I saw this article posted at Facebook this morning, and it was very interesting to read the comments. Of course, the subject of “Church and State” came up.
Bible Studies at the White House: Who’s Inside This Spiritual Awakening?
WASHINGTON – A spiritual awakening is underway at the White House.
Some of the most powerful people in America have been gathering weekly to learn more about God’s Word, and this Trump Cabinet Bible study is making history.
They’ve been called the most evangelical Cabinet in history – men and women who don’t mince words when it comes to where they stand on God and the Bible.
Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries told CBN News, “These are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture.”
They’re all handpicked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“I don’t think Donald Trump has figured out that he chained himself to the Apostle Paul,” Drollinger laughed.
Drollinger is a former NBA-playing giant of a man with an even bigger calling. He founded Capitol Ministries with the idea that if you change the hearts of lawmakers, then their Christian world view will guide them to make good policies.
He’s started Bible studies in 40 state capitols, a number of foreign capitols, teaches weekly studies in the U.S. House and Senate and now leads about a dozen members of President Trump’s Cabinet in weekly studies of the scriptures.
Read more to find out who attends; you might be surprised.
Anyway, as I said (above), it was very interesting to read the comments and join in the conversation. One of the people commenting is a distant relative, a retired state employee, a church goer, but a union member and a progressive. Probably not as far left as many, but from a small town and lives in the country.
Here is how the conversation went:
Relative: While I think this is good, I’m a former government (state) employee and because of constitutional separations of church and state, this would not be allowed.
Commenter 1: Not in the Constitution. Jefferson letters.
Relative: I stand corrected!
Commenter 2: lol the separation of church and state means that the government can’t force you to practice a religion. It doesn’t mean you are prohibited from having a bible study in a government facility.
Relative: Commenter 2, there is a lot of differences of opinion in that interpretation, hence many pu luv schools not allowing prayer.
Commenter 2: Relative, no it’s pretty clear friend. It’s been a manipulated statement that people hijack when it’s convenient and innocent uninformed people replay the recorder. 💚I’m sorry.
ME: CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
ME: FTA (Library of Congress): “The celebrated phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state,” was contained in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. American courts have used the phrase to interpret the Founders’ intentions regarding the relationship between government and religion. The words, “wall of separation,” appear just above the section of the letter that Jefferson circled for deletion. In the deleted section Jefferson explained why he refused to proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving, as his predecessors, George Washington and John Adams, had done. In the left margin, next to the deleted section, Jefferson noted that he excised the section to avoid offending “our republican friends in the eastern states” who cherished days of fasting and thanksgiving.” http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html#obj163a
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Religion and the Federal Government, Part 2
ME: Relative, Read my comment further down (same Library of Congress link). Jefferson (and other Presidents) attended church services in the House of Representatives for many years, and religious gatherings were held in other government facilities, including the Supreme Court. [For those following along, the text of that comment is shown below]
RELATIVE: I read it.
[NOTE: RELATIVE is ticked off.]
ME: Relative, Interesting, isn’t it?
RELATIVE: What is interesting is how these things have changed.
ME: Relative, Putting things into context. If Jefferson’s “wall between church and state” is still significant, isn’t the fact that he supported church services in the Capitol also significant?
RELATIVE: Not arguing, just observing that it’s no longer policy most places.
[RELATIVE is still ticked off, trying to regain control of the conversation. Epic fail.]
ME: I’m not arguing either. Just discussing.
My comment that I referred to, above:
ME: Did you know that church services were once held in the Capitol every Sunday?
FTA: “Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House–a practice that continued until after the Civil War–were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a “crowded audience.” Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.”
From the Library of Congress
“It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life,” Drollinger said. “They are so teachable; they’re so noble; they’re so learned.”