television or goes to the movies regularly can’t help but be
aware of the rising tide of anti-Christian sentiment in America. It
is apparent in almost every aspect of our culture, including our
Negative views of Christians and Christianity are particularly
blatant in the media. Believers are generally seen as religious
fanatics who use their faith as an excuse for being hate-mongers. But
the truth is, most believers do not fit this description at all.
Perhaps worse than our poor reputation is the ground we have lost in
public arenas—schools, for example. Though Christians cannot pray
in public schools because of rulings regarding the separation of
church and state, religious practices associated with Wicca and yoga
are accepted in this setting.
Something is terribly wrong! How do we stem this anti-Christian
We must begin by acknowledging that we are partly to blame.
Because we as believers have been silent and separated from society
we have, perhaps unwittingly, allowed some of the anti-Christian
sentiment to develop.
The church, for the most part, has kept silent, while those with
other agendas have spoken out in a loud voice. We have insulated
ourselves within our four walls and fortressed ourselves against the
ills of society. Some branches of the church have even come to
believe that the separation of church and state in America is a godly
state of affairs.
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
The problem is
that most Christians don’t understand what our Founding Fathers
actually meant by the separation of church and state. The first
amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free
Broad, sweeping suppositions have been made from this statement
that have ultimately resulted in the complete separation of church
and state. That was not the result our forefathers intended! They
were trying to prevent the establishment of a state church such as
the one from which they had fled. They wanted freedom of religion,
not freedom from religion.
The whole separation of church and state concept, as David Barton
points out in his book Original Intent, stems from a letter written
by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury,
Connecticut, on January 1, 1802. Jefferson wrote:
“Religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his
God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship;
that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not
opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that 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 and State.”
Jefferson had no intention, Barton claims, of allowing the
government to limit, restrict, regulate or interfere with public
religious practice. He believed that God, not government, was the
Author and Source of our rights and that the government was to be
prevented from interfering with those rights.
But because of the current wave of anti-Christian sentiment in our
country, Jefferson’s nine-word phrase referring to a wall between
church and state has been twisted out of context and used to limit,
restrict, regulate and even interfere with religious practice in the
public schools and universities of our nation. In fact, recent
rulings have caused even the mention of God in prayer at graduation
services to be prohibited (Lee v. Weisman).
Prayer cannot be offered at football games in public schools
unless it is student initiated (Jane Doe v. Sante Fe Independent
Prayer in general has been removed from our schools. How the
founders of this nation would be astounded and grieved to see what
has happened to the nation they birthed in prayer and gave their
lives to set free!
We, the church, are suffering greatly from the absence of
Christian influence in our society. Our nation and children are
suffering because of our years of apathy.
WHO’S TO BLAME?
We need to take a look at
ourselves. The Bible says that judgment must begin “at the house
of God” (see 1 Pet. 4:17).
Has the church become a lifeless, religious institution? Have we
given society a reason to hate us?
We need to ask ourselves what type of example we’ve been of the
model Christian. Have we been there for those who are dying of AIDS?
Do we care for the hurting in the homosexual community?
It is a sad indictment on believers that many of the social
justice concerns in the nation are being addressed by those in the
gay community. Have we really been salt and light in our communities
so that people can see the face of Jesus in our actions?
Not long ago I was celebrating a birthday party with friends at a
restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colo. At one point I stopped to ask
the waitress if I could pray for her. I told her she looked tired and
asked if she had had a hard day.
The waitress replied that it was Sunday and that the Christians
who came into the restaurant were often difficult. She admitted that
the waiters and waitresses had a saying that the Christians went to
church and repented so they could come into the restaurant and act
their worst with them!
I was embarrassed and told her how sorry I was. Sadly, that was
not the first time I had heard a similar story in my own city, which
houses around 135 Christian ministries. As Christians we should be
solution providers, not problem makers!
