Skip to comments.BIBLE AND PRAYER IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA
Posted on 01/13/2005 7:30:23 PM PST by Paul Ciniraj
BIBLE AND PRAYER IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA
(Paul Ciniraj, Kottayam, India)
The U.S. Constitution was founded on Biblical principles, and it was the intention of the authors for this to be a Christian nation. There were 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence on the year 1775, of which 52 were orthodox, deeply committed evangelical Christians. The other three all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. The founding fathers understood that for a country to stand it must have a solid foundation; the Bible was the source of this foundation. They believed that God's ways were much higher than Man's ways and held firmly that the Bible was the absolute standard of truth and used the Bible as a source to form the government.
It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.
The founding fathers took ideas from the Bible and incorporated them into the government. "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king... (Isaiah 33:22)." The founding fathers took this scripture and made three major branches in the government: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. They strongly believed that man was by nature corrupt and therefore it was necessary to separate the powers of the government. For instance, the President has the power to execute laws but not make them, and Congress has the power to make laws but not to judge the people. The simple principle of checks and balances came from the Bible to protect people from tyranny. Directly or indirectly, 94% of all their quotes were based on the Bible. Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman reviewed an estimated 15,000 items with explicit political content printed between 1760 and 1805 and from these items they identified 3,154 references to other sources. The source most often quoted was the Bible, accounting for 34% of all citations. Sixty percent of all other quotes were from men who themselves used the Bible to form their conclusions.
Patrick Henry, who is called the firebr and of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death." But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted.
Here is what he actually said: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
The following year, 1776, he wrote this: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well- worn Bible: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator ".
He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.
The U.S. Constitution is the form of its government, but the power is in the virtue of the people. The virtue desired of the people is shown in the Bible. This is why Biblical morality was taught in public schools until the early 1960's. Government officials were required to declare their belief in God even to be allowed to hold a public office until a case in the U.S. Supreme Court called Torcaso v. Watkins (Oct. 1960). God was seen as the author of natural law and morality. If one did not believe in God one could not operate from a proper moral base. And by not having a foundation from which to work, one would destroy the community.
Government was never meant to be the master as in a ruthless monarchy or dictatorship. Instead, it was to be the servant. The founding fathers believed that the people have full power to govern themselves and that people chose to give up some of their rights for the general good and the protection of rights. Each person should be self-governed and this is why virtue is so important.
Government was meant to serve the people by protecting their liberty and rights, not to serve by developing an enormous amount of social programs to "take care of" the people. The authors of the Constitution wanted the government to have as little power as possible so that if authority was misused it would not cause as much damage. Yet they wanted government to have enough authority to protect the rights of the people. The world-view at the time of the founding of the government was a view held by the Bible: that Man's heart is corrupt and if the opportunity to advance oneself at the expense of another arose, more often than not, we would choose to do so. They firmly believed this and that's why an enormous effort to set up checks and balances took place.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The founders wanted to make certain that no man could take away rights given by God. They also did not set up the government as a true democracy, because they believed, as mentioned earlier, that man tends towards wickedness. Just because the majority wants something does not mean that it should be granted, because the majority could easily err. Government was not to be run by whatever the majority wanted but instead by principle, specifically the principles of the Bible.
On July 4, 1821, President Adams said: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
The fathers who formed the government also formed the educational system of the day. John Witherspoon did not attend the Constitutional Convention although he was President of New Jersey College in 1768 (known as Princeton since 1896) and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His influence on the Constitution was far ranging in that he taught nine of fifty-five original delegates. He fought firmly for religious freedom and said, "God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that unjust attempts to destroy the one may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both."(4)
In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."
William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation."
Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: "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."
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments".
