A few years ago, I saw the movie "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson in the title role. (A Patriot is defined--A person who loves his country and zealously supports and defends it and its interests). The film had many very bloody scenes depicting the war as horrible, which no words can describe. The pastor in the story also went to war to "lead his sheep". Even in this secular film, there were some prayers said. This made me think; Did our founding fathers pray? And if they did, to whom did they pray? Was it Mohammed, Buddha, Mother earth or was it Jesus the Christ, GOD the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity?

Let's look to see what some of them said:
Samuel Adams: "I conceive we cannot better express our lives then by humbly supplicating the Superior Ruler of the world........by the promoting and speedily bring in the holy and happy period when the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established....."

Ben Franklin: "Here is my creed, I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped." (It should be noted that Jesus was worshiped many times. This act was to be for God alone. Jesus didn't stop His followers from worshiping Him, they were right to do so. Comment mine.)

Patrick Henry: "........ We shall not fight alone. A just God presides over the destinies of nations...Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God!...."

Governor Trumbull (Colony of Connecticut): "...that God graciously pour out His Holy Spirit on us to bring us to a thorough Repentance and effectual Reformation that our iniquities may not be our ruin,...."

James Madison: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it...............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."

Joseph Story--Supreme Court Justice: "Why may not the Bible........without note or comment, be read and taught as Divine Revelation in the (school)...its glorious principles of morality inculcated (taught)."

John Adams: called the Bible "the best book in the world"

George Washington: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible"

Daniel Webster (1820): "...let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope.....".

This is the end of the first prayer in Congress: "...And this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, The Son and Savior, Amen."

Senator Badger (1853): "We are a Christian people....not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education...."

The Christian sentiments above and many more expressed by our Founding Fathers resonate throughout early government documents including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is obvious that our Patriotic Founding Fathers were very concerned that this new nation remain Christian, a praying and Bible reading people.

There is much discussion today about the First Amendment which was written by some of these same Patriots. It reads as follows:
"Congress shall make no 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."

What does this Amendment really say?
Justice Joseph Story's comment on the First Amendment: The Amendment's purpose was "to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects (denominations)". This presupposes that Christianity was the accepted religion of the colonies but no single denomination should be recognized by the national government (Congress). Further, it is important to know some history of the church in England in the 1600's. For example, under a law established by Queen Elizabeth, John Bunyan and many others were imprisoned.

The law stated that anyone over the age of sixteen who attended an unlawful (church) assembly (one outside the official state church) would be imprisoned without bail while some were exiled to "foreign plantations" never seeing their family or country again. Is it any wonder that the newly formed states wanted to ensure that this new federal government would not and could not form a national church. In the entire debate on the First Amendment, not one word was said by any Congressman about a "wall of separation between church and state."

It should also be noted here that State churches and the First Amendment coexisted for some time with no violation of the Constitution: At the beginning of the Revolution established churches existed in nine of the colonies.....The First Amendment in large part was a guarantee to the states which insured that the states would be able to continue whatever church-state relationship existed in 1791. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia all shared Anglicanism as the established religion common to those colonies. Congregationalism was the established religion in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. New York and Rhode Island did not have a state religion. However, it is of primary importance to note that, all the States retained the Christian religion as the foundation stone of their social, civil and political institutions. The states shared a fundamental agreement on the basics of the Christian faith and the Scriptures.

Thomas Jefferson said that the best way to understand the Amendment's meaning is to "...carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates ......conform to the meaning in which it was passed." It is Jefferson's statement in a letter to some Baptist pastors in 1802 about a "separation between church and state" that is being used today as if what Jefferson said was in response to the First Amendment. Thomas Jefferson's statement to the pastors was a "mere metaphor too vague to support any theory of the Establishment Clause". (See Peter Ferrara, Religion and the Constitution).

In addition:
1. There is no mention of the words church, state and separation in the First Amendment or the body of the Constitution.
2. The prohibition of a "national denomination" is addressed to Congress, the only national law making body in our nation. Individual states and governmental institutions (e.g. public schools, capitol building steps, national parks, etc.) are not included in this prohibition.
3. In a recent analyses, by John W. Whitehead, of the Supreme Court's historic understanding of the relationship between Christianity and government in the United States: "In 1892 the United States Supreme Court made an exhaustive study of the supposed connection between Christianity and the government of the United States. After researching hundreds of volumes of historical documents, the Court asserted 'these references add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a religious people...a Christian nation.' Likewise in 1931, Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland reviewed the 1892 decision in relation to another case and reiterated that Americans are a Christian people......"

I don't need to tell you that our beloved "Christian " country has gone through many drastic changes in the last 40 years, give or take a few years, including removing prayer and the Bible from our schools, making abortion legal and so much more. So, what are we to do? Most of all...PRAY!! Solomon's prayer was answered by the Lord in 2 Chronicles 7:14; "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land".

So, who are today's "Patriots"? You and I who humble ourselves, seek the face of the Lord, turn from our wicked ways and pray! The pastors and priests who make a verbal stand for righteousness. The Christian lawyers who challenge the status-quo and strive to change the laws and return our country to Jesus. We can only accomplish these goals together as a nation on our knees, submitting and really listening to our Lord Jesus.

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