By, David Bellow
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been criticized by the leftist media and atheist groups for calling for a day of prayer to ask God’s help in solving the many problems we face in America today. This Prayer event is called The Response and it is this Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX. It is an all day event that starts at 9am.
These groups opposing Governor Perry’s involvement in the prayer rally use words like “separation of church and state” and they say that the Constitution forbids the government from having anything to do with something that even smells of religion or spirituality. They want to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and our history books. They want to prohibit prayer at private memorial services of fallen soldiers and they say that the Founding Fathers were deists.
The Atheists and the Liberal Media are wrong.
The Constitution does not mention the words church or state. The Constitution says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
What that means is that Congress shall make no law creating a national religion (like the Church of England) and Congress cannot tell people that they not to freely exercise their religious beliefs, even if a politician wants to express his religious beliefs. It does not mean that spirituality should be taken out of America, nor does it mean that government officials cannot be publically spiritual. In fact, America was founded the idea that GOD has given us inalienable rights that cannot be taken away. The Founding Fathers created America on a spiritual foundation and, according to Wallbuilders, 27 of 56 Founding Fathers were pastors. Learning about our Christian Heritage, or having in God we Trust on money, or having Governor Perry call for a day of prayer, none of those amount to “Congress establishing a National Religion”, nor are they the government forcing someone to believe in a specific religion. You can believe and practice whatever religion you want in America and a cross on the side of the road is not going to prevent that. An atheist or a Muslim might not like it, but the cross on the side of the road is not establishing a national religion that everyone has to belong to, and it is not prohibiting you from believing in Allah or no God at all.
Still, Atheist and Agnostics of the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Governor Perry to try to keep him from being involved in the Day of Prayer. U.S. District Judge Gray Miller threw out the lawsuit against Perry and said that the Freedom From Religion Foundation argued against Perry's involvement based merely on feelings of exclusion, but did not show sufficient harm to merit the injunction they sought and that The governor has done nothing more than invite others who are willing to do so to pray.
So what would the Founding Fathers think of Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally? They would probably be there!
First of all, if God was to completely taken out of America then we would have no rights because, according to the Declaration of Independence, all people are created equal with inalienable rights given to us by our Creator (God)
Second of all, the founding fathers were deeply involved in public prayer and public religious activities, even in government, and especially while they were founding the United States of America.
What did the Founding Fathers think of Public Religious Expression?
Below is just a small list of examples of Founding Fathers and Public Religious Expression (Click Here for the Much Larger List from Wallbuilders)
One of the most famous pictures of the First Continental Congress is a picture of the founding fathers on their knees praying for God’s guidance.
Another famous picture is of George Washington on his knees praying in the woods for God’s guidance.
Thomas Jefferson would disagree in several areas with those who often invoke him as an authority for a secular public arena, for Jefferson himself regularly violated the bland “civil religion” standards which many secularists promote. Consider:
- Jefferson urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes
- In an 1803 federal Indian treaty, Jefferson willingly agreed to provide $300 to “assist the said Kaskaskia tribe in the erection of a church” and to provide “annually for seven years $100 towards the support of a Catholic priest.” He also signed three separate acts setting aside government lands for the sole use of religious groups and setting aside government lands so that Moravian missionaries might be assisted in “promoting Christianity.”
- When Washington D. C. became the national capital in 1800, Congress voted that the Capitol building would also serve as a church building. President Jefferson chose to attend church each Sunday at the Capitol and even provided the service with paid government musicians to assist in its worship. Jefferson also began similar Christian services in his own Executive Branch, both at the Treasury Building and at the War Office.
- Jefferson praised the use of a local courthouse as a meeting place for Christian services;
- Jefferson assured a Christian religious school that it would receive “the patronage of the government”;
- Jefferson proposed that the Great Seal of the United States depict a story from the Bible and include the word “God” in its motto;
- While President, Jefferson closed his presidential documents with the phrase, “In the year of our Lord Christ; by the President; Thomas Jefferson.”
Furthermore, Jefferson would especially disagree with those who believe that public prayers should be non-sectarian and omit specific references to Jesus. Jefferson believed that every individual should pray according to his own beliefs. As Jefferson explained:
[The] liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will [is] a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support. (emphasis added)
Critics, therefore, would be particularly troubled by President Jefferson’s words that:
No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.
James Madison also encouraged public officials to declare openly and publicly their Christian beliefs and testimony — as when he wrote to William Bradford (who became Attorney General under President George Washington):
I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.
Additionally, throughout his Presidency, Madison issued several proclamations for public days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving, and like Jefferson, President Madison also attended church at the Capitol, thus publicly endorsing religion in official arenas.
So, not only did Jefferson and Madison endorse religion in the public arena, they were even willing publicly to endorse Christian prayers in the public arena rather than the bland politically-correct civic prayers desired by critics of public prayers.
There are many additional framers of our government who are also qualified to speak to the issue of religious expressions in official and political arenas. For example:
· [W]e can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning during the sessions in order to open the meeting with prayer. Elias Boudinot, President of Congress, A Framer of the Bill of Rights in the First Congress
See the rest of the list from Wallbuilders
What Did the Founding Fathers think about Religion and Government?
