Dallas Pastor Jeffress Blames Church-State Separation for School Gun Violence

“I remind our viewers that for the first 150 years of our nation’s history, our schoolchildren prayed, they read Scripture in school, they even memorized the Ten Commandments, including the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill.'”  Baptist Joint Committee

1403 reads

There are 6 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Pains me to defend Jeffress, but he's almost right. It's not "separation of church and state," and that confuses the issue. It's "separation of faith and state." The difference is important. A church is an institution, usually, in the civic sense, it's a denomination. The founders intended to keep religious bodies from legislating and to keep legislators from controlling the internal affairs of religious bodies.

We've gone way beyond that, but it's not really any longer a matter of government suppression of religion -- if it ever was. The ending of prayer and other Christian practices in the public schools was a symptom of a cultural shift. It didn't create the cultural shift, though probably accelerated its continued trajectory.

Long before Engel v. Vitale or Obergefell v. Hodges, there was a significant shift in the hearts and minds of Americans. Government action accelerated, fed, and legitimized the shift, but didn't create it. (Likewise with Roe v. Wade.)

This goes to the heart of why the current "conservative" efforts, including nominating and electing one such as Trump, are so misguided. You can't possibly stop the heart-and-mind drift of a society by winning a few (very few) tactical victories in Congress, the Whitehouse, and the High Court -- especially at a cost that significantly increases the deeper social drift at the same time. It's not a "winning" strategy. These tactical victories matter, but until there is understanding of where the real battle is, and until there is a principled restraint behind those tactical efforts and who we empower to make them, they'll amount to very very little progress, if any, on balance.

G. N. Barkman's picture

So electing Hillary Clinton, by default, moves us in a better direction?

G. N. Barkman

Darrell Post's picture

"This goes to the heart of why the current "conservative" efforts, including nominating and electing one such as Trump, are so misguided."

Bear in mind what gave us Trump the nominee was not a majority of voters in the Republican Party. The 2016 GOP primary process started with 17 candidates. Now granted, that number had dropped down to 11 candidates by the time the selection process started with the Iowa caucus. But still, with 11 candidates the problem was crystal clear at the time even though now many forget, and unwittingly re-write history.

Trump benefited from the process because he was unlike most of the other 10 candidates. I understand there were some wearing the 'evangelical' label who were for him from the start. But so were a lot of unchurched people who liked the libertarian brand--people most concerned with trying something new, something perhaps more fiscally responsible, and something that would tap into a forgotten portion of the voting electorate--someone who might be a bully and shake things up.

But back to the 11 candidate issue. Trump was running in his own lane, all alone, because he was such an irregular candidate. The others bunched together in appealing to the same demographic of voters and canceled each other out, leaving Trump to win states with only about one-third of the vote.

The data is easy to locate, here is but one source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

Look at Iowa, Trump got only 24.3% of the vote there. Cruz, Rubio, Carson and Paul together captured 64.5% of the vote. But because they are separate candidates appealing to the same general demographic, Trump came in second place.

Trump won NH, but with only 35% of the vote, again the others combined beat him out, but Trump won most of the delegates.

The same story played out in state after state, and because few of the GOP candidates would drop out (each thought he or she wanted to be the lone survivor after Trump imploded) the problem just kept going on.

In fact, Trump did not get get more than 50% of the vote in any state until his home state of New York held it's primary late in the process, AFTER 32 other states had already voted, and by that time many of the GOP candidates had finally dropped out.

Furthermore, some states were open primaries, and there were reports of Democrats and independents who favored Clinton, selecting to vote on the Republican ballot so they could vote for Trump and thereby help Clinton be able to run against the easiest out (I know it didn't work that way, but it made sense at the time).

So in summary, had the options been just limited to Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and a few oddballs, Trump would not have been the nominee. It would have been even more sure if it was just Trump and either Rubio or Cruz but not both.

But again, I want to stress that the majority of professing conservatives, whether people of faith or not, were NOT for Trump in the GOP primary process. The data supports this.

But once he became the nominee, conservatives were faced with voting for the personally immoral Trump, or voting for the personally immoral Clinton, who was also politically corrupt and even criminally corrupt. Of the two options enough voters in key states felt that Trump was the less corrupt of the two. So he won. It doesn't mean that conservatives loved him.

 

 

DLCreed's picture

This is as fine an analysis and explanation as I've seen on the Trump capture of the Republican nomination.  Well done.

 

Darrell Post wrote:

"This goes to the heart of why the current "conservative" efforts, including nominating and electing one such as Trump, are so misguided."

