Thursday, October 15

True religious freedom….anything but Christianity…

On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, and said, "I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state." This was in answer to the Danbury Baptists' fears of a nationally established religion.

This was a fear because many states were populated by certain denominations of the Christian faith: Connecticut was a Congregationalist state, Massachusetts puritan and Virginia was Baptist. These weren't state established denominations, but dominating denominations in each state. The people who established this nation did not want the trend that they had escaped from in the European countries where the governing body imposed a religion or denomination upon all states; they wanted the states to have the ability to establish a religion that the people in that state preferred.

Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, celebrates the fact that the varsity cheerleaders at Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe High School in Georgia were barred by school officials of Catoosa County from holding the traditional banners that displayed bible verses for the football team to run through upon their entrance into the field of play. This was not endorsed or established with school funds, school time or other school-related functions…it was a tradition established by the cheerleaders and accepted by the student body, parents and fans for six years. According to Haynes, the feeling of the cheerleaders that this was a form of student speech, not state-religion, is in error. It is surely, Haynes feels, a state-endorsed religious establishment…although there is no evidence given that the rest of Georgia is a participant in such traditions or that the state constitution establishes such tradition as law.

"The Constitution [our founding fathers] wrote establishes a secular state built upon the principles of religious liberty." Haynes remarks in his article in the Detroit Free Press Opinion page on October 14, 2009: No religion in schools a cause to cheer. "At the heart of that liberty is freedom from state-imposed religion, especially in our public schools."

Mr. Haynes flippantly remarks that the cheerleaders should go back to their civic books and look at the First Amendment clause, which demanded the school officials retract the traditional biblical verse banners from being used due to the complaint of a Ft. Oglethorpe resident. I would ask Mr. Haynes to read it again himself and consult his civics book, well at least get one from his era of learning and tell me where the United States Congress was involved in establishing laws pursuant to the Christian religion that superseded Georgia's own state government or where, for that matter the Georgia legislative branch was involved in such criminal activity. For the First Amendment says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Mr. Haynes seems guilty of what he accuses the coverage of the cheerleaders in Georgia of, "fuel[ing] the ignorance and strife over the role of religion in public schools." And guilty of the continuing misrepresentation of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, specifically the Establishment clause. But, according to Government by the People, 5th Edition from Pearson-Prentice Hall publishers, "In writing the 'establishment clause of the First Amendment, the framers were reacting to the English system in which the Crown was not only the head of the government but also the head of the established church, the Church of England."

I am, as a resident of my city, offended by the teaching of evolution in school, by the teaching of 'personal' sexuality and the passing of condoms to junior high schoolers. I find offense at the requirement for my children to be taught a edited version of Islam, made to make a prayer rug and taught how to pray to the east. . I am offended at the teaching that abortion is okay. I am offended that people like Mr. Haynes continue to not allow free expression of Christian values and yet allow gay and lesbian expression in school. I am offended that my public dollars are used for these things and that a host of other things that are offensive to me and my faith are commonplace in the marketplace, the roadways and in stores and yet, there is no outcry by Mr. Haynes and other 'separation of church and state' for these things. These are my tenants of faith and yet, atheists, agnostics and humanists are allowed free expression in school with my tax dollars. They are quite happily endorsed by the school, even though my children are Christian by their own profession and are equally offended.

Mr. Haynes apparently is not well schooled in the history of the United States of America.

According to Mr. Haynes, "the founding fathers had many things in mind when they drew on a variety of sources –Greek, Roman, biblical, Enlightenment –to create a nation." These influences, Haynes infers, resulted in a secular government established for religious liberty…..

It is true that several influences were used for the formation of the Federal Government. The experiences of the 13 colonies individually and collectively, the monarchy head that was also the religious head, British mixed government, Polybius' treatise on checks and balances of the Roman Empire, John Locke, the Magna Carta, the Christian faith and the Ten Commandments of the Torah to name a few. There were no active governments working under this audacious idea of a republic formed of the people, by the people and for the people anywhere in the world at the time. The only unified group of people that became a nation in the history of the time, without duress or conquest, was the nation of Israel, at least in my limited view of historic human government systems and nations of the world. Mr. Haynes ignores the religious and historical data of the United States when he states that the Constitution was created for a secular government for the purpose of religious liberty. The United States government was established, as stated in the Preamble of the Constitution:

"……. in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…….."

