On January 1, 1802, in a letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, President Thomas Jefferson articulated his personal convictions concerning religious affairs in governmental matters,
“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.”
Herein lies the intrinsic and interwoven locus of Americanism—individualism. Individuals are free to choose their philosophy, system of tenets, or religious dogma as long as it doesn’t preclude the inalienable rights of the surrounding persons. However, though one is free to adhere to religious observances, using various textual or Scriptural authority to malign or even promote certain practices by the state and infringe upon those of a differing religiosity is nocuous, an impediment to freedom, and, from a Christian standpoint (if one so regards such as credible), immature and grossly specious.
US Attorney General, a member of the President’s cabinet and executive law enforcement officer under the commander-in-chief himself, Jeff Sessions justified the seizure of illegal immigrants along the border and their separation from children with Romans 13, stating,
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order…Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
His misusage of the Bible contradicts the Trump administration’s vehemence toward Obamacare, abortion, gun regulation, and foreign policy, all examples of laws legislated and implemented by the (wait for it) government. Even if these laws, such as abortion, are incoherent and logically fallacious, one must abide by, first the rule of God and, second, to the state, as the person ruling over the people is ordained by God (Rom. 13:1; Acts 5:29; 1 Pet. 2:17; Ex. 22:28; Dan. 2:21; Jn. 19:11; Hos. 13:11). These two entities (i.e. the church and the state), however, mustn’t be conflated to justify a secular institution’s laws or policies for convenience or to circumvent responsibility.
Furthermore, religion and inquisitiveness infused into the in vacuo heart of man desires, longs for purpose and truth; an answer for the divine and the mysterious. But needless to say, man has suppressed his premonitions of impending responsibility (i.e. the afterlife). Therefore, one must respond to the call of grace (Rom. 10:13). Though the Gospel transcends cultures, borders, and continents—and though conviction pricks the hearts of man (Acts 2:37; Heb. 4:12) regardless of social standing (Mk. 10:46; Jn. 19:11), education (Acts 4:13), or even age (1 Tim. 4:12)—an official or unofficial adoption of a religion by the state is antithetical to liberal/Western values and unconstitutional.