The First Amendment vs. The First Commandment

The religion of Americanism teaches us that God’s law is not valid outside of the church; maybe the last six of the Ten Commandments are valid (and even that is considered debatable), but certainly not the first four.  Modern theologians like to divide the ten commandments into parts, as if God has two minds.  We are told that the Law was only given to Israel, and thus today it is only for the visible church.  This comes from both evangelical pulpits and from Civics 101 in public education. There is not much difference between the two.

Americanism is the name I have given to a new dominant religion in our beloved nation.  It is a final reference point for almost every moral and political issue, and it has the endorsement of most all conservative pastors in this country. To challenge this new religion means a quick cancellation, especially in evangelical circles.

This new religion is mostly derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The religion of Americanism interprets the First Amendment as guaranteeing the right of every American citizen to say anything they want to say (except a few things like shouting fire in a public place, or racial slurs), to turn art into blasphemy (Christ in a bottle of urine), or to worship any god of their own choosing (including Allah).

It also protects the right of men to express themselves physically as women, the right of BLM to destroy private property in public protests, the right to produce and distribute pornography, and the right for university students to call for genocide.  It protects the right of anyone to burn the American flag.  It protects the right to erect Satanic idols in state capitol buildings.  It protects the rights of Drag Queens to read stories to children in public libraries.  It protects debauchery.  And yet, in this new religion of Americanism, the First Amendment is still considered sacred even by leading evangelicals.

The protection of debauchery was never the intent of our founding fathers. The First Amendment was created to limit the power of the Congress, and not the power of the individual States.  At the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, most states had either officially or unofficially adopted the Christian Faith as the State religion. State legislators could establish an official religion, but Congress could not.  State churches were legal, but a national church was not.  There would be no Church of the United States as there was a Church of England across the pond. Thus, Congress was prohibited from establishing a national church, but States had every right to establish a State Church.  States were respected as sovereign entities. This was a long time ago, but it demonstrates the value of studying history.

The Church of England was the official church in the State of Virginia.  State taxes were used to pay the Anglican clergymen, who alone were allowed to preach in the Commonwealth.  Soon, however, both Baptists and Presbyterians were given the freedom to preach (without going to jail).  The First Amendment became a basis for guaranteeing free speech to all Christian Protestants (not all religions).  The First Amendment was still rightly understood.

However, things have changed.  The First Amendment may soon be used to curtail the free speech of Christians because Christian morals are in direct opposition to the public morals of the day. This is already happening in universities and corporations. Outside the safety of the visible church, employees of both colleges and businesses are walking around on eggshells afraid that they might use the wrong pronoun and put their jobs in jeopardy with a visit from the DEI police.

The problem with the First Amendment as presently interpreted is that it contradicts the First Commandment.  The First Commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God does not tolerate competition.  A First Amendment that allows for gods other than the God of the Bible to be worshiped is contrary to the First Commandment. The First Commandment also summarizes the other nine Commandments.  Neither does God tolerate decadence.  Under the First Commandment, not only are the worship of all other gods forbidden, but derivative events like gay-pride parades would be prohibited. The riotous destruction of private or public property would be forbidden.  Drag Queens in public would be forbidden. And on and on!

Baptists give strong devotion to the First Amendment because they identify themselves with a history of persecution.  They believe that the First Amendment protects their rights to believe and preach according to their own consciences.  They are big supporters of Americanism.  However, I believe they need to get beyond the Munster cages of the 16th century and realize that with their large numbers in America today, the roles would be reversed in a hypothetical theocracy. The vision of a Baptist Prince is more realistic in our day than a Presbyterian Prince.  However, to be more sensible, I think all of us are all in the same boat now.

More broadly speaking Americanism finds its hope in the United States Constitution.  The only problem with this is that the meaning of the Constitution cannot be predicted anymore.  Whoever thought just fifty years ago that the rights to abortion and homosexual marriage would be discovered in the Constitution?  The Constitution only means what five Supreme Court judges in black robes say what it means. Even as frightening, the United States Congress no longer has any realistic function.  Civil power is now in the hands of either a sitting President or a bureaucracy of unelected college graduates from elite and secular universities. Christians are expected to leave the public square and wait for either death or the rapture, whichever comes first.

Americanism also puts a great amount of faith in democracy, where the people vote to decide who will hold office and thus, and consequently, what will be considered publicly right and wrong in our nation.  However, even that hope now is teetering.  So many people have lost their confidence in the integrity of elections that this tenet of Americanism is dying.

Americanism believes in American exceptionalism. Indeed, we have seen our glory days, but many other nations in the world now view America as the great whore. We are still building on the capital from the past, but decadent immorality has painted us as a prostitute on the world stage. We lost admiration a long time ago. Putin’s Russia or Mao’s China may both be a holy step above us because they have banned homosexual marriage and transgenderism.  Militarism for the sake of securing democracy around the world is now viewed as a failure.  It was a recipe for death, and has only created more enemies than friends.

The religion of Americanism teaches us that God’s law is not valid outside of the church; maybe the last six of the Ten Commandments are valid (and even that is considered debatable), but certainly not the first four.  Modern theologians like to divide the ten commandments into parts, as if God has two minds.  We are told that the Law was only given to Israel, and thus today it is only for the visible church.  This comes from both evangelical pulpits and from Civics 101 in public education. There is not much difference between the two.

The only problem with this is that it is not true.  Paul in Romans 13 says plainly that the civil magistrate is a servant of God and is to promote good and restrain evil.  Paul wrote this while living under a Roman hegemony, looking forward to the day when all nations would be Christianized through the preaching of a gospel that would teach them to obey God’s law, as Jesus had spoken.  Good and evil can only be defined by God’s law—all of it, including the first four commandments.

Our forefathers understood this. They knew that the United Sates would not survive apart from being a Christian nation.  John Adams reflected this when he said that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  By the word religious, he was referring to Christianity.  Although I believe that the Enlightenment had a major impact on our founding forefathers, they still maintained enough Christian heritage to understand that Christianity must be the foundation of this nation or this nation will perish.

In a Christian nation, foreigners from other nations are welcome to enjoy the blessings of God with us, but they would not be allowed to worship their gods in public within the boundaries of our country. God’s goodness to us might be an avenue for their conversion. What a blessing it would be to preach the gospel to them in such a context.

What am I saying?  I am saying that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as presently interpreted by most institutions including the church is in direct opposition to the First Commandment.  Yes, this is a radical statement, but we live in radical times when our presuppositions must be reexamined. Yes, it is revolutionary.  But is it true?  That is the question.

Since the dominant religion of America moved from Christianity to Americanism, we are watching the demise of this nation. We are under attack by Cultural Marxism, and the religion of Americanism will not protect Christians.  As a matter of fact, it will be used against them.

Under the guise of the Constitution, we have brought the Middle East and her wars to America.  We dilute our heritage with illegal immigration.  We have substituted a constitutional republic with tyranny.  We have declared that all gods are equal, contrary to the First Commandment of God. We once had a Christian nation, but now we have sanctioned polytheism. God hates polytheism.  He always has.

I know it is too late to do anything about it, save for a biblical revival and reformation, but I do pray that the America I knew as a child will survive.  I’m not calling for a revolution.  I’m only identifying the problems. When future generations ask what went wrong with the American Experiment, I hope they will learn from our mistakes.

Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tenn.

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