Bear in mind what gave us Trump the nominee was not a majority of voters in the Republican Party. The 2016 GOP primary process started with 17 candidates. Now granted, that number had dropped down to 11 candidates by the time the selection process started with the Iowa caucus. But still, with 11 candidates the problem was crystal clear at the time even though now many forget, and unwittingly re-write history.

Trump benefited from the process because he was unlike most of the other 10 candidates. I understand there were some wearing the 'evangelical' label who were for him from the start. But so were a lot of unchurched people who liked the libertarian brand--people most concerned with trying something new, something perhaps more fiscally responsible, and something that would tap into a forgot portion of the voting electorate--someone who might be a bully and shake things up.

But back to the 11 candidate issue. Trump was running in his own lane, all alone, because he was such an irregular candidate. The others bunched together in appealing to the same demographic of voters and canceled each other out, leaving Trump to win states with only about one-third of the vote.

The data is easy to locate, here is but one source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

Look at Iowa, Trump got only 24.3% of the vote there. Cruz, Rubio, Carson and Paul together captured 64.5% of the vote. But because they are separate candidates appealing to the same general demographic, Trump came in second place.

Trump won NH, but with only 35% of the vote, again the others combined beat him out, but Trump won most of the delegates.

The same story played out in state after state, and because few of the GOP candidates would drop out (each thought he or she wanted to be the lone survivor after Trump imploded) the problem just kept going on.

In fact, Trump did not get get more than 50% of the vote in any state until his home state of New York held it's primary late in the process, AFTER 32 other states had already voted, and by that time many of the GOP candidates had finally dropped out.

Furthermore, some states were open primaries, and there were reports of Democrats and independents who favored Clinton, selecting to vote on the Republican ballot so they could vote for Trump and thereby help Clinton be able to run against the easiest out (I know it didn't work that way, but it made sense at the time).

So in summary, had the options been just limited to Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and a few oddballs, Trump would not have been the nominee. It would have been even more sure if it was just Trump and either Rubio or Cruz but not both.

But again, I want to stress that the majority of professing conservatives, whether people of faith or not, were NOT for Trump in the GOP primary process. The data supports this.

But once he became the nominee, conservatives were faced with voting for the personally immoral Trump, or voting for the personally immoral Clinton, who was also politically corrupt and even criminally corrupt. Of the two options enough voters in key states felt that Trump was the less corrupt of the two. So he won. It doesn't mean that conservatives loved him.

 

 

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting that the worst day in the public schools happened at a school where I'm very sure there was prayer and the teaching of the 10 Commandments.  On May 18, 1927, 44 people were killed and 58 wounded in Bath, Michigan.  (my mother-in-law's hometown, interestingly)

So I think there's a bit of a problem with Jeffress' hypothesis, and quite frankly with his memory of history.  For large portions of the country, there were NOT 150 years of public schools teaching the 10 Commandments, and  Southerner like Jeffress ought to also have cultural memories of poor whites being only marginally more literate than slaves on average.  For most of the South, public schooling did not date back to the War of Independence and before, but rather got started in the Reconstruction era with the Morrill Act.  R.L. Dabney wrote a scathing appraisal of that effort noting that this effort would (in his view) not help blacks and would enshrine Catholicism in culture.   (he was wrong, but that's what he wrote)  Jeffress is also incorrect about how long prayer has been "kicked out" of public schools--1963 is only 55 years ago, not 70.

For my part, my memories of prayer in schools are mostly colorless, powerless invocations at my high school and college graduations, prayers that I found pretty much blasphemous.  I am guessing that your average elementary school teacher today wouldn't do much better.  Leave evangelism to churches!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

All comments on this thread are excellent. They essentially lead to one conclusion that Jefferies position is erroneous in my mind.

The shooting in Florida had more to do with poor law enforcement at the local and federal level.  Just like the church shooting in Texas that had everything to do with  poor law enforcement at the Federal level.

Never in any of my arrests or charged individuals did I not fill out the fingerprint card to be submitted to NCIC.  If I forgot it and it was picked up later old Joe would have spent a week on the beach with no pay.  That was a key contributor of the church shooting in Texas.  The key contributor to the Parkland shooting was lack of follow up at the local and federal level.  

If you receive any kind of threat you pursue it for prosecution or confront the individual and read him/her the riot act.  

You can’t  imagine all the Taxpayers who hated the IRS and hated me. Along with representing the IRS I also was an Internal Affairs Guy.  I probably had the most hated position in the Federal Government.