Below is a small list of a much larger list of the Religious Quotes and Activities of the Founding Fathers (Click Here for a Larger List from Wallbuilders)
JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; “FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”
You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.
While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.
The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would… most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; DIPLOMAT; GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA; SECRETARY OF STATE; THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.
I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.
John Quincy Adams
SIXTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; DIPLOMAT; SECRETARY OF STATE; U. S. SENATOR; U. S. REPRESENTATIVE; “OLD MAN ELOQUENT”; “HELL-HOUND OF ABOLITION”
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; “FATHER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION”; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
He called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . .
- the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind.
- we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.
- with true contrition of heart to confess their sins to God and implore forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.
MILITARY OFFICER; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Called on the people of New Hampshire . . . to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.
PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; SIGNED THE PEACE TREATY TO END THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; FIRST ATTORNEY ADMITTED TO THE U. S. SUPREME COURT BAR; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; DIRECTOR OF THE U. S. MINT
Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.
LEGISLATOR; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION
A letter to his son, James, attending Princeton University:
I flatter myself you will be what I wish, but don’t be so much flatterer as to relax of your application – don’t forget to be a Christian. I have said much to you on this head, and I hope an indelible impression is made.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SELECTED AS DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; U. S. SENATOR
Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation and on myself in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th of July 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 2d day of August of the same year and of which I am now the last surviving signer.
The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Congress, U. S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854
Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle... In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity... That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.
SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA; GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE; GENERAL IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness… We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION; DIPLOMAT; PRINTER; SCIENTIST; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”
REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; LEGISLATOR; “THE VOICE OF LIBERTY”; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA
The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT
It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I recommend a general and public return of praise and thanksgiving to Him from whose goodness these blessings descend. The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the source from which they flow.
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
Francis Scott Key
U. S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AUTHOR OF THE “STAR SPANGLED BANNER”
[M]ay I always hear that you are following the guidance of that blessed Spirit that will lead you into all truth, leaning on that Almighty arm that has been extended to deliver you, trusting only in the only Savior, and going on in your way to Him rejoicing.
REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; “PENMAN OF THE CONSTITUTION”; DIPLOMAT; U. S. SENATOR
There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society is disjointed and its members perish… [T]he most important of all lessons is the denunciation of ruin to every state that rejects the precepts of religion.
Your good morals in the army give me sincere pleasure as it hath long been my fixed opinion that virtue and religion are the great sources of human happiness. More especially is it necessary in your profession firmly to rely upon the God of Battles for His guardianship and protection in the dreadful hour of trial. But of all these things you will and I hope in the merciful Lord.
HISTORIAN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; EDUCATOR; “FATHER OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY”; APPOINTED BY SECRETARY OF STATE TO DOCUMENT CONDITION OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. All efforts made to destroy the foundations of our Holy Religion ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation… in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom… Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government – and all the blessings which flow from them – must fall with them.
LEADER OF THE SONS OF LIBERTY; ATTORNEY & JURIST; MENTOR OF JOHN HANCOCK AND SAMUEL ADAMS
Has [government] any solid foundation? Any chief cornerstone?... I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of God… The sum of my argument is that civil government is of God.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SURGEON GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; “FATHER OF AMERICAN MEDICINE”; TREASURER OF THE U. S. MINT; “FATHER OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . . My only hope of salvation is in the infinite tran¬scendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Noth¬ing but His blood will wash away my sins [Acts 22:16]. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly! [Revelation 22:20]
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.
By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects… It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published.
[T]he greatest discoveries in science have been made by Christian philosophers and . . . there is the most knowledge in those countries where there is the most Christianity.
[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.
[C]hristianity is the only true and perfect religion; and… in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts, they will be wise and happy.
The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.
The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life… [T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.
U. S. CONGRESSMAN; “FATHER OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE”; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON
One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations.
I verily believe that Christianity is necessary to support a civil society and shall ever attend to its institutions and acknowledge its precepts as the pure and natural sources of private and social happiness
SECRETARY OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; DESIGNER OF THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES; ALONG WITH JOHN HANCOCK, THOMSON WAS ONE OF ONLY TWO FOUNDERS TO SIGN THE INITIAL DRAFT OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE APPROVED BY CONGRESS
JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT; CONFIDANT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON AND CALLED “BROTHER JONATHAN” BY HIM
He called on the State of Connecticut to pray that . . .
God would graciously pour out His Spirit upon us and make the blessed Gospel in His hand effectual to a thorough reformation and general revival of the holy and peaceful religion of Jesus Christ.
U. S. SENATOR; SECRETARY OF STATE; “DEFENDER OF THE CONSTITUTION”
[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.
[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible… men [are] much indebted for right views of civil liberty.
The Bible is a book… which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.
REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER; JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; EDUCATOR; “SCHOOLMASTER TO AMERICA”
[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.
The moral principles and precepts found in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.
All the… evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.
[T]he Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society – the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men.
[T]he Christian religion… is the basis, or rather the source, of all genuine freedom in government… I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.
See the rest of the list from Wallbuilders