By Joseph Mattera
In this article, Joe identifies the unfolding secularism that is overtaking our cities and calls for concerted action by believers to take a stand against this onslaught. I could not agree more with Joe’s conclusions. Let’s take a stand together!
As a Christ-follower who has lived in New York City all his life, I have witnessed the increased secularization of our great city, especially within the past year. For example, not only was same-sex marriage made legal in our state, but there were also laws passed that put undue regulations on pregnancy crisis centers, laws making it necessary for churches to renew and prove their tax-exempt status annually (or face the consequence of having their tax-exempt status revoked), a policy enacted by the mayor that banned nativity scenes and Christmas trees from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, a decision by the mayor to ban clergy from participating in the ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, and most recently, the mayor and city officials have given our churches notice that they can no longer rent publically funded community facilities and public schools for Sunday worship. (Note: This past week, the New York City Housing Authority reversed course because of the pressure put on them by our churches.)
I’m sure there are even more examples of secularization that I am not remembering at this time. The point is, there is an underlying ideology that we must understand so people of faith can proactively resist these trends instead of always being on the defensive and reacting to the anti-faith bias of many cultural elites.
It is not as though Christians are in the minority in New York City. There are more than one-and-a-half million Evangelicals in our city, not including mainstream Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers, which may bring the number up way past half of the eight million residents of our city! Thus, it is a minority of people in power who want to rid the city of any religious influence in the public sphere.
The trend towards secularization first started after the Protestant Reformation in Europe in the 17th century, when the so-called Enlightenment first separated faith from reason. This began with Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, who first taught that discovering truth is possible outside of divine revelation. Hundreds of years later, this resulted in elevating human reason over faith as a reaction to the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church and also to the horrible religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, e.g. the Thirty Years War in the 17th century which devastated Germany more than the two world wars!
This trend towards elevating humanity and human reason over and against God and all gods is continuing to be unpacked today in society. It is primarily disseminating its false gospel in universities that Christian parents pay thousands of dollars per year to fund! (Many saints don’t tithe to God yet they will pay +$30,000 annually to fund an education that robs their posterity of their faith!)
The following are some of the traits of the secular city:
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is twisted to mean the exclusion of church from state, or the exclusion of God from state
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which has to do with Congress not establishing a religion for the nation or any of the states, has been said to teach the separation of church and state. This is not true. This term really came from a private letter Thomas Jefferson sent to Danbury Baptists in 1802. Jefferson was not a writer or signer on the U.S. Constitution. (He was in Europe during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.)
The secularists then broaden the meaning of the Establishment Clause to justify using the judicial system to disallow any exhibition of religion and faith in public buildings.
The most sacred values are human autonomy and human rights
Christ-followers agree with having respect for all human beings, irrespective of their sexual, cultural and religious orientation. But we believe, like the original Founding Fathers of this nation, that a democracy cannot work without morality and religion, and that the only God-given right we have for human freedom is the ability to practice virtue.
Secularists believe human rights include a right to be independent from both God and man, that we are free to live any way we want, even if it is destructive to the overall health of society.
But if everyone in our city observed the Ten Commandments we would be blessed and the quality of life would go through the roof!
Sex has been successfully separated from marriage, procreation and family
When the sexual revolution hit the United States in the 1960’s it sowed the seeds of family and societal destruction. An ideology of sex for pleasure prevailed over the previous model, in which sex was primarily for procreation within the bounds of a man and woman committed to each other in holy matrimony.
Separating sex from marriage has resulted in millions of fatherless children, 50 million aborted babies, an outbreak of AIDS, hundreds of STDs, more fragmented families, and millions of fatherless men who are now populating our prisons!
Alternate forms of family and marriage now replace the nuclear family
Every vesture of the Judeo-Christian value system starts with God and marriage. Before there was a church or human government there was a man and a woman committed together in marriage (Genesis 2:29-22).
If a city is going to be secular then its main goal would be to legalize unbiblical forms of marriage so the nuclear family structure would no longer be the norm but only one of many family structures. This in turn continues to disempower families and gives more power to the state, which wants to be savior and god for every individual.
Strong biblical family structures depend less on big government entitlements. Thus same-sex marriage really has nothing to do with homosexuality but everything to do with the ideology of the secular city.
Religion has been relegated to the lower realm of subjective feelings as distinct from the higher, more important realm of scientific fact
The secular city enthusiasts don’t want to rid the world of religion. They believe, like Marx, that religion is the opium of the people: it calms us down, gives us some morals, and makes us better citizens.
They don’t want to rid the world of religion; they want to relegate religion to the realm of the mystical, subjective and impractical realm, which has no influence upon the two steering wheels of society: politics and economics. With this done, religion would never be taken seriously regarding public policy, which would threaten their view of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
The state replaces the family as the main provider, educator and moral advisor of children and all citizens
A secular city takes the place of mothers and fathers by giving education, moral values and an overall worldview to its citizens. This is why the secular state discourages the practice of home schooling, and in some cases even charter schools: because they are not totally under the control of the city and state.
The idea behind the welfare system is to make more people dependent upon the secular city so that individuals can survive without honoring their parents—and living independent lives—knowing that even if they are not in good graces with their biological families the city will support them anyway!
The secular city wants to control education, morality and the trajectory of all its citizens. It disempowers individual achievement and glorifies the corporate accomplishments of the city citizens.
A religious ecumenism with primary allegiance to obeying the state is set up as the new recognized state religion
Mayors of secular cities don’t want to do away with religion. What they despise is absolutism in religious groups. They want every religion to be equal so there is a kind of smorgasbord faith in which every road leads to god and to heaven. The claims of Christ being the only way to God are anathema to the state! If the ground is level and every religion is relativized then the city knows that people will not have an ultimate commitment to any god but the state!
Whether we like it or not, this is going to become the picture of every city in the United States unless the church stands up, becomes politically active, and seeks the face of God for revival, renewal and restoration of our call to disciple the nations.
This article was printed in it’s entirety. You can read the original article on Joe’s website here.