A nation under siege - Part I
By DS Gands
Aug 26, 2003
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There are many reasons why there are serious questions being asked about the political maneuvers of today.  There is one strict guideline that has been a record of basis from governing voices of experience, but before we get into it – the current events of recent days are…

A governor sits in California having found himself in the midst of a recall election that borders on Barnum & Bailey as far as the list of registered candidates is concerned.  It has been aligned with the strong-arm tactics of Karl Rove and Tom Delay in Texas. Arnold Schwarzenegger, with some heavy hitting conservative advisors flanking his every move, is standing up for what they believe – that he is popular enough to win elected office.

Speaking of home, the eleven Texas Democratic Senators (And, one Republican, I might add) are sitting out the redistricting war in Texas – putting their financial, personal, and professional futures on the line for what they believe.  Experts have voiced their views since the insurgence of power politics to restructure the federal representation of Texas based on voting trends began.  This columnist even wrote on this particular effort recognizing gerrymander-at-will as the new rose in the political landscape. 

The American administration is sending its Secretary of State and others to attempt to get support and more commitment in Iraq, after it has become painfully obvious that we snubbed the perspectives of the world and trampled on another nation without substantial reason.  Recent polls show that a mere 19 percent of Americans support foreign policy regarding Iraq (NY Times report).  Japan refuses to assist us in Iraq.  The UN has stated that it will NOT send in their ‘blue hat’ peacekeepers. 

Israel is being blown apart, still, but this time, Sharon is a hare’s breath away from declaring war on Palestine.  Palestine is chanting back, and the road to peace is being abandoned for an ages old war that is founded on religious beliefs.

Bush leaves his ranch in Texas to host a $2000 per plate fundraiser in Oregon during the worst economic and environmental disasters that area has seen to gain assets for his political war chest and to tout his environmental policy.  The unemployment rate is almost two percent higher than the national average in Oregon.  The reports to the administration on the environment were redacted in recent months to fit someone’s perception of the truth, not the facts.  Despite taking what seemed to be back road routes to his destinations, protestors lined the paths of the Presidential motorcade selected, and the noise of the violence overseas drowned any headline coverage of the Bush domestic rhetoric.

And, then there’s a judge sitting in Alabama that declares that the law of man, and particularly the United States, would have no foundation without the law of God.  I happen to believe, that no matter whom your God is, that is a fact.  Alabama has been a hot bed of religious issues for more than just a few weeks, but Chief Justice Roy Moore is standing up for what he believes.  He should, but it is how he is doing it that evokes controversy.  He isn’t the first, and he will not be the last.

A reader of this column wrote to me on another subject but had a poignant statement in his writing.  He wrote that it is hard to show people the truth when the truth, to them, is what they believe.  Proverbs Chapter 18, verse 16, the Bible says, "He who states his case first seems right until another comes to challenge him."   

A search of Merriam-Webster dictionary yielded the following on the entries of ‘truth’ and ‘belief’:

Main Entry: truth
Pronunciation: 'trüth
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural truths 'trü[th]z, 'trüths/
Etymology: Middle English trewthe, from Old English trEowth fidelity; akin to Old English trEowe faithful -- more at
Date: before 12th century
1 a archaic : FIDELITY, CONSTANCY b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : FACT (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : TRUE 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
4 capitalized, Christian Science : GOD
- in truth : in accordance with fact : ACTUALLY


Main Entry: be·lief
Pronunciation: b&-'lEf
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelEafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lEafa; akin to Old English lyfan
Date: 12th century
1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2 : something
believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
BELIEF, FAITH, CREDENCE, CREDIT mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. BELIEF may or may not imply certitude in the believer <my belief that I had caught all the errors>. FAITH almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof <an unshakable faith in God>. CREDENCE suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent <a theory now given credence by scientists>. CREDIT may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof <gave full credit to the statement of a reputable witness>. synonym see in addition OPINION


Both records have reference to God or faith in God.   The ‘truth’ to each is what one believes, and the truth is proven fact.  ‘Truth’ is subject to individual interpretation.  Choices play a profound role in what one believes; hence the truth is a perpetual challenge. 

We stand for more than ourselves in this nation.  We are represented by the finest among us on any given day, most of the time.   We elect them (most of the time).   We expect that they will be our voice.  We trust that or system is the protector of liberty and freedom for us - and the world. But, what we see in this day and time are reflections of a force that would have us become what we have viewed as the exception instead of the definitive rule.  That is not America.  All of these things are redundant.  They have all happened before at another place in time throughout the history of man and his struggles with law.

