Prayer to God has been supported by virtually every President since George Washington. Washington commented on the importance of prayer stating:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor . . . therefore, I do recommend [that] the people of the United States . . . may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.” 14
Time and again the Founders called for prayer. John Adams15, James Madison16, Samuel Adams17, Benjamin Franklin18, George Clinton19, Jonathan Trumbull20, Elias Boudinot21, and Daniel Tompkins22, just to name a few. In a case before the Supreme Court in 1992 we see the arrogance of activist judges in their non-stop efforts to redefine our Constitution. In Lee v. Weisman the right to have a minister deliver invocations and benedictions at school graduations was taken away even though these things had been done in American schools for over 300 years. The Supreme Court’s opinion written by Justice Souter stated: “These practices prove, at best, that the Framers simply did not share a common understanding of the Establishment Clause, and, at worst, that they, like other politicians, could raise constitutional ideas one day and turn their backs on them the next.” 23
To believe that you know more about documents written over two hundred year ago than the actual people that wrote them is arrogance on steroids. That kind of a statement can only come from someone who is bent on completely redefining our Constitution and is in a position to do it.
Do you think Cubans are fighting for healthcare or freedom from Communism?
Prayer has been so vital to the national health of this nation and still is vital even though many in our government want to take it away or put no stock in the validity of it.
The current President has cancelled the National Day of Prayer at the White House but held a celebration for Ramadan and has called America, of which 80% of the population claims to believe in the God of Christianity, a Muslim nation. The dependence that the Founders had on prayer was typical of men of the Christian faith. Elias Boudinot, attorney, author, member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton, member of the New Jersey Assembly, member of and President of the Continental Congress, member of the House of Representatives, framer of the Bill of Rights, involved with many other organization from Bible Societies to Director of the U.S. Mint was involved enough to know whether prayer should be a part of government business and on September 25, 1789 The Annals of Congress recorded this discussion:
“Elias Boudinot said he could not think of a letting this session pass over without offering the opportunity to all citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving, on any single event, not only laudable one in itself but as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ: for instance, the solemn thanksgiving and rejoicing which took place in the time of Solomon after the building of the temple was a case in point. This example he thought worthy of Christian imitation on the present occasion: and he would agree with the gentleman who moved the resolution. Mr. Boudinot quoted further precedents from the practice of Congress and hoped the motion would meet a ready acquiescence [approval]. The question was now put on the resolution and it was carried in the affirmative.” 24 (emphasis added)
It may seem that this point is being belabored but the point must be established beyond a doubt that the Founders regularly invoked Christian principles into the daily operations of government, not because they were ignorant of the Constitution that they wrote but because it was allowed in the Bill of Rights that they wrote and fully understood contrary to the opinion of Justice Souter.
The systematic removal of the principles of the Christian religion has been accelerating in the last 60 years. In 1947 the Everson decision began to unravel the Foundation of the Constitution by taking away from the people the right to call upon God in all arenas. In the case of McCollum v. Board of Education, 1948, the Supreme Court made unconstitutional voluntary religious activity in schools. This goes against the Northwest Ordinance which required states to make available ‘religion, morality, and knowledge’. William Samuel Johnson, signer of the Constitution made this comment contradicting the McCollum decision:
“You have . . . received a public education, and the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country. . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present in your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct.” 25
Since the ‘separation’ decision in 1947 (Everson), we have seen religious rights and activity that had been constitutional for 150 suddenly become unconstitutional. Here are some of the things that has come about since this decision.
Freedoms of speech and press are guaranteed to students and teachers – unless the topic is religious, at which time such speech becomes unconstitutional. (Stein v. Oshinsky, 196526; Collins v. Chandler Unified School District, 198127)
The Ten Commandments, despite the fact that they are the basis of civil law and are depicted in engraved stone in the U.S. Supreme Court, may not be displayed at a public courthouse. (Harvey v. Cobb County, 1993)28
Because a prosecuting attorney mentioned seven words from the Bible in a courtroom – a statement which lasted less than five seconds – a jury sentence was overturned for a man convicted of brutally clubbing a 71 year old woman to death. 29
In a high school class in Dickson, Tennessee, students were required to write a research paper using at least four sources. Despite the fact that the students were allowed to write about reincarnation, witchcraft, and the occult (all religious beliefs), because student Brittney Settle chose to write her paper about the life of Jesus Christ, she was given a ‘0’ by her teacher. 30
In Omaha, Nebraska, a student was prohibited from reading his Bible silently during free time, or even to open his Bible at school. 31
This shows just how far we have gotten away from what made this nation great. The foundation that was laid for one hundred and seventy years, from the first Pilgrim landing until the writing of the Constitution and then established in writing and law and then guided this nation from a fledging nation to the most powerful and most prosperous nation the world has ever seen is being denied the right to practice what our Founders fought and died for.