The colonies realized, in the lessons of the Revolutionary War, that such a 'universal' government was necessary for the defense of the individual states and the common good of every citizen within its borders. Religion was not the goal of the Constitution but the reason for it.

Haynes seems to think that the Christian denominations that our founding fathers came from had no effect on the shaping of the federal government as established in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Most historians who oppose either the Christian nation or a nation built on Christian ideals ignore much of the legal, factual and engraved declarations that blanket our nation's heritage. Rather than accept the historical data, the secular historians and scholars like Charles C. Haynes just downplay it…or totally refuse to accept it. Otherwise, they too would have to question the direction of the country that tells a body of students that they cannot honor their faith, their beliefs and their teammates with biblical texts that are fully their own making simply because of a 'perception' implied. The implication that this country was not founded on Christian faith principals is only the turnaround of such thinking, applied to the obvious errors in their 'scholarly' pursuits.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights originally applied to the Federal Government only, prohibiting the making of law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The states were left with their own sovereignty regarding religion mostly until the mid-20th Century when the Supreme Court began a more liberal interpretation of the establishment clause of this Amendment.

Until 1850, all thirteen colonies had some form of state-supported religion in the form of tax reliefs to religious requirements for voting or serving in the legislature. This country may not have been created as a Christian nation, but most of the foundational thinking came from Christian denominational colonists who did not want a federalized control over their freedom to worship, like the English system that they were rebelling against. But there is no doubt of the faith of the colonies that would become the United States of America:

Virginia, an Anglican/Church of England colony, considered "that religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force and violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other" (Declaration of Rights 1776) and that "the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, or under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…."(Statute for Religious Freedom 1786).

Massachusetts, was officially Protestant under the English, but tolerant and fair of other faiths dwelling in its colony. When the English took the providence from the Dutch, they established the Protestant faith, but granted religious tolerance to the other faiths and recognized the discipline of the Dutch Reformed Church. "It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, of for his religious profession or sentiments, provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship….And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."

Maryland, Anglican/Church of England, writes in its charter, "That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county: but the churches, chapels, globes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever..."

Delaware, who had no officially dominate religious denomination, writes in their charter, "BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge Our almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their consciencious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion."

Connecticut, a Congregational Church state, issued in their colonial charter these words, "[O]ur said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon," and in their constitution, "It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner."

New Hampshire, another Congregational Church state, writes in their constitution, "Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in is person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship."

Rhode Island, with no officially recognized dominating denomination, issued this in their charter…."That [the inhabitants], pursueing, with peaceable and loyall minces, their sober, serious and religious intentions, of goalie edifieing themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they were persuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in thoseparts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship...true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know bee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of oure sayd lovall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjovment of all theire civill and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loveing subjects; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God...That our royall will and pleasure is, that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinione in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, freelye and fullye have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments...and to direct, rule, order and dispose of, all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the makinge of purchases of the native Indians, as to them shall seeme meete; wherebv oure sayd people and inhabitants, in the sayd Plantationes, may be soe religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as that, by theire good life and orderlie conversations, they may win and invite the native Indians of the countrie to the knowledge and obedience of the onlie true God, and Saviour of mankinde..."

Georgia, where no recognized denomination was officially recognized, writes this in their constitution, "No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles." Ironically, this is the state where the 'fifteen minutes of fame' happened that Haynes speaks of.

North Carolina, Anglican/Church of England dominated state, has in their Constitution these words…." That there shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State, in preference to any other; neither shall any person, on any presence whatsoever, be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment, nor be obliged to pay, for the purchase of any glebe, or the building of any house of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes right, of has voluntarily and personally engaged to perform; but all persons shall be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship….."

