Updated: Jan 31
On July 4, 1776, a group of representatives from thirteen colonies got together in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and signed the Declaration of Independence. Religiously oppressed and economically over-taxed foreign nationals were separated from English domination. The supreme laws that guide the United States of America were written into the Constitution, created on September 17, 1787, and ratified on June 21, 1788.
As stated in Article 6 of the Constitution, in reference to the debts of the new nation and its abilities to make treaties and “Engagements,” all elected officials must swear an “Oath or Affirmation, to support the Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect. That bill presented Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; … etc., etc.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote of this Amendment, referring to it as “a wall of separation between church and State.” This has since been regarded, through legal decisions made by the Supreme Court of the United States, as an intended distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state.
The background setting was the European relationships between the Nation Church [either Roman Catholic or Anglican, led by a figurehead of Divine Guidance] and the Nation Government [led by a royal figure of Divine Birth]. The people of the European nations were thus restricted in power and voice.
Discontent with the European concept spawned a trend of Revolution. These were bloody affairs, which resulted in either divorce [the colonies’ legal disunion from Britain] or death [the French Revolution’s murder of royalty, usurping power]. In a sense, the United States of America was much like a divorcee to the crown of England; and France became a widow to its crown.
Was it a reign of terror or the rule of freedom fighters?
A “widow” is defined as, “A woman whose spouse has died and who has not remarried.”
In a way, the philosophy of “separation of church and State” symbolized the death of the parent State (England), when the United States of America was created. Dead was the marriage between Christ (Church) and King (State), leaving a “Widow State” here, where the vast majority of colonists were Christians, who were no longer married to the Church of England.
This means we, collectively as Americans, are represented by the “widow” of today’s parable reading. Keep that in mind.
Along this line of the widow who was always complaining to a judge, let me tell you about a man named Roy Moore.
Roy Moore was a judge for the State of Alabama. He was best known for his time serving as the Chief Justice for the Alabama Supreme Court.
Shortly after he was sworn in to that office, in January 2001, Roy Moore commissioned a 5,280 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments, to be placed in the central rotunda of the state judicial building. The monument was covered in quotes from the Declaration of Independence, the national anthem, quotes from various founding fathers, and the first Ten Commandments received by Moses, from God, as stated in the Book of Exodus.
The monument was dedicated on August 1, 2001.
On October 30, 2001, a lawsuit was filed to have the monument removed.
On November 18, 2002, a federal U.S. District Judge declared that the monument violated the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and was thereby unconstitutional.
On July 1, 2003, that court’s decision was upheld; and on August 27, 2003 the monument was moved to a non-public side room in the judicial building.
In this path of removal, Chief Justice Roy Moore refused to comply with the orders of other courts, and he was suspended, pending an inquiry of his ethics.
On November 13, 2003, the panel found Moore had violated the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics, and he was immediately removed from his position.
One could say that a divorce between religion [in particular Christianity] and the government of the United States of America was final on that day of removal, although this “widow” went kicking and screaming … and then came back to complain some more.
The widow is back to complain some more.
The reading from Jeremiah today focuses again on the exile of the Jews in Babylon. God had watched Judah and Israel “pluck up and break down, overthrow, destroy, and bring evil” upon their Nation States. They would die for their sins, and “the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.”
If you remember back several weeks ago, we read about the good vine and the wild grapes.
Those who eat sour grapes are those who have strayed from the good vine. Their teeth are on edge because they are angry about the way their lives are going. No one knows right from wrong any more. The people get lost in the shuffle. It used to be right believing one way, but all of a sudden that way becomes the wrong way. It is confusion that gets nations overrun and its people scattered and captive.
“Do we honor our government over our God?” the people ask.
The State says, “Yes.” It has judged it to be so.
The lesson of Jeremiah is that God said He was the husband to Israel [both houses], but they divorced God by breaking His Covenant and no longer teaching it through such things as National monuments and Constitutional laws.
The good news of Jeremiah, when applied to our present, is that God will not forsake us, although we still have to pay the price of sin. God will use our self-caused misery to lead us back to Him, so that we will be more obedient believers, when hard lessons are written on the hearts of the children of suffering.
God will forgive those who continue maintaining the Covenant, with minor alterations made – such as you can no longer live where I promised you could live. Now, you have to go out into the world and serve me.
The message of Psalm 119 says it all when it begins, “Oh, how I love your law!”
Love is an emotion of the heart, which means the Law is written within … in our hearts, not out heads (where philosophy lurks).
Paul wrote to Timothy telling him, “All scripture is inspired by God,” and those “sacred writings are able to instruct for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The written word teaches, but the inner voice enlightens us to understand everything to the point of going out and acting from faith.
Paul encouraged Timothy to “be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable.” We are told to “convince” and “rebuke,” “with the utmost patience in teaching.”
Paul warned, “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.”
Can you imagine that? It is not hard, is it?
Our government celebrates ineptitude. Sound doctrine is not written so complexly that plain folk cannot understand it. It should not be written so that individuals must pray for guidance understanding the specifics. Sound doctrine does not need lawyers to explain the meaning of the words or bog the legal system down with lawsuits of insincere origin.
“You have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.”
Itching ears means people are tired of hearing the same ole same ole. Tell me something new and exciting. Tell me a new craze that can be incorporated into the way we do business. Don’t tell us about regulations … how about some de-regulating?
Seeking those who teach to suit the needs of those paying the teachers means the education system will be tainted by the philosophies that lead one away from their religion, to acceptance … to ignorance … to complacency. This allows unjust judges to rise over the populace, setting a path to ruin for everyone.
The trend has long been to take us away from the truth … much longer that the United States has been in existence. In fact, the United States can be seen as a result of being led away from the truth and wandering upon the notion that “All Men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” … through Governments instituted by Men.
While the Declaration of Independence also says, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to the Ends [of allowing Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish, and to institute a new Government.”
Try that today and find out just how much a myth that is … as it is forbidden by law.
We have wandered into areas that cause us to forget what the cornerstone of our written law is.
It is not the Ten Amendments [now 27], but the Ten Commandments.
As a reflection of this wandering, on November 6, 2012 Roy Moore was re-elected as Alabama Chief Justice.
If he was deemed unethical to hold that post before, how could he be redeemed? Did he recant his religious beliefs?
Regardless of the reasons, one has to wonder if this is an example of the widow crying out for justice. The widow is Roy Moore, who has never given up his political desires in Alabama.
Was his re-election a sign of God’s reward for his patience?
Or, was it a case of the system saying, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this Roy Moore keeps bothering me, I will grant him re-election, so that he may not wear me out by continually trying to get on a ballot.”?