The one aspect that made America exceptional was her dedication to her God. The God of the Bible and the (C)courts are declaring any public display of the religion practiced by our Founders as unconstitutional. Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman what type of government had been assembled by the Congress and his response was “A republic if you can keep it.” That republic is slipping away because we no longer hold our courts accountable to the Constitution. Many forget that courts cannot make law, yet they do it all the time. Gay marriage in Massachusetts was ordered by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered the State legislators to pass a law allowing gay marriage. The Supreme Court of Colorado overturned the vote of the people concerning special rights for gays. This was an area where the Court had no jurisdiction, yet stepped in anyway. Even California’s Supreme Court is deciding the fate of Proposition 8, a voter decided mandate on gay marriage. Again, a voter referendum is NOT the jurisdiction of the Court.
The Court oversteps its bounds on a regular basis. The U.S. Supreme Court, which is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States has overturned several state cases using international law. This is not allowed by our Constitution, yet no one will hold their feet to the fire. We are allowing our exceptionalism to be taken from us one bit at a time. In 1947 the Christian principles were removed from government. In 1954 the church was silenced in the political arena with a tax law written by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, in 1962 prayer was taken out of the schools, in 1963 the Bible was taken out of the schools. Will we continue to allow our rights to be whittled away until we have none left or will we take a stand and demand that our rights be given back? Do we want the America that made us great or do we want an America that is heading for failure? The decision is ours.
14) Washington, Writings (1838), Vol. XII, p. 119, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789.
15) John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, brown and Co., 1850), Vol. IX, p. 169, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on March 23, 1789.
16) James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 (Published by Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, p. 532. July 23, 1813.
17) Samuel Adams, By the Governor, A Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer (Printed t the State Press: Adams and Larkin, 1795).
18) James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, pp. 985-986. June 28, 1787.
19) Speeches of the . . . Governors of . . . New York, p.80, Governor George Clinton on January 31, 1804.
20) Jonathan Trumbull, By His Excellency Jonathan Trumbull, Esq. Governor and Commander in Chief In and Over the State of Connecticut. A Proclamation. (Hudson and Goodwin, 1807).
21) Boudinot, Vol. I, p. 21, to the First Provincial Congress of New Jersey.
22) Speeches of the . . . Governors of . . . New York, p.126, Governor Daniel Tompkins on January 25, 1814.
23) Lee at 510-511, 516, (Souter, J., concurring)
24) Annals of Congress, (1834), Vol. I, pp. 949-950, September 25, 1789.
25) Edwards Beardsley, Life and Time of Samuel Johnson (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1886), pp. 141-142.
26) Stein v. Oshinsky, 348 F 2d 999 (2nd Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 957.
27) Collins v. Chandler Unified School District, 644 F. 2d 759 (9th Cir. 1981), cert, denied, 454 U.S. 863.
28) Harvey v. Cobb County, 811 F. Supp. 699 (N.D. Ga. 1993); affirmed, 15 F. 3d 1097 (11th Cir. 1994); cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1129 (1994)
29) Commonwealth v. Chambers, 599 A. 2d 630, 643-644 (Pa. 1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 946 (1992), petition for rehearing denied August 18, 1992.
30) Settle v. Dickson County School Board, 53 F.3d 152 (6th Cir. 1995);cert. denied, 516 U.S. 989 (1995); see also Dallas Morning News, “Court rejects case of girl who wrote Jesus paper,” November 28, 1995, 4-A; picked up on wire service from Los Angeles Times.
31) Gierke v. Blotzer, CV-88-0-883 (D. Neb. 1989).Tags: American History Founding fathers Religious Freedom
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.