South Carolina, Anglican/Church of England dominated, declared this in their Constitution…" That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue Incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall, (on complying with the terms hereinafter mentioned,) be, and be constituted, a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the state, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement or union of men upon pretense of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State: Ist. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments. 2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped. 3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion. 4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice. 5th That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth."

Pennsylvania's charter states, "That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their Own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account or his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or In any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship." There was no dominating denomination in the state.

New Jersey, with no official religion, wrote in their constitution, "That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects."

The rights of religious freedoms were expressed throughout the colonies, in their constitutions and even earlier documents establishing their colonies. Though there was religious persecution of non-dominate denominations during the pre-revolutionary times but most of the colonies recognized the desire and good form of religious freedom. The Pre-Revolution colonies based many of their decisions on religious beliefs, believing that a person who followed the Christian denominations exercised the kind of judgment and moral character necessary for the "good of all", i.e. political office and made it a requirement of service. It is the use of that religious faith that permeated the colonies that led to the Revolutionary War against England. And in the establishment of a republic-style of government, created by the people, for the people and consisting of the people.

"Taking all thirteen colonies into consideration there amounted to a total of 3105 religious organizations," Stacy A. Padula writes in an August 2006 online essay, "Of these 3105, over six hundred congregations were of the Congregationalist order, mostly in New England. Approximately five hundred and fifty were Presbyterians, five hundred Baptist, four hundred eighty Anglican, three hundred of the Society of Friends, a little over two hundred fifty German and Dutch Reformed, one hundred fifty Lutheran, and fifty Catholic. (Jameson, 85)."

Common Sense, published in 1776, by a non-practicing Quaker and referred to as a "dirty little atheist" named Thomas Paine, became an overnight sensation that persuaded the majority of undecided to endorse the Declaration of Independence in 1776 because it combined politics and religion, bringing together to common thread of a colonial people and ensuring them victory over an established, wealthy nation because of its tenements.

"Many historians characterize late colonial America as a religious society," Padula continues, "full of competing denominations, religious enthusiasm, and opposition to the established church. "That contentious spiritual climate, they believe, at once revived older traditions of Protestant dissent, particularly the opposition to the divine right of kings, and lent impetus to popular and individualistic styles of religiosity that defied the claims of the established authorities and venerable hierarchies – first in churches, and later, in the 1760s and 1770s, in imperial politics.""

Aside from slavery, the religious effects of the American history had many other sociological impacts on American society from the beginning and have been used as the highest of moral authority in all aspects of American culture. Among them service to others, elevation of the sick, elderly and infirmed and the promotion of freedom of all people regardless of race, creed or culture.

"[In America's early history] Bible study was the core of public education…"( Newsweek 12/27/82).

In 1774, a rallying cry was penned "No king but King Jesus!"

The First General of the Continental Army issued the first general order ever to American troops in 1775, "The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles ... which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner, he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine services to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense" and in another general order a few days later, compels"...every officer and man... to live and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country..." The General was George Washington.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political commentator noted in The Republic of the United States and Its Political Institutions Reviewed and Examined that "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other."

Jedediah Morse, the father of American geography, noted that the American government existed "To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys... 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." Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers' that Haynes is so adamantly states established a secular government, said, "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen, and patriots unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy... In short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system."

Congress took steps to legislate the moral condition of our first military by using Christian morality. In the Articles of War, adopted in 1775 and revised in 1776 for the Continental Army, there are three of four articles devoted to the religious nurturing of troops….Article 2 ""earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers to attend divine services." Punishment was prescribed for those who behaved "indecently or irreverently" in churches, including courts-martial, fines and imprisonments. Chaplains who deserted their troops were to be court-martialed.

The first article in Rules and Regulations of the Navy commanded all commanders "to be very vigilant . . . to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices." The second article required those same commanders "to take care, that divine services be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays." And Article 3 prescribed punishments for swearers and blasphemers: officers were to be fined and common sailors were to be forced "to wear a wooden collar or some other shameful badge of distinction."

