men are equal, and therefore there is no justifiable reason to treat any one man better or worse than another.
Judeo-Christian moral theory simultaneously promotes the idea of moral objectivism, the idea that there is a correct moral code and there are incorrect or wrong moral codes. This moral theory is what led the people of the United States through the Second World War, the idea of good, moral Americans fighting immoral German Nazis. If we were to drop and pick up this moral theory at will, we would be hypocrites at best.
In short, Barr, Trump, and other Trump officials have a historical, and, ironically, a moral duty to explain and promote the importance of Christianity in government. Without it, the United States simply would not be the bastion of democracy it is today.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.