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Issue Background

Faith Steps book

About the Author: Drawing upon over two decades of experience on the front lines of the culture wars, Jonathan Imbody offers a long-term perspective on public policy issues. Jonathan offers messages and strategies on current issues that have been field tested under the live fire of the public square. He approaches public policy as a Washington, DC insider, having participated in high-level policy planning and action, and also as an outsider, viewing politics not as an end in itself but as a tool for shaping our culture.

A veteran writer of over 30 years, Jonathan has published over 100 commentaries in and has also quoted as an analyst of national issues in USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times and many other national publications. World magazine featured his essay summarizing the major medical accomplishments and challenges of the past millennium. His on-site research on euthanasia in the Netherlands formed the basis for the No Mercy video.

Jonathan directs the Washington Office of the 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, and Freedom2Care, a freedom of religion, conscience and speech coalition of 29,000 constituents and over 50 organizations including Focus on the Family, Salvation Army, Alliance Defense Fund and Family Research Council.

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Faith Steps excerpt:

Let's look again at exactly what the First Amendment says about church and state:

"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."

First, the amendment protects the free exercise of religion from government interference ("Congress shall make no law…"). Then the amendment continues seamlessly to also protect from government interference the free exercise of speech, press, assembly and petition. The goal in each section is identical–protecting the freedom of the people to believe and express as they choose.

To interpret the first part of this Amendment as somehow attempting to limit the expression of religion in government is to ignore the First Amendment's clear and consistent pattern, its parallel provisions:

  • The people are free to practice their religion.

  • The press is free to publish its views.

  • The people are free to assemble.

  • The people are free to petition the Government and demand justice.

From start to finish, the First Amendment protects the freedom of the people, by limiting the reach of the government. The United States Congress may not abridge–reduce, restrict, deprive–these five fundamental freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

Having just fought and won a war against tyranny, American leaders sought to keep the power of government in its place–serving and heeding the will of the people. The last thing on their minds was preventing the people from influencing their government.

Unfortunately, in the centuries subsequent to that first Congress, judges and lawyers have perverted the establishment clause ("respecting an establishment of religion") with concocted theories, to the point where its original language and the clear intent of its framers appears hardly recognizable.

By contrast to creative reconstruction of the First Amendment, an "originalist" view bases constitutional interpretation on the actual historical record of its framing. Such a view will show that the establishment clause protects religious freedom for the people by prohibiting the federal government (a) from passing a law elevating one denomination as the national religion to the exclusion of other denominations, and (b) from passing a law restricting the right of people to freely exercise their faith and conscience.... Read more:


Get Faith Steps now:

Amazon paperback

Amazon Kindle e-book

Barnes & Noble paperback

Barnes & Noble Nook e-book

"God creates every human being in His image. From a public policy standpoint, this means that we honor and protect human life at every stage of development, especially when individuals cannot protect themselves. From a personal standpoint, it means that as God's image-bearers, we need to walk consistently with His principles if the image we reflect is to help others better understand Him." --Jonathan Imbody, Author, Faith Steps

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