In our legal system, at the federal level, Justice Samuel Chase said in Runkel V Winemiller 1799, "Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty." Chief Justice James Kent of the Supreme Court of New York wrote an opinion in People vs Ruggles, ""...Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government... (such offenses are) punishable at common law... The people of this state, in common with the people of this country, profess the general doctrines of Christianity, as the rule of their faith and practice, and to scandalize the author of these doctrines is not only ... impious, but ... is a gross violation of decency and good order....We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those [other religions]...Though the Constitution has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial cognizance of those offenses against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment. The [Constitutional] declaration... never meant to withdraw religion... from all consideration and notice of the law. To construe it as breaking down the common law barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Christianity itself would be an enormous perversion of its meaning... Christianity in its enlarged sense, as a religion revealed and taught in the Bible, is part and parcel of the law of the land.... judgment affirmed"

Our U.S. Flag Code, developed by the Army, Navy and other groups, in 1923 has a provision that allows for only one circumstance when the U.S. Flag cannot be flown above another flag on the same mast or pole. " No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. ..." (Title 4—Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and The States; Chapter 1 –the Flag; Sec. 7. Position and manner of display, ( c )) The Continental-Confederation Congress, governing the US from 1774 until 1789, encouraged the practice of the Christian faith to the expanding new nation. This Congress appointed chaplains for itself and the armed forces, sponsored the publication of a Bible and its distribution, imposed Christian morality on the armed forces as mentioned above, and granted public lands to promote Christianity among the Indians. National days of thanksgiving and of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" were proclaimed by Congress at least twice a year throughout the war. And have been declared by most Presidents since.

If the historical documentation isn't enough for Mr. Haynes, the physical representation of the faith of the country still exposed throughout the buildings of the federal government might help….

  • The rotunda of the U.S. Capitol contains four paintings: two prayer meetings, a Bible study and a baptism.
  • There are references to God at the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Archives, Senate and House office buildings, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Library of Congress.
  • The Library of Congress contains a bronze statue of Moses holding The Ten Commandments, plus other Biblical paintings and quotations, such as: "The heavens declare the glory of God".
  • The National Archives contains a bronze medallion with The Ten Commandments on it.
  • The Senate and House office buildings contain a plaque that says "In God we trust"
  • In the U.S. Supreme Court building, the Ten Commandments are inscribed above the judge's courtroom bench.
  • On the Washington Monument, the aluminum cap on top displays the latin phrase "Laus Deo" at the highest point of the capital of the United States, "Praise be to God!."
  • If one looks at the original plan of city designer Pierre Charles l'Enfant with the White House to the north, Jefferson Memorial to the south, the Capitol building to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west, it forms a perfect cross, with the Washington Monument in the center. With the inscription "Laus Deo".

Federal buildings were converted on Sundays for the worship of the governmental officials and the people of the capital city with the Marine Corp Band its musical accompaniment. The President has an extra day in which to veto a bill, because Sunday was an established day of worship to God. Throughout the framework of the Constitution, the heart of the American colonists and the intent of the founding fathers, Christianity has its voice. Not at the exclusion of any other, but as part of the music that is tolerance of differing ideals, religions and lifestyles that are subjected to the majority rule of the 'common good.'

"When I look at America today ….I see a lack of faith, a lack of the fear of God, and a strong force of anti-Christian behavior. This has been becoming more strongly evident with every generation, and every passing year. People now speak out that they are offended by the word "Christmas Tree". They want God taken out of the pledge of allegiance. Society wishes to take prayer out of the classroom. In many schools children are no longer allowed to sing Christmas carols, yet Hanukah songs are welcomed. People are taught by the American culture to do the best they can for themselves, and to get ahead no matter what they have to do, morals aside. The morality of younger generations is gradually becoming obsolete. Children of young ages are participating in immoral activities that I did not even know existed when I was their age. Sin is accepted as normal behavior, in regards to many different areas. Pre-marital sex is embraced by all of the methods of birth control available to the unwed. Abortion is legal, which means killing is legal, which is just absurd….. It is crazy that America was once a nation where religious beliefs were so strong that they could fuel a Revolution, and today God is unwanted in its Pledge of Allegiance." Stacy A. Padula August 2006