One of the first appropriations by the first Congress of the United States was for the purchase of 20,000 Bibles for use in evangelizing the Indians in the Northwest Territory. And, in 1782, the Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools." James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
Unfortunately, in October 1961 the Supreme Court of the United States removed prayer from schools in a case called Engel v. Vitale. The case said that because the U.S. Constitution prohibits any law respecting an establishment of religion, officials of public schools may not compose public prayer even if the prayer is denominationally neutral, and that pupils may choose to remain silent or be excused while the prayer is being recited. For 185 years prayer was allowed in public and the Constitutional Convention itself was opened with prayer.
The 1961 prayer in question was not even lengthy or denominationally geared. It was this: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country."
Removing this simple acknowledgment of God's protecting hand dramatically increased the birth rates for unwed girls 0f 15-19 year olds, and sexually transmitted diseases among 10-14 year olds. It improved the social fabric of the students. Moral character has plummetted resulting in a much higher divorce rate, tens of millions of abortions, and a suicide rate among teenagers that is one of the leading causes of death. The Bible, before 1961, was used extensively in curriculum. After the Bible and the prayer was removed from the schools, scholastic aptitude test scores dropped considerably.
It is sometimes said that it is permissible to pray in school as long as it is silent. Although, "In Omaha, Nebraska, 10-year old James Gierke was prohibited from reading his Bible silently during free time... the boy was forbidden by his teacher to open his Bible at school and was told doing so was against the law." The U.S. Supreme Court with no precedent in any court history said prayer will be removed from school. Yet the Supreme Court in January, 1844 in a case named Vidal v. Girard's Executors, a school was to be built in which no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever was to be allowed to even step on the property of the school. The Justices argued over whether a layman could teach or not, but they agreed that, "...there is an obligation to teach what the Bible alone can teach, viz. a pure system of morality." This has been the precedent throughout 185 years.
The removal of public prayer of those who wish to participate is, in effect, establishing the religion of Humanism over the reality of Christianity. This is exactly what the founding fathers tried to stop from happening with the first amendment.
Pastor PAUL CINIRAJ, SALEM VOICE, DEVALOKAM (P.O), KOTTAYAM, KERALA-686038, INDIA.
URL: http://www.salem-voice.com; http://www.geocities.com/baseelia/tsunami.html
email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, saved me the keystrokes....
What is your point?
Maybe we could hire some Hindu's to enlighten Swimmer Kennedy. They understand, he just sees the gain in acting clueless.
With great respect to the US and its constitution, I'd like to say that I have only one point. Bible is our foundation, and prayer is very important. If we revive this spirit, we can win the world for the love of Jesus Christ.
GOD BLESS AMERICA AS WELL AS INDIA.
They were very firm believers in God, his word, and his principles.
Man's use and abuse of organized religion is what made them a bit wary of it and that is reflected in our constitution. They disagreed with the Catholic and or Protestant jihads that occurred in early Europe. European leaders mass murdered those who did follow the faith of the day. They frowned on tyranny.
All of our founding fathers believed in religious tolerance as long as that religion was free enough to believe that God gave us our rights. Why do you see that as a problem?
I agree with everything you just wrote. And I don't see religion as a problem. I am a Deist.
How did you make that leap from my comment?????? All I said is Our inaliable rights come from God. Does that bug you?
Public schools in enlightened Europe teach religion. Right now it's Catholicism or Protestantism but Muslim is being considered. And personally I don't see any problem with a district of tax payers deciding how their money should be spent.
But I asked you you to defend your Deist comment. Awaiting your reply and wondering why you are so hostile.
I guess it's time for me to back up a bit and humbly re-read your comments. Oops and I'm sorry.
I went through a Deist period starting at 18, although back then we were called agnostics. I just looked at organized religion as excuse for abuse and wanted nothing to do with it.
But 10 years later I discovered I was way, way wrong. Sure there are church bad apples that the MSM will run with but the blessing of belonging to a church community is amazing. It becomes your second family, people you can depend on, people you care about and people who care about you.
