America’s Christian heritage censored?

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...

James Madison

For those interested in history and willing to dig a little, it’s not difficult to find proof that America’s heritage is not only Christian, but that our founders were profoundly Christian in their beliefs. The proof is in their personal writings and in the documents they signed that formed the basis for how we, as a nation, are governed.

I came across a very interesting podcast recently. It was actually something that aired on Focus on the Family’s daily radio program June 30 and July 1 in advance of America’s Independence Day holiday, which for 150 years was actually a religious holiday. There’s simply too much there to recapture in this blog; suffice to say it’s worth looking up and listening to.

The gist of the program, which was a recording of a presentation by renowned Historian David Barton, was to point out that in spite of arguments that claim America is a secular nation and that the Founding Fathers were merely a bunch of atheists or deists are lies equivalent to the claims that the Jewish holocaust never happened.

One thing I found appalling while listening to the radio program was the apparent recognition by current Associate Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court that the Founding Fathers did not know what they were talking about when they wrote the Constitution, nor did they understand it when they wrote it. How utterly amazing is it that the very men who wrote and signed the Constitution didn’t comprehend what they were writing or that so-called legal scholars centuries later would determine that they were stupid! Yet Justice Souter apparently came to this position when he sided with the majority in the case Lee v. Weisman (90-1014), 505 U.S. 577 (1992), which upheld arguments that prayer in public schools violates the Constitution. One would think the men who actually debated and wrote the Constitution would know more about it than some insignificant activist judge living some 200 years later!

How far we’ve come from the days when it was believed and argued that the qualifications for political office in the United States included a belief in the Christian faith and the willingness to act and govern accordingly. Daniel Webster, an ardent apologist for the U.S. Constitution and a former U.S. Senator, Congressman and Secretary of State, argued as much during the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention.

Even as recent as 1952 the U.S. Supreme Court found it “inconceivable” to divorce religious instruction from public education in America. Furthermore, Barton argues, if public prayer and religious instruction in the public schools was so reprehensible, why then were many of the Founding Fathers adamantly in favor of religious instruction and prayer in the public schools, as evidenced by their writings?

For example, James Madison wrote, and is recorded in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787):

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this: and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel; We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

It is also recorded in government records that at the opening of the first Congress, those in attendance prayed for three hours! People in church today can’t sit still for a prayer lasting three minutes! How is it that somewhere between 1952 and when the Warren Court assumed its judicial activist role a decade later, America bluntly determined that it is patently unconstitutional for public prayer and religious instruction to stand when that was what marked the opening of the very first session of Congress?

I must agree with Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, when he said: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” We can only hope that God’s patience lasts long enough for America to resume its position of prayer wherein we seek God’s forgiveness from our knees and wait for the blessings that we once enjoyed.

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One thought on “America’s Christian heritage censored?

  1. Pingback: America’s Christian heritage is evident: historical texts prove it | Across the Back Fence

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