Austin Cline writes at Austin’s Atheism Blog:
There are a couple of serious flaws with Ramundoâ€˜s argument here. First, no one seriously argues that many of Americaâ€™s founders had strong religious beliefs. What is argued is, first, they werenâ€™t always motivated by religious beliefs that were identical to the beliefs of conservative evangelical Christians today and, second, that being motivated by religious beliefs is not the same as trying to create a government that is based upon religious beliefs. It is strange that people like Ramundo would fail to consider the possibility that devout Christians might want to establish a national government where religious doctrines play no role.Â
Here is the response that I wrote:
I would like to submit some thoughts for the consideration of both the author of this article and the passer-by.
Christianity is a comprehensive worldview. It is rooted in the teachings of Moses; and clarified and fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Bible has teaching that apply to every area of life.
This is the implication – if the founders really had deep religious beliefs as the author acknowledges, it would be impossible for those beliefs not to inform the way they formed a government. At least it would be impossible if those beliefs were Biblical and Christian.
I agree that the founders had the wisdom to recognize the importance of separating the institution of church and the institution of state. This institutional separation does not, however, forbid the building of government upon beliefs derived from a Christian worldview. It only seeks to separate institutions of authority.
In the old Testament there is a story where King Uzziah entered the temple to burn incense*. The priests confronted him with the fact that it was not his role to do so!
Uzziah became angry and God struck him with leprosy! I suspect that God knew the danger of blurring the lines between religious institutional role & authority and the role & authority of civil government. However, the same Bible is filled with ideas about civil government!
Summary: The institution of church should not be confused or blurred with the institution of state; but this does not exclude the benefits of applying Biblical Christian ideas to civil government, nor does it need to prevent the state acknowledging God.
* II Chronicles 26:16-21