Rep. Harris (R-Fla.) on Church and State
David E. Guinn
davideguinn at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 28 11:25:05 PDT 2006
I am curious as to what purpose this email is supposed to serve. It certainly cannot be intended to persuade anyone as it offers nothing but a proof text from an authority persuasive only to a narrow group of believers who happen to interpret the proof text in the same way.
----- Original Message -----
From: debra.cook at comcast.net
To: chaplaingate at yahoo.com ; Law & Religion issues for Law Academics ; UCLA Law Class
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 1:11 PM
Subject: RE: Rep. Harris (R-Fla.) on Church and State
God is absolutely in control.
"By me kings reign
and rulers decree justice
By me princes rule, and nobles
all the judges of the earth." Proverbs 8:15-16 (NKJV)
-------------- Original message --------------
From: Gordon James Klingenschmitt <chaplaingate at yahoo.com>
Although I'm not a lawyer, I am working on my PhD in Theology, and of course my Navy Chaplain issues put me at the intersection of church and state...so perhaps I'm qualified to comment on Senator-candidate Katherine Harris' comments about "separation" and legislating "God's will."
1) I said essentially the same thing as Ms. Harris in my 1999 interview with US News and World Report (paraphrased from my memory): "Many Americans want to elect politicians who legislate tolerance of sin, just so they won't have to forsake their favorite sins. But God will never make sin legal. Won't it be tragic one day, when American citizens stand before God to be judged, and say 'but I thought that was legal...' and discover (too late) that God disagrees. Government's highest duty then, is to pass laws God agrees with, lest it do its citizens an eternal disservice."
2) Many anti-Christians quote "separation of church and state" as if that somehow means Christians aren't allowed to vote. But we who share Christian values have just as much right to vote, lobby, advocate, publish, and legislate our values as any other citizens. Liberals often use the phrase "separation" as a means to intimidate and silence Christian voters from fully participating. But we will not be silenced, nor should we be intimidated.
3) The First Amendment doesn't prohibit the legislation of "Christian" laws, any more than it prohibits the legislation of "Muslim" values or "Atheist" values or "Sandy Levinson's" values. Theoretically we could organize and legislate the Ten Commandments directly into the U.S. Constitution, if we had 2/3rd of Senators and 3/4 of the States to vote them in. Perhaps that would anger anti-Christian voters, but then we're angered by their pro-abortion/pro-homosexual laws too.
4) President Bush shouldn't disown her comments, rather it's possible he agrees with her theology. Here's a clip from 1999 interview of Meet The Press:
MR. RUSSERT: Reverend Land, The Washington Post reported this: "'I believe God wants me to be president,' the Rev. Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, quoted George Bush as saying." When did George Bush tell you that?
DR. RICHARD LAND: Well, he told me that--he told a group of us that the day he was inaugurated for his second term as governor of the state in 1999.
5) I disagree theologically, however, with both of them, if they believe as Katherine Harris says, 'God is the one who chooses our rulers.' There's ample evidence to the contrary, that the Devil himself often chooses our rulers, and evil morals are legislated by those who campaign (and win) on platforms announcing their intention to legislate the devil's will. Some wrongly assume all "American" laws are the same as "God's" laws. But God himself disagrees with many American laws on the books, for example, the new Navy policy that prohibits chaplains from praying "in Jesus name" outside the chapel. Our duty is always to fight the devil, and his laws.
6) When American law conflicts with God's law, Christians have a duty to disobey human law, and obey God's law. Our duty toward civil disobedience has been recognized by great Americans throughout history, for example Martin Luther King, Patrick Henry, the Founding Fathers (Declaration of Independence) etc.
7) The very notion of our 3-branch system of Government (President, Congress, Courts) came from the Bible, and is patterned after God's personality, from Isaiah 33:22: "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us." We must therefore vote what God has told our conscience to legislate, what we know is right, and we must never legislate evil. If our government ceases to reflect God's personality, woe to us all, for the devil's tyranny will become a heavy yoke upon our necks, and true Christian Liberty will be lost forever.
Gordon James Klingenschmitt
Sanford Levinson <SLevinson at law.utexas.edu> wrote:
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 16:28:48 -0500
From: "Sanford Levinson" <SLevinson at law.utexas.edu>
To: "Law & Religion issues for Law Academics" <religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu>
Subject: RE: Rep. Harris (R-Fla.) on Church and State
So what will the Bushes do? Is she going to be the second Republican senatorial candidate to be disowned? But the Democratic candidate is scarcely so compatible to Republicans as Joe Lieberman.
Incidentally, given her apparent belief that God casts the relevant vote in all elections, will she interpret her own likely repudiation by the voters of Florida as a sign that God may actually support separation?
Rep. Harris Condemns Separation of Church, State
By Jim Stratton
Saturday, August 26, 2006; A09
ORLANDO, Aug. 25 -- Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular laws" and that the separation of church and state is a "lie we have been told" to keep religious people out of politics.
"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She cited abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of that sin.
Harris, a candidate in the Sept. 5 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said her religious beliefs "animate" everything she does, including her votes in Congress.
Witness editors interviewed candidates for office, asking them to describe their faith and their positions on certain issues.
Harris has always professed a deep Christian faith. But she has rarely expressed such a fervent evangelical perspective publicly.
Political and religious officials responded to her published remarks with outrage and dismay.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said she was "disgusted" by the comments "and deeply disappointed in Representative Harris personally."
Harris, Wasserman Schultz said, "clearly shows that she does not deserve to be a representative."
Ruby Brooks, a veteran Tampa Bay Republican activist, said Harris's remarks "were offensive to me as a Christian and a Republican."
"This notion that you've been chosen or anointed, it's offensive," Brooks said. "We hurt our cause with that more than we help it."
Harris told the journalists "we have to have the faithful in government" because that is God's will. Separating religion and politics is "so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," she said.
"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women," then "we're going to have a nation of secular laws. That's not what our Founding Fathers intended, and that certainly isn't what God intended."
Harris campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Marks would not answer questions about the Harris interview. Instead, she released a two-sentence statement.
"Congresswoman Harris encourages Americans from all walks of life and faith to participate in our government," it stated. "She continues to be an unwavering advocate of religious rights and freedoms."
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