Published November 6, 2003
Sir: There has been no small commotion, in recent years, as to the constitutionality of Christian symbols and citations of Scripture in government owned facilities. Rising from the debate are cries that the U. S. Constitution requires a "separation of church and state" - a Jeffersonian phrase not found in the Declaration of Independence nor the U. S. Constitution.
This separation theme is often interpreted to mean that American government should be devoid of any references to religion. Most recently, there has ensued a judicial battle over such things as the appearance of the Old Testament Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments, in government-owned courthouses and the statement, "One nation under God," as recited in the Pledge of Allegiance. Those who oppose such religious symbolism state that these are inherently "unconstitutional" and should thereby be stricken from the government landscape.
If this reasoning is carried to its logical conclusions, we would eventually remove "In God We Trust" from our nation's currency, cease the more than 200 year tradition of having prayers said in Congress, and ultimately deface the architecture of most federal buildings in Washington, D.C. - for, even the U. S. Supreme Court building contains an artistic rendering of the Ten Commandments.
At the heart of this matter, the question arises, "Was America founded as a Christian nation?" The answer to that question is impeccably clear.
Of the 55 colonial delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, 52 (or 94.5%) were members of Christian churches. Contrary to the widespread misinformation about the prevalence of Deism among the framers, only 3 of the delegates considered themselves to be such (merely 5.5%).
One can ascertain the worldview of the framers of the Constitution by reading their writings. Research in a 1984 article appearing in the American Political Science Review detailed a study of over 17,000 written works by the framers during the era of the late 1700s.
One might conclude that the sources quoted by these writers would indicate the books that they were reading. Did you know that of the quotations from other works that the framers cited in their writings, 34% came from the Bible? The two most often-cited, non-biblical, writers were Baron Charles Montesquieu and Sir William Blackstone: two European legal writers with clearly biblical views of law and government.
If this is not convincing proof that America was founded as a Christian nation, consider the following statements written by the framers themselves:
ï George Washington wrote, "It is impossible rightly to govern the world without God and the Bible."
ï Patrick Henry, who must have known that one day Americans would doubt the Christian foundation of the nation, wrote, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
ï James Madison, who must have known that one day Americans might question the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments in the federal milieu, stated, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
Let there be no doubt about it; America was founded by Christians and the U. S. Constitution was based upon the eternal laws of God as revealed in the Bible. To think that the Ten Commandments are not historically relevant to the foundations of the American legal system is preposterous.
America may not act like much of a Christian nation today, but it certainly was when our founding documents were written. As our founding father, John Adams, said, "The Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
If Americans remove God from the federal infrastructure, we will only be destroying the very foundation upon which this nation was built.
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