Likely you sense it as much as I do: America is facing a crisis. And to a large degree we’re facing a crisis because we do not understand—and often times we don’t even know—our country’s true history. Because we have neglected our obligation to know and pass on our history, those who seek to remove God from our nation have taken the liberty of rewriting our history in our schools and through the media. With this past Saturday, September 17, having been recognized as Constitution Day, it’s appropriate to reflect on America’s unique heritage.
When the United States was founded, she stood on the shoulders of centuries of devoted, brave yet ordinary men and women who loved the God of the Bible and understood how to nurture one of His greatest conditional blessings to mankind: liberty.
The peace, security, prosperity, integrity, and freedom that have longtime been hallmarks of the United States are all results of her distinctively Christian roots. Despite what you may hear from the media and public-school textbooks, America, while certainly not a theocracy, was founded based largely on Christian principles.
The evidence is everywhere—from the original writings of the early settlers and founding fathers to the inscriptions on buildings and memorials, to court decisions. Consider the first six words of the Mayflower Compact, written and signed in 1620 by William Bradford and other men on the Mayflower : “IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN.” And the mission statement of the New England Confederation written in 1643, “[W]e all came to these parts of America, with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
One need look no farther than the constitutions of all 50 states to see references to God. For example, Wisconsin’s preamble begins: “We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.” These and a multitude of other similar proofs get ignored in our schools and by the media today—but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist!
However, most of our true heritage has been effectively expunged from the textbooks of our public schools and universities and the media has erased it, as well. The result? God and Christianity have been essentially removed from our origin—at least in the thinking and knowledge of many in this generation.
The greatest threat to our Christian heritage comes from an onslaught of political correctness under the banner of “separation of church and state.” We are endlessly bombarded with this phrase, a favorite euphemism of the liberal establishment. But what does it really mean? First, the words “separation of church and state” or “wall of separation” are not in the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson borrowed the phrase from a Roger Williams’ sermon and used it in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802—and Jefferson, I assure you, wasn’t using the phrase the way it is used today.
Here’s what the U.S. Constitution actually says in the first amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Both the free exercise clause and the establishment clause place restrictions on the government concerning laws they pass interfering with religion. No restrictions are placed on religions except that government is not to establish an official state religion.
However, currently the implied common meaning and the use of the metaphor is strictly for the church staying out of the state's business. Today, the "separation of church and state" metaphor is simply an icon for eliminating anything having to do with Christianity, the religion of our heritage, from the public arena.
Additionally, using the metaphor in place of the actual words of the constitution in discourse and debate, in the public’s mind, allows the true meaning of the words in the constitution to be effectively changed to the implied meaning of the metaphor.
God frequently rebuked Israel for forgetting her true history. The reason this was so important to God is that it is impossible to teach history to our children if we do not know it ourselves. Christians today are presented with the same challenge Israel faced: not to forget our history but to consciously and purposefully pass it on through the generations. Our very future may depend on it.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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