When I was growing up in the 1970's and going to elementary school in Prince George's County, Maryland, I very much enjoyed studying the history of the American Revolution. It was always a very big deal for us and we used to have "festivals" celebrating the founding of the United States and celebrating the ideas that the Founders wrote about.
That doesn't seem to happen much anymore. Somewhere along the line, our educational system began to "forget" about where we came from. And, if you don't know where you came from, you cannot get to where you're going.
How many of us still believe as the Founders did? I mean, really believe. How many of us even know what the Founders believed?
That number is getting smaller and smaller even thought our population is getting bigger and bigger.
John Adams once said, "Our constitution is only fit for a moral and religious people. It is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other kind."
Perhaps that quote merely sounded like Christian bravado over the years, but today, we may be witnessing the true meaning of those words.
The Constitution was originally written so that people of all faiths could come to the New World and worship according their own conscious. But the deeper meaning is that they were free from having any particular religion forced upon them by the state. John Adams envisioned such a nation growing in North America.
What neither he nor any other Founder envisioned was that atheistic movements would spring up and threaten to drown out the faithful from the public scene. The reason that Adams said that our Constitution was "wholly unsuited to the governance of any other kind" was because the Constitution contained no controls over those who would reject morality and decency in favor of hedonism and self-indulgence.
For example, the Consitution contains no reference to the crime of murder. Why? Because the Founders knew that the good and moral people of the several states would enforce a "murder is a crime" civic code. That one is simple to explain.
But, the Constitution also contains language that guarantees certain liberties like free speech. Does that mean that you are free to go over to your neighbor's house and begin yelling obscenities at your neighbor's children because they are praying where you can see them? Again, the Founders would never have considered this to be a problem and were certain that local communities were filled with people who would find such a prospect horrifying. But, now you can see the grey area where, over the past hundred years or so, the non-faithful have been working in and exploiting legal loopholes.
This is, I believe, precisely why John Adams said what he said. It wasn't meant as a compliment to the faithful, it was meant as a warning of what could happen if the faithful ever lost their public voice.
Chuck Norris, writing for Town Hall notes a few things:
|Under Article VI, Section 3 of the new Constitution, denominational tests for public office were prohibited, but the idea that Judeo-Christian ideas and practices must be kept separate from government would have struck our Founders as ridiculous because the very basis for the Founders' ideas were rights that were endowed upon all of us by our Creator.|
It was everywhere in public life back in the late 1700's. Even Benjamin Rush advocated diversity long before it became a left-wing political buzzword:
|"Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth, than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament."|
Well, maybe not so much Mohammed, but clearly, Rush saw the dangers of allowing atheism to overshadow faith.
|[S]igners of the Constitution included Abraham Baldwin, a minister. Others had studied religion but never were ordained. And again, most signers of the Constitution were also Protestants. Two, Charles Carroll and Thomas Fitzsimons, were Roman Catholics. |
Like George Washington, I don't believe we can maintain morality and civility apart from a religious foundation: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. … Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
One of the problems we are facing here in modern times is that groups like the ACLU have twisted the First Amendment around so that "Freedom of religion" now means to them "Freedom from religion." They like to point to the part of the First Amendment that says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," but seem to conveniently forget the rest of that line which statess, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The Founders envisioned people having the right to worship in public, something that atheists claim is "offensive." In other words, the ACLU and their anti-religious allies are seeking to force us all to act like atheists.
So, why hasn't our new president shown any regard for any religion except Islam? Chuck Norris isn't afraid to ask the following question:
|Is Obama afraid of the word "Jesus"?|
The Founders weren't. And we shouldn't be either. Feel free to express your religious convictions anywhere you please. If the ACLU tries to stop you, remind them of the part of the First Amendment that states "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
You can access the complete column on-line here:
Is Obama Afraid Of The J-Word?
April 7, 2009