PASADENA, Md. — A former presidential candidate recently taught students at his Maryland-based Institute on the Constitution that separation of church and state does not mean removing God from the government.
Michael Peroutka, an attorney who also ran for president in 2004 with the Constitution Party, regularly teaches Christians about the biblical view of government—or as he also likes to call it, the American view.
Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution recently posted a video on his YouTube “American View” channel providing a clip of his teaching about the so-called “separation of church and state.”
“Separation of church and state is not separation of God and government,” those in attendance repeated aloud after the attorney, who is also running for city council in Anne Arundel, Maryland.
“[I]f they can get you to think that separation of church and state means you can’t talk about God in the public square, or before a legislative session, or before a football game or anyplace you want to talk about God,” Peroutka said, “If they can get you to separate there, then what they’ve done is kicked out the very first presupposition of American law and government, which was, there is a God [and] our rights come from Him.”
Peroutka was speaking of the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, in which the Founding Fathers declared that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” He stated that if Christians continue to shrink back every time secularists make a claim about the separation of church and state, then Americans will have no leg to stand on to prove their right to their rights.
“If they can intimidate you out of that,” Peroutka continued, “If everytime you say ‘God.’ and they say ‘Separation of church and state,’ and you go ‘Oh!’ and you back off of that, and you get intimidated and you back down and you don’t talk about God as the author of law and government, then they have kicked out the very foundation on which you could stand to argue that you have rights.”
He repeated that if God has nothing to do with how to govern the people, then there is no sure foundation for any man’s assertion that a right is even a right.
“Because if there is no God and He’s not connected to government, then there’s no basis for you to claim that you even have rights, much less that you could defend them,” he stated.
“It’s so very important,” Peroutka said. “That [separation of church and state assertion] is a huge lie.”
The American idea of separation of church and state originates from Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.
“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 and State,” Jefferson wrote.
The concept is now often used to decry public religious practices by civil officials, or instances of perceived government endorsement of religion.
A number of Founding Fathers spoke about God in their public speeches, and the Second Continental Congress of 1776 declared a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer among the people.
“[We] do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease His righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness,” the proclamation read.