Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) recently told worshippers at a religious service, “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.”

She added, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution.”

While it is true that the government is not supposed to direct the church, the idea that the church is supposed to direct the government is totally wrong from any reading of our nation’s history.

The Constitution’s only mention of religion is in Article Six: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

This doesn’t sound like the Founding Fathers wanted Christians, or any religious tradition, to control government.

Boebert couldn’t have been reading the First Amendment to the Constitution, because it clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The Founding Fathers were very clear that there was to be no established religion in America. This country was not founded on religion but on reason and the value of all persons (although that took a good many years to flesh out regarding enslaved Africans, women, Indigenous people and many others).

The indisputable truth is that our Founding Fathers were vehemently opposed to any official relationship between church and state, government and religion.

Look up Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams or Benjamin Franklin regarding their thoughts on “the church directing the government,” and you will clearly see that they considered this the greatest threat to democracy in America.

They knew that the rest of the world had religion intertwined with government and that it was disastrous for both. They did not believe that democracy could survive in America without the separation of church and state.

In fact, Jefferson – in his 1802 letter to the Baptist association in Danbury, Connecticut, – went so far as to characterize the First Amendment establishment and free exercise clauses as “building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Today, U.S. democracy is under threat again, and the biggest danger our country faces to remaining a democratic republic is overzealous Christians who want “the church to direct the government.”

If they succeed, America will not survive as a free nation because Christian nationalism is neither Christian nor patriotic. In reality, it’s evil.

I respect Christians, Jews, Muslims and any religious person holding deep convictions about their faith. However, when they seek to use government to enforce their particular religious beliefs on others, then they are destroying the nation our Founding Fathers intended when this country was formed.

An America controlled by the Religious Right will have no public school system. It will have no freedom for anyone to live a lifestyle that is different than their narrow definition of family and sexuality. Americans will lose basic civil and human rights.

James McHenry reported the following exchange during the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin, Well Doctor, ‘What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’ – ‘A republic,’ replied Doctor, ‘if you can keep it.’”

It seems that the situation we’re now facing is whether we’ll be able to keep our democratic republic or find our country transformed into a theocracy run by a small group of conservative Christians.

We must support the Constitution and the First Amendment as well as a free faith not intertwined with government.

Government controlled by any religion is a government that no longer guarantees freedom for its citizens, regardless of which religion is doing the controlling.

It’s bad for Christianity and it’s bad for America.

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