In good times and bad, government is foundational to society. And that is how God intended it. In fact, God ordained three institutions—the family, the church and civil government.
Scripture tells us to respect and obey government authorities and ordinances, and to live honorably within our communities. Local, state, federal—Christ carries “the government upon His shoulders” (Cf. Isaiah 9:6) and carefully determines those in authority (see Romans 13), whose role is to punish evildoers.
Yet in today’s highly politicized environment, society’s immorality eventually becomes engrained in government institutions. When this happens, the government institutions, if allowed, become agents of immorality and unbiblical thinking. Every day, headlines splash across our screens announcing legislation that further threatens the sanctity of marriage and the very definitions of male and female, the lives of the unborn and the infirm, and the freedom of Christians to follow the convictions of their faith in public.
Meanwhile, left-leaning activists, atheist groups and bureaucrats have steadily pushed Biblical principles to the periphery of the public square, often using the argument of separation of church and state far beyond what the founders envisioned.
Michael Berry, chief of staff for First Liberty Institute, which specializes in religious liberty cases nationwide, tells Decision that the majority of the cases his law firm tackles stem from a misinterpretation of the Establishment Clause.
“I get contacted regularly by military chaplains, for example, who are told by their commanders that they’re not allowed to pray in the Name of God,” Berry says, adding that it is a violation of constitutional and federal law for any person in the military to try to censor chaplains from speaking according to their beliefs.
Increasingly, First Liberty and other Christian law firms have found themselves defending religious freedom in the military, in public schools, and even in private workplaces.
Liberal-progressive courts have been able to gradually indoctrinate the American public, using ignorance or misunderstanding to their advantage.
Indoctrination is often subtle—slowly seeping into society through deceptively named legislation and misinformed public opinion.
In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called Equality Act, which would codify sexual orientation and gender identity into the same protected class as religion, age or race, and could threaten religious institutions’ freedom to exercise their beliefs. Although the bill has stalled in the Republican-led Senate, the outcome of the 2020 elections could change that.
David Closson, director of Christian ethics and Biblical worldview at Family Research Council, calls the Equality Act pedagogical, meaning it aims to teach. A clearer form of mass indoctrination is hard to find.
“Within each law, there is a morality that is contained, that’s being foisted upon the American people. If you listen to the rhetoric around the Equality Act, many liberal bureaucrats claim that you’re bigoted or you hate LGBT people if you don’t support this bill. That’s a covert way of forcing their version of morality on to the American people.”
And while ignorance of our country’s Constitution is concerning, more alarming is the lack of American adults who view the world through the lens of Scripture.
According to Closson, only 7% of Americans hold a Biblical worldview.
“That means that many of our neighbors, our friends, the people that we go to church with, do not think biblically about major issues,” he says.
Closson argues that rampant Biblical illiteracy plays a large role in society’s overall indoctrination into an unbiblical worldview.
For example, a 2019 Barna study revealed that just 5% of Americans consider themselves “Bible-centered,” engaging with Scripture on a regular basis and allowing it to shape their choices. Uncoincidentally, support for same-sex marriage among white evangelical Protestants has grown 18% over the last 15 years, according to the Pew Research Center, with 39% now in favor of it.
“As Christians, we need to be honest and look at our society,” says Closson. “If only 7% of people understand culture and public policy from a Christian perspective, we need to step back and realize the vast majority of people don’t understand our basic convictions and presuppositions.”
Berry concedes that in the last several decades, those with an agenda to promote a version of the Constitution inconsistent with what our founders believed have been very successful in feeding people false information.
“But Christians should not feel that they have to hide who they are or what their beliefs are,” he says. “The Constitution remains strong, despite various threats to it. We, as Christians, need to do a better job of teaching people what God’s truth is, as well as teaching people what the Constitution actually says and means.”
And 2020 brings a brief opportunity to change the tide by protecting Biblical values and voting for God-honoring representatives.
Closson argues that the fight to combat unbiblical indoctrination begins in the church.
“Christians need to be going to Bible-believing churches, where God’s Word is preached expositionally,” he says. “There is no ‘thus saith the Lord’ on marginal tax rates or the capital gains tax. But on the issue of life, on the issue of marriage, there’s a clear ‘thus saith the Lord.’ The Bible is clear. And we need to make sure people of faith who profess to believe the Bible know what the Bible actually says.”
And in educating people about Scriptural authority in their lives, Closson explains, we also need to show people how they can put that faith into action.
God created government to be a force for good and a restraint on evil in society. Yet sin-laden humans have distorted that original purpose to feed their own selfish desires.
One remedy is for God’s people to take a stand by fulfilling their God-given duty to vote their values. Another is to live those values daily as a testimony to Christ.
“Christians are not called to live in fear,” Berry says. “We’re called to be bold and courageous. We’re called to be a light unto the world.”