Some believe that what Jefferson did[1] when he coined the phrase of the ‘wall of separation between church and state’ was to assure that religious choices would not be encumbered or excluded by the ‘state’, or the ‘General government’ – meaning Congress and the federal government.  The basis for his intentions was the lack of freedom regarding religious beliefs suffered under British rule, and that belief was one for which many fought and died.  However, his intentions have been so taken out of context that the controversy over the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ rages in America, long since the passing of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Though it may seem so to many, "separation of church and state" is not referenced in the U.S. Constitution.  It was, however, a part of the Constitution of the former Soviet Union.

The difficulties with the metaphor began in 1947, when the Supreme Court utilized the phrase in an attempted to construct a constitutional principal[2]. When the phrase is understood in its true context, it is useful.  In the words of United States Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist:

The "wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor that has proved useless as a guide to judging.  It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.

In its proper context, Jefferson’s recorded perspective represents a clear expression of state autonomy, as well.   The phrase, as intended and understood by Jefferson, was not meant as a deterrent or to be utilized to exclude people of faith from government.

In America, religious freedom is enjoyed to a level that is unavailable to most of the rest of the world.   In this nation there are more than fifteen hundred different religious bodies and approximately three hundred sixty thousand churches, synagogues and mosques.  Studies have shown that nearly ninety percent of Americans believe in God and more than half exercise prayer at least once per day. According to the Census Bureau, church membership has remained at sixty-three percent of the population since about 1970.

Alabama Ten Commandments Monument
To protect religious freedoms from interference or governance by the federal government, federal law should and is in place.  Governance of religious freedoms, however, is a matter for the several states to consider.  Alabama is keeping the ‘Ten Commandments’ monument issue within the confines of its state, and rightfully so.  No one is denying Chief Justice Roy Moore’s right to practice whatever he believes, but the authorities who govern Alabama are enforcing laws that protect religious freedom by ordering removal of a monument from government, and yes public, property.  Even if the monument reflected perspectives of all religions, it is doubtful it would be allowed to stand in the rotunda of any courthouse of any state.  The basis for this perspective is perverted in my opinion.  Separation was intended to protect religion from the shackles of government.  It was not intended to be used by those who choose to exclude religion from government.  We have allowed that, hence, perpetual interpretation and controversy.

The State Supreme Court decision to remove the monument is an issue of censorship.  Moore has every right to state his beliefs and practice his beliefs.  As with most people, beliefs are factors in decision-making processes.  However, to publicly, singularly, and exclusively dictate a position on a ground that is under the protection of law regarding religious freedom is an improper declaration and a contradiction of the law – no matter one’s religious beliefs.  To display a symbol that is a monument not meant for a personal belief, but for the recognition of the foundation of law and this country, should be, and is being accomplished in America.

The bottom line of Jefferson’s intention is that the government is representative of all the people, and ‘church’ is to be protected from a singular belief or rule.  Moore has every right to place his monument at any non-government location for public appreciation by all.  No governmental entity has the right, according to the First Amendment, to impose a singularly minded religious perspective from a government position, and Judge Moore is a government entity.  The Ten Commandments monument in the Rotunda is admirable and a beautiful symbol of Christianity and Judaism, but it is a symbol that, simply by its particular history and location, represents exclusion of others.  That was not the intent, and the degradation of its existence by issuance of a court order to remove it is, frankly, a constitutional issue.

As for Judge Moore’s violation of a court order?  I am of the opinion that an alternative would have been to move the monument to a place of reverence for all to appreciate without allowing it to be tarnished by the encumbrance of conflict, and to determine the appropriate means by which to secure it’s display in the Rotunda.  His beliefs are well known.  His defiance in the name of those beliefs for the very law he is sworn to uphold is respected by some and disappointing to others.  His credibility as a judge has been injured by his own actions.  Defying a court order is a poor example by any judge; I don’t care if the ruling is questionable.  He is the trier of fact and is to exact justice without passion or prejudice.  Of course, that is what I believe. 

I keep asking myself when a suit will succeed in removing ‘In God We Trust’ from the symbols of our monetary system in America or prayer from our chambers of representation?   It won’t really matter.

Because, where God ‘lives’ is in the heart of man.  And, that’s the truth.

A nation under siege - Part II: A look at the kings and government influences of The Bible.

[1] Presidential Papers Microfilm, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress


2 Everson v. Bd. of Educ., 330 U.S. 1 (1947)


Copyright 2003 by DS Gands, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.S. Gands is a freelance writer living in North Texas.  The opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of this publication.  If you would like to see this or other articles by D.S. Gands appear in your favorite publication, ask the editor to contact editor@ntxe-news.com  regarding available reprint or syndication rights.