Sure organized religion has been nasty, (Muslim's trying their best right now) but the bottom line it is not the organization as much as it is the individuals involved. IMHO, you are missing out something wonderful. I dissed a loving community for 10 years , I hope you don't make the same mistake.
All I'd like to say to you is don't dismiss religion. It can add to your life like you wouldn't believe. Time moves so much faster every year you age.I swear a foundation in faith makes for a greener grass,more shooting stars and a sincere contentment. The goal is to notice and appreciate`
BELIEVE IN CHRIST THAN RELIGION
CHRIST is someone to know and trust
Religion is something to believe and do
Religion doesn't change hearts
Religion makes much of little
Religion offers the approval of men rather than CHRIST
Religion makes hypocrites of us
Religion makes a hard life harder
Religion makes it easy to deceive ourselves
Religion hides the key of knowledge
Religion leads its converts astray
But CHRIST is everything for everybody at everytime.
Believe in Jesus than Religion.
HE IS OUR SAVIOUR AND LORD ALWAYS.
Denominational Affiliations of the Framers of the Constitution
Dr. Miles Bradford of the University of Dallas did a study on the denominational classifications that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention accepted for themselves. Contrary to myth, the following list, published by Bradford, indicates that only 3 out of 55 of the framers classified themselves as Deists.
* John Langdon, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* Nicholas Gilman, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* Elbridge Gerry, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Rufus King, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Caleb Strong, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* Nathaniel Gorham, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* Roger Sherman, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* William Johnson, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Oliver Ellsworth, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* Alexander Hamilton, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* John Lansing, DUTCH REFORMED -- Calvinist
* Robert Yates, DUTCH REFORMED -- Calvinist
* William Patterson, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* William Livingston, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Jonathan Dayton, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* David Brearly, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* William Churchill Houston, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Benjamin Franklin, DEIST
* Robert Morris, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* James Wilson, DEIST
* Gouverneur Morris, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Thomas Mifflin, QUAKER
* George Clymer, QUAKER
* Thomas FitzSimmons, ROMAN CATHOLIC
* Jared Ingersoll, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* John Dickinson, QUAKER
* George Read, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Richard Bassett, METHODIST
* Gunning Beford, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Jacod Broom, LUTHERAN
* Luther Martin, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Daniel Carroll, ROMAN CATHOLIC
* John Mercer, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* James McHenry, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Daniel Jennifer, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* George Washington, EPISCOPALIAN (Non-Communicant)
* James Madison, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* George Mason, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Edmund Randolph, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* James Blair, Jr., EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* James McClung, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* George Wythe, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* William Davie, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Hugh Williamson, DEIST
* William Blount, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Alexander Martin, PRESBYTERIAN -- Calvinist
* Richard Spaight, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* John Rutledge, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Charles Pinckney, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Pierce Butler, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Charles Pinckney, III, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* Abraham Baldwin, CONGREGATIONALIST -- Calvinist
* William Leigh Pierce, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* William Houstoun, EPISCOPALIAN -- Calvinist
* William Few, METHODIST
Given that it was Ben Franklin who insisted upon and successfully began prayer at the start of every session of congress to the Christian God of the Bible I would have to say that the modern definition of “deist” did not apply to ANY of these men. Further if we look at the Jefferson memorial and read the qoutes that were taken directly from him it will become evident that he was a Christian by modern definition as well. It is most distressing that many of us (including myself at one time) were mislead into believing things that are completly unfounded about the intent and purpose of our “founding fathers”. They established a Christian country and meant to do so. The so called “wall of seperation between church and state” does not exist in our consitution as we have been lead to believe. The seperation that does exist is to protect the christian church form the government NOT the government from the christian church. It also serves to prevent any one christian denomonation from assuming all political power. In fact in the formative days of this country if you were not a christian you could not hold public office. Ben Franklin and Jefferson regularly, publicly proclaimed their faith in the God of the Bible as well as His Son Christ Jesus. So to say that they were deists is to mis-represent their true beliefs and intent.
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