WHAT WE CAN DO
Part of the solution, of
course, is prayer. The Lord recently convicted me for not praying for
the salvation of the homosexual community and loving homosexuals as I
However, praying is not the end of our responsibility. We need to
stand up for righteousness in our nation.
Finding the balance between being loving while still speaking out
against unrighteousness can sometimes be difficult. But this must not
stop us from holding the belief system revealed through our nation’s
laws up to the plumb line of God’s Word.
In order to stem the anti-Christian tide we are going to have to
become reformers. One of the reasons the tide has been able to sweep
the nation in the first place is that believers have been silent. We
were silent when prayer was taken out of our schools in 1962 and when
Bible reading was eliminated in 1967. Now subsequent generations are
suffering from our silence.
“To reform” means “to amend that which is
defective, vicious, corrupt or depraved.” There is much that is
defective and depraved in our society today. In order to change it we
must act as standard bearers who are not afraid of being criticized
for supporting measures that are completely counter to today’s
Consider Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ. I read
an entertainment magazine that “predicted” Gibson would
lose his fortune and his reputation if he proceeded with his plans to
release the film to the public.
However, the April 5, 2004, edition of People magazine
reported that the movie was a monumental success and that nearly 45
percent of Americans have either seen the film or intend to,
according to a March 2004 Gallup poll. Box office earnings defied all
expectations, having reached an astonishing $300 million by the time
the magazine was published.
I don’t know whether Gibson looks upon himself as a reformer, but
the type of courageous stance he took is what is necessary to stem
the tide of anti-Christian sentiment in the media. The success of his
movie has stunned those in Hollywood who assumed that the nation has
an appetite for more perverse fare.
What can we as individuals do to reform the nation? First of all,
don’t be afraid to speak up for righteousness. When I see an
objectionable magazine at the counter of a store I ask to speak to
the manager and in a nice way tell him it is objectionable to me. The
managers have been kind and courteous each time I have done this and
have removed the magazines from the stands.
Where would the civil rights movement be without Martin Luther
King, who wasn’t afraid to be heard, or Rosa Parks, who refused to go
to the back of the bus? While we esteem these reformers, we need to
do more than simply honor their acts; we need to go and do likewise!
Second, teach your children to be bold and unafraid to speak out
against unrighteousness in their schools. My son, Daniel, debated the
school librarian on the subject of evolution when he was 12 years
old. He told her he objected to the books in the library that
presented evolution as a fact but did not even mention creation
science. As a result of his action, books on creation science were
added to his public school library.
Second, don’t insulate yourself by spending time only with
Christians. Get involved in community affairs. Volunteer at schools,
run for local school boards and write letters to the editors of your
newspaper when there are objectionable articles. Just make sure you
do what you do in a kind manner.
Finally, with elections coming up soon in the United States, it is
critical that we realize one major way to stem the anti-Christian
sentiment in our society is through the officials we elect. We need
to understand that we are voting not for a party but for ideals.
Here are some questions to consider before you vote:
Where do the candidates stand on the issue of same-sex
•Are they advocates for the rights of the
•Will they appoint judges who rely on a clear biblical
basis for their decisions, or who have an agenda that would grieve
•Where do they stand on the issue of prayer in school?
God let me know recently that He considers voting a spiritual
exercise. Why? Because the Bible says that “righteousness exalts
a nation” (Prov. 14:34). If we chooseunrighteous leaders to
govern the nation then we will be accountable to God.
Remember, there is not a perfect political party, but we will be
held responsible for which party we put in power. Our choice may
cause our family or others we love to turn against us. However, when
Jesus went to the cross and died for us, He had to lay down all
I have often heard it said that the only way evil will prevail is
for good people to do nothing. Perhaps it is time to take up our
cross and follow the example of Christ for the sake of righteousness.
About the author: Cindy Jacobs is co-founder with her husband, Mike, of Generals of Intercession (generals.org) and founder of the United States
Reformation Prayer Network.