A brief historial review of America's religious roots and our need to return to them.
Speak Up, Christian!
Christian! Don’t be a wimp! Speak up! America is statistically overwhelmingly Christian (78.4% according to the Pew Foundation), yet we allow the ACLU and minority religious groups to shout us into silence and take away our freedom to publicly practice our beliefs. Look back to the early immigrants who left England and the other countries of Western Europe to find the freedom to practice their faith as they chose. A state-mandated religion was avoided by the descendants of these early settlers as they framed our Constitution because they wanted nothing to interfere with their freedom to practice their own faiths. Our public education system has its origins in these same settlers’ desire that everyone be able to read the Bible. Through the centuries, we American Christians have become complacent and overly gracious. Not only do we rightly allow people of other faiths to worship as they choose, but we have remained silent as our traditions have been denigrated and ridiculed. Public displays of other religions are permitted, but anything Christian must now scrupulously be avoided. Our growing fear of offending someone has rendered most American Christians mute.
I was in third grade at Sierra Elementary School when we stopped praying at the beginning of the school day. Before that, I had gleefully tormented my teacher, a staunch Baptist, by referring to “debts” instead of “trespasses” when we students took turns opening the school day with The Lord’s Prayer. I vividly remember when Mrs. T. announced that we would now have a moment of silent meditation in lieu of saying the Lord’s Prayer. At eight, I could see she was very upset, but I was just confused. When O’Hara waged her battle to prevent her children from being “exposed” to prayer in schools, America’s Christians complacently let her argument of “separation of church and state” stand. Article III of the Bill of Rights says nothing about “separation of church and state.” It does ordain that Congress "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".
The oft-quoted phrase, “separation of church and state” has its origins in a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association of Connecticut. The committee had written to express concern over the lack in their state constitution of explicit protection of religious liberty, and against a government establishment of religion. In his reply, dated January 1, 1801, Jefferson begins a lengthy sentence with, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God,” quotes Article III of the Bill of Rights, and then concludes it with, “thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Only in isolation, does Jefferson’s phrase imply that religion has no place in government. In situ, “separation between Church and State” clearly means government has no place in religion.
The interesting slant to this ban by America’s liberal left is only our Judeo-Christian roots are to be choked off. The modern educational system is totally out of touch with its historical roots. William Holmes McGuffey, the creator of the McGuffey Reader utilized by American educators for over one hundred years, declared:
"The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology."
The mere mention of Christianity is now anathema. Secular Humanism, the godchild of the American Civil Liberties Union, has taken the place of our Judeo-Christian foundation. In California, Moslem students have been given a room and time set aside for prayers. Schools not only permit, but encourage study units about Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa and Native American people’s religious practices while forbidding the discussion the religious aspects of Thanksgiving. Earth Day, which we are all encouraged to celebrate, has its roots in the pagan worship of Mother Earth. Today, few people under the age of 30 remember that the Puritans came to America to escape religious persecution.
Most American school children get about two weeks off around the end of December. This is now called the Winter Holiday. It can no longer be called Christmas vacation. Major retail merchants make a majority of their profit during the last week of November and first three weeks of December, formerly known as the Christmas season; now referred to as the Holiday season. With more than 75% of Americans believing in Christmas and over 90% celebrating it, why has it become offensive to say Merry Christmas?
Although clearly in the majority, Christians have become one of the few groups in America one can safely ridicule. Fundamental Christian believers are lumped in with Islamic Fundamentalists. Anyone now admitting to Christian beliefs and values has absolutely no intellectual credibility. Despite the fact there is more empirical evidence against than for evolution, anyone questioning the “scientific facts” of evolution is seen as intellectually deficient. We are portrayed as naïve at best, slightly retarded at worst.
If we Christians do not find our voice soon, we might end up like Pastor Niemöller, imprisoned by the Nazis.
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . and by that time there was no one left to speak up."
(Pastor Martin Niemöller 1892–1984)
If they came for Christians in America today, would they find any brave enough to admit it?
Jefferson, Thomas. “Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists.” http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html. June, 1998.The Library of Congress - Information Bulletin. May 15, 2008.
Niemöller, M. “First They Came.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came... Wikipedia.org. May 1, 2008.
“Prayer in Public School (Precedents) – The Legal Precedents.” http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/prayer-in-public-school.htm. May 18, 2008.
“U.S. Religious Landscape.” http://religions.pewforum.org/reports.The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. May 13, 2008.