Today a wave of protest is brewing because of the actions of the Mayor of Houston Texas, Annise Parker. Mayor Parker demanded the sermons of 5 pastors in Houston. Days later she changed her mind and is now demanding copies of all five of the pastor’s speeches.
In the State of Idaho, and other states, ministers may soon be forced to preform gay marriages against their beliefs. Citing the 1st amendment, and the quote of Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of church-state,” the churches claim that neither the State of Idaho or the City of Houston have the legal right to demand that their religious beliefs be violated. To understand the phrase “Separation of Church and State” we need to read the letter written by Jefferson and see what he said.
To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802.
To add to the understanding of the intent of the Constitution, we have the veto of two bills, H.R. 155 and H.R. 170 by President James Madison, in February of 1811, with his explanation.
Veto Act on Incorporating the Alexandria Protestant Episcopal Church (February 21, 1811)
Having examined and considered the Bill, entitled “An Act incorporating the protestant Episcopal Church in the Town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia,” I now return the Bill to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, with the following objections.
Because the Bill exceeds the rightful authority, to which Governments are limited by the essential distinction between Civil and Religious functions, and violates, in particular, the Article of the Constitution of the United States which declares, that “Congress shall make no law respecting a Religious establishment.” The Bill enacts into, and establishes by law, sundry rules and proceedings relative purely to the organization and polity of the Church incorporated, and comprehending even the election and removal of the Minister of the same, so that no change could be made therein, by the particular Society, or by the General Church of which it is a member, and whose authority it recognizes. This particular Church, therefore, would so far be a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration. Nor can it be considered that the articles thus established, are to be taken as the descriptive criteria only, of the corporate identity of the Society, in as much as this identity, must depend on other characteristics, as the regulations established are generally unessential and alterable, according to the principles and cannons, by which Churches of that denomination govern themselves, and as the injunctions & prohibitions contained in the regulations would be enforced by the penal consequences applicable to a violation of them according to the local law.
Because the Bill vests in the said incorporated Church, an authority to provide for the support of the poor, and the education of poor children of the same, an authority, which being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precedent for giving to religious Societies as such, a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty.
President Jame Madison
President Madison understood the intent of the first amendment, there would be no state church, and no church would be controlled by the state, defining what you could believe or how you could worship. This has worked for over one hundred fifty years. What has changed, why does the mayor of Houston Texas and the federal government believe they can demand preachers to bend their knee, and submit to the government? President Madison warned that an incorporated church would be governed by the rules established by the law of corporation. “The Bill enacts into, and establishes by law, sundry rules and proceedings.” He goes on to warn that the church would be subject to penalties, “And as the injunctions & prohibitions contained in the regulations would be enforced by the penal consequences applicable to a violation of them according to the local law.”
In direct violation of the prohibition of the 1st amendment, our federal government led by then Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson, in 1954, successfully changed the 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation laws to include religious organizations, the church. Today any 501(c)(3) incorporated church is bound by the legal contract they made with the government . They were to receive certain defined benefits, mainly protection of personal property from law suits against the corporation and IRS acknowledgment. What they surrendered was the “wall” that separated them from the government. A corporation is an artificial creation of the government, and is ruled by the laws of the state in which the corporation is formed. This explains why at many 501(c)(3) church weddings the pastor ends the ceremony with the words “By the power invested in me by the state of _________ I now pronounce you……”
For those of you who attend an incorporated 501(c)(3) church, perhaps you should read a warning that God gave the Israelites,
Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee.
When you incorporate, you are bound by your signature on the corporate agreement. The 501c3 rules and regulations are administered and monitored by the IRS. You have partnered with the IRS for as long as the corporation exists, which means they do have a say in how their corporation is run and what it can and cannot do. This also includes all who donate to the 501c3 church, meaning your donations fall under the rules of the corporation and could be subject to IRS scrutiny. Under the present administration of President Obama, we have entered a “Brave New World” of religious intolerance of expression and worship. Many are finally becoming aware, hopefully not to late. If you don’t want the government involved with your personal religious beliefs, don’t incorporate.