Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Do You Believe in Separation of Church and State?

The Church of God – Sarah Palin’s church – explicitly does not.  

The Church of God issued the following statement after the infamous sign outside one of their churches in  Jonesville, SC this April read: “Obama Osama.  Hummmm… Are they Brothers?”


Statement Regarding Jonesville, South Carolina Church of God

The Church of God (Cleveland, TN) makes no endorsement in political campaigns, whether on

the state, local, or federal level. We encourage our local congregations to follow a similar path.

Any endorsement, direct or implied, made by a local church is regrettable and is not supported by Church of God. To our knowledge the sign has been removed. While we do support a government based upon Biblical principles and we encourage our members to participate in the political process based upon their personal convictions, the single goal and purpose of the Church of God is the furtherance of the ministry of the gospel.

For tax purposes they caveat their statement, but the emphasis added (mine) says it all: “we do support agovernment based upon Biblical principles”.  America doesn’t support agovernment based upon Biblical principles, but Palin’s church does.

Pastor Roger Byrd said that he had just wanted to get people thinking. He said that the message wasn’t meant to be racial or political.

“It’s simply to cause people to realize and to see what possibly could happen if we were to get someone in there that does not believe in Jesus Christ,” he said.

When asked if he believes that Barack Obama is Muslim, Byrd said, “I don’t know. See it asks a question: Are they brothers? In other words, is he Muslim? I don’t know. He says he’s not. I hope he’s not. But I don’t know.”

“Wasn’t meant to be racial or political”, just to suggest that any heathen Muslim as president – or any other non-Christian – would run against the church’s belief in an American Christian Theocracy.  Pastor Byrd asked his congregation if they should take the sign down after the initial controversy.  They decided – unanimously – to keep the sign up.

Given Governor Palin’s staunch support for the church she took all of her children, where she had a laying-on of hands to get her into state office, where she accepted the blessings of witch-hunting Pastor Murthee and sang his praises – it is fair to ask if she shares her church’s belief in a Christian American Theocracy.  Does she believe that American government should reflect the beliefs of all citizens, or only those who share her religious views?  If she does agree with Thomas Jefferson and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, her church’s elders may want to have words with her.

But they are not likely to have to.  Governor Palin has vowed from the pulpit “do her part to implement God’s will from the governor’s office.”  As reported by the Associated Press earlier this month, she is as good as her word, having delivered that very speech on taxpayer expense:

What she didn’t tell worshippers gathered at the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown was that her appearance that day came courtesy of Alaskan taxpayers, who picked up the $639.50 tab for her airplane tickets and per diem fees.

Since she took state office in late 2006, the governor and her family have spent more than $13,000 in taxpayer funds to attend at least 10 religious events and meetings with Christian pastors, including Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, records show.

No, I think the Church of God elders would be happy with Palin’s behavior in the White House.  Jefferson, on the other hand, would not.


  1. NavyBlueWife

    It is really sad that the main arm of federal regulatory power over charities is in the tax code, which means that the IRS is supposed to enforce what the U.S. Treasury has decided are charitable principles.  Yes, the Congress can get involved on this point, but trust me, they stay out of tax issues in complexity as much as they possibly can when it comes to this level of detail.  Bush cut a ton of resources to the IRS and the Commissioner sets policy when it comes to the remaining funds being directed to enforcement.  Very, very rarely does the IRS go after churches for separation of church and state issues because it is bad PR.  They do go after other charities who are really not functioning as charities, and in fact, that pursuit has increased in the past 2 years with more fraud coming out of the 501(c)(3) sector (IRS code section for charities).

    As for me, I couldn’t agree more with separation of church and state.  I spent the first 7 years of my life in South Florida, and my best friend was Jewish.  Our private school was a more balanced mix of Christians and Jews, so there wasn’t really a discrepancy when it came to holiday times and decorations were very limited.  When I moved to South Carolina, it was a whole other ball game.  The entire public school was covered in Christian decorations, which really upset me even as a kid.  I thought to myself then, what will all the Jewish kids think?  Oh, and school prayer, I could never understand that CONSTANT battle.  I always thought, wouldn’t it be better for us to get some updated textbooks rather than bitching about whether we can pray at graduation?

    Religion is personal and private to me.  If you want to live an openly religious life, fabulous, just keep your religion out of my life.

  2. One of the glories of that wonder of the Enlightenment – the US constitution – is the bold and innovative separation of church and state. As the comparative figures of church attendance between countries (like the UK) which have established churches, and those like the US which don’t, this is actually good for religious practice too. Churches don’t get tarnished with the compromises of the state.

    I’m actually about to read the next three plays about this (the first was called Bad Faith – there’s a link to the broadcast here) and I believe very strong both in the important of religion, and the importance of not believing in it. This is a private matter, between individuals and their own consciences, fear of death and feelings of spirituality

    Odd that right wingers, who decry state intervention in so many spheres, are happy to control and manipulate that most intimate part of a person – their soul.  

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