Some Massachusetts voters are wondering if Scott Lively, a pastor, would be allowed to be Governor of Massachusetts. “What about the ‘separation of church and state?‘” Well, not only would I be allowed to be governor, but I would have some excellent role models from the past who were also pastors and outspoken Christian statesmen.
The most recent was John Lewis Bates, like me both a pastor and a lawyer, who was Governor from 1903 to 1905 and served with distinction. Reverend Governor Bates was a Republican who defeated both the Democrat and Socialist candidates ( a fact that gives me hope since I am an Independent running on a mostly Republican platform, while Charlie Baker is a Republican running as a Democrat and Martha Coakley is a Democrat running as a Socialist).
Like me, a reformer who earned the ire of corrupt entrenched interests (by appointing a reform-minded judge to a key post), Pastor Bates went on to serve as President of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1918, which further reformed the commonwealth by downsizing the government — requiring that it could have no more than 20 departments. This happens to be a central goal of my plan as well — the downsizing and streamlining of government.
Then, of course, were the founders of Massachusetts (and of the United States) who were some of the most outspoken Christian advocates in history. Five term Governor Bradford, signed the Mayflower Compact, America’s first constitution, which declared the colony’s purpose as “the advancement of the Christian religion.”
John Winthrop served twelve terms. He was the man who penned the famous, beautifully eloquent essay called “A City on a Hill” on how this new nation the Pilgrims founded would be a living example of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew Chapter 5.
President-Elect John F Kennedy cited Winthrop in an address to the General Court of Massachusetts, January 9th, 1961, saying “…I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier. “We must always consider”, he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us”. He added “For of those to whom much is given, much is required” a direct quote from Luke 12:48.
While not a governor, Massachusetts Christian lawyer and statesman John Adams, a drafter of the Declaration of Independence became our first vice president and second U.S. president. This brilliant man and indispensable leader among the founders wrote most of the Massachusetts Constitution and contributed to the U.S. Constitution as our delegate to the Continental Congress. Reflecting the consensus of the founders he famously declared: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Importantly, the phrase “separation of church and state” is not found in the constitution. It was a metaphor invented by Thomas Jefferson to reassure some Baptist leaders in Connecticut that the new government would not favor one Christian denomination over another as was common in Europe. Only in 1947 did Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a vicious anti-Catholic and KKK member) fraudulently invoke Jefferson’s metaphor to justify the de-Christianization of American government in Everson v Board of Education. In 1961, while the soon-to-be first Catholic President (JFK) was enjoying unprecedented popularity, Black wrote the majority opinion in Torcaso v Watkins, declaring Atheism to be a religion, and effectively handing Atheists the power to push Christianity out of public life through litigation, staring first with the elimination of prayer in public schools in 1963.
Since the 1960s, schoolchildren have been taught a Marxist rather than Biblical worldview and their heritage as a Christian “City on a Hill” has been deliberately hidden from them. It is no wonder then, that so many people today think it is unconstitutional for a pastor to be governor. And why they can’t understand why everything in our society is crumbling before our eyes while violence and perversion is exploding.
I suggest that only a submitted-to-God pastor with the boldness to speak the truth without apology or equivocation can lead this commonwealth back to security and prosperity, because as the Scripture promises in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.”