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“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. -Patrick Henry
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”- John Adams 1798
When I heard the news earlier this year that Osama Bin Laden (OBL) was found and killed, I felt a sense of relief that a leader who declared war on theUnited States, one who orchestrated the most deadly attack of my fellow citizens in our nation’s history, was finally brought to justice. I commended President Obama for making the right decision to dispatch this terrorist to his final judgment. As the story unfolded and details of his burial at sea were revealed, I felt a sense of disbelief and a little anger. The Obama administration, through the Pentagon, went to great pains to announce that OBL’s body was washed and Islamic prayers were recited during his burial at sea. I found this ironic in light of the Obama administration’s distaste of any affirmation of religion, especially any that affirms our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage. I do not blame the present administration alone since this battle against religion has been gaining momentum for the last 50 years, along with its cancerous sibling, “Political Correctness” being foisted on our society.
This attack recently hit home at my volunteer fire department’s last installation dinner in January. This annual event is held at a local catering hall attended by most of the volunteers and their families, along with members of the town’s elected mayor and council members. The purpose is to administer the oath of office (hence the name “Installation Dinner”) to the department’s line officers and administrators for the coming year. The dinner is mostly paid for by voluntary contributions from citizens of the borough. Up until a few years ago, the department would invite a member of the clergy to say a short prayer before the dinner. But in the past few years, this 100-year standing tradition was stopped and replaced by a moment of silence. Now no members of the local clergy are invited to say a prayer due to the fear of litigation by a person outside the department who may be “offended.”
The news of the day is full of similar stories like the recent one in May where the Veterans Administration tried to order a minster not to mention “Jesus” in a Memorial Day invocation atHoustonNationalCemetery. It took the minister getting a court order to bar the VA from interfering with him reciting the Lord’s Prayer and thanking Jesus Christ, in his closing prayer. The court order issued by Federal Judge Lynn Hughes warned that the agency (VA) had stepped too far, saying officials were essentially “decreeing how citizens honor their veterans.” This type of hypocrisy, where the federal government allowing Islamic Prayers to be said over the dead body of our nation’s most wanted terrorist and murderer on a naval vessel, but trying to stop the Lord’s Prayer from being said at the gravesite of our heroic veterans is unfathomable. This is what happens when you twist and stretch the original intent of the Constitution’s establishment clause to bend to political correctness.
Our right to freedom of religion, speech and press is absolute, not dependent on the fact that we won’t offend our fellow citizens in our exercise of these rights. There is no “right” in the Constitution that we cannot be offended. Progressive detractors use the phrase that was written by Thomas Jefferson as the basis for keeping religion out of the public square. The truth is that Thomas Jefferson wrote this phrase in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to calm the fears of a group of Connecticut Baptists, and told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of a citizen’s religious affairs, not to keep religion out of the state’s affairs.
While the Progressives site several court cases such as Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) andAbingtonSchool Districtv. Schempp, 374U.S.203, 83S. Ct.1560, 10 L. Ed. 2d 844, they exaggerate. The Engle v. Vitale case banned the state ofNew Yorkfrom composing a prayer for students to recite and the infamousAbingtonSchool Districtv. Schempp stated that a state can not favor one religion over another by allowing morning bible verse reading or the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. These rulings do not ban schools from instituting “a moment of silence” which the ACLU and other Progressive groups have filed lawsuits in several states to stop. No prayer is allowed in school, but the religion of secularism is pushed in public schools, which in many cases is hostile to religious values (like the advocacy of birth control and alternative lifestyles).
Almost all opinion polls conducted over the last 25 years have shown that the majority of Americans believe that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. To counter this, Progressives have recently tried to state that the founders were either “deists” or even atheists. This argument about the founders is absurd; while not all of the founders were church goers, the vast majority were Christian. I have listed a few well-known quotes at the end of this article from several of the founders that prove this point.
If you look back at several Supreme Court decisions in the late 19th century, some decisions allude to the Republic being founded on religious principles. The best example is Church of the Holy Trinity v.U.S., 143 U.S. 266 (1892). This case addressed whether a church violated a federal law by solicitation of a new pastor from outside theUnited States. The law stated, “It shall be unlawful for any person, company, partnership, or corporation, in any manner whatsoever … to in any way assist or encourage the importation .. . of any alien or . ..foreigners, into theUnited States . . . under contract or agreement . . . to perform labor or service of any kind.”
In 1892, the Court gave what is known as the Trinity Decision. In that decision, Justice Brewer, who delivered the opinion of the Court, gave the basis for the Court’s conclusion: “this is a Christian nation.” John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was, it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” The Court concluded that only an “absurd” application of the Constitution would allow a restriction on Christianity.
The establishment clause of the First Amendment states that, “The Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” meaning that the federal government cannot set up a “National Religion” similar to the Anglican Church in England, from which the new Republic recently obtained independence. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, at least 6 out of the 13 original states had established churches. It was only after the 14th amendment and the “Incorporation Doctrine” that was applied to the establishment clause in 1940 when this was applied to the states. Religion was never intended to be banned from the public square and religious principles and morals were intended to be the basis for our laws. The argument that religious expression will lead to a theocracy has already been dispelled since no theocracy had sprung up during the first 160 years of our nation when the intent of the “Establishment Clause” was followed by the courts and Federal government.
I would venture to say that the Progressive Movement since the time of Woodrow Wilson has been actively trying to eliminate religion from the public square. This has been a slow – but steady – process with its goal to convince the citizens of our Republic that rights come from government fiat and not from our simple humanity granted to us by our creator. The founders knew that for a free republic to survive it would need moral and virtuous people. Once you eliminate the creator from public discourse and religious principles from the political arena, government becomes the omnipotent entity to be worshipped with the power not only to grant rights and entitlements, but also the power to take them away.
Just my Opinion-D.B.
A “Very Few” Founding Father Quotes concerning religion:
The highest glory of the American Revolution was, it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
-John Quincy Adams
Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.
-Charles Carroll, (Catholic) signer of the Declaration of Independence
“Here is my Creed. I believe in on God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. “
-Benjamin Franklin (Episcopalian)
————————————————————————————————————————–… it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.
Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency… … there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an = indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation = that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained…
I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so His Divine Blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.
-George Washington Excerpts from First Inaugural Address on 30 April 1789