Charles Haynes may be praising the incorrect assumption that the First Amendment requires the silencing of Christian expressions of faith by public school students…..but history shows us what the presence of such faith and its public expression has done for this nation. He expresses scorn at the display of support, saying "I doubt the people of Catoosa County would cry "free speech" if they were transported to a school district where weekly banners proclaimed passages from the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Bhagavad-Gita or some other scripture not their own." Haynes concludes. Unfortunately for Mr. Haynes, living in some ivory tower somewhere, he is cut off from the majority of Americans today and far from the Christian ideals that he challenges. The honoring of Islamic, Hindu and even African holidays is legally required while the Christian themes and holidays are banned or relabeled to be secularized. The Atheist views are allowed, teaching that evolution is fact, instead of a theory, at the exclusion of intelligent design…Sexual orientation is taught as a self-recognized opinion, a humanist and post-modern view, despite biological, ethical and moral standards of my faith that say otherwise. Instead of being a place of education, American schools have become a place of brain-washing, where the truth very seldom is examined, held to a light, compared with other thoughts and facts and a conclusion allowed to be arrived at through the logical progression of thought.

Mr. Haynes, scholar that he claims to be, apparently missed out on the lesson that the founding fathers hoped their 'prosperity' would know, that they lived in the colonial wilds of this country when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written amid the culturally diverse faith of many religious expressions, both at home and abroad:

"[P]eople become familiar with one another's religious ways and their differences and that environment has bred a mutual respect, an atmosphere of toleration amongst the folks of the different religious persuasions." Bob Doares says in an interview about colonial religion with Harmony Hunter, "Sort of the opposite of the phrase, "familiarity breeds contempt." …..familiarity with one another's different ways bred respect and toleration…….. it's very important that we realize when today we see religion as still such an important, often divisive, but vitally important matter to Americans, individually and as groups or as movements, we must remember that this is all part of a continuum, a process of living with and dealing with differences and diversity in religion since the settlers began coming to America."

I think that the cheerleaders of Catoosa County's Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe High School in Georgia, in the tradition of displaying banners of Christian verses at their football games, know more of our nation's roots than Mr. Charles Haynes ever will and honor the founding fathers' historic and documented nod to the Christian faith that was the predominate religious expression used in modeling the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which are the heart and blood of this nation. And the people who support them honor the greatest of American freedoms and the core of its success as a Republic; majority rule with concern and compassion for the minorities.

You can live in my country and believe whatever you wish to believe. No longer do I hear the bells ring out from the Christian denominations, but the Mosques can ring out a recorded call to prayer several times a day, and I do not complain; the government is free to issue proclamations honoring Islam, and then as an afterthought amid the outcry of the Christians…one for Christmas and Christianity, as well as other faiths without fear of 'establishing a state religion', and I don't complain; a Presidential hopeful can stand in the halls of a religious establishment and campaign without fear, but pastors of the Christian denominations cannot lead their people in voting their faith at the polls, and I do not complain;Gays and lesbians are allowed to hold a 'day of silence' in public schools and yet Christian youth are suspended from school for their shirts that proclaim another view, and I don't complain; boys who feel like they should be a girl are allowed in the female restrooms of the school or modifications with public money are made to allow such 'freedom' and I don't complain; so why aren't our Christian youth allowed to express themselves in the same way without complaint?

Our 'dear' President has called this a nation of many faiths, of which Christianity, true Christianity, is now the minority…yet it is one of the many named. Why is it the only religion persecuted in the American landscape today?

If you don't want to listen to such Christian expressions of encouragement, read it on the banners of high school students for the edification of their sports teams or have it recognized in the hallways of school because it is Christian………if you are offended by the Christian heritage of my country that allows you that freedom, was purchased by the blood of Christian patriots and written into the Constitution with expressions of a Christian faith of this great nation by intellectually giant men of faith………then:

Understand that we are honoring our rights as established by the First Amendment:

Prohibiting the government from making of law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…..because……..We the People, of a predominately Christian faith and heritage, ……. in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…… ORDAIN and ESTABLISH the Constitution of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

In God We Trust, in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and nine.



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