Skip to comments.CALVINISM IN AMERICA [Happy "Presbyterian Rebellion" Day, everybody!]
Posted on 07/04/2011 8:49:43 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
When we come to study the influence of Calvinism as a political force in the history of the United States we come to one of the brightest pages of all Calvinistic history. Calvinism came to America in the Mayflower, and Bancroft, the greatest of American historians, pronounces the Pilgrim Fathers "Calvinists in their faith according to the straightest system."1 John Endicott, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; John Winthrop, the second governor of that Colony; Thomas Hooker, the founder of Connecticut; John Davenport, the founder of the New Haven Colony; and Roger Williams, the founder of the Rhode Island Colony, were all Calvinists. William Penn was a disciple of the Huguenots. It is estimated that of the 3,000,000 Americans at the time of the American Revolution, 900,000 were of Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin, 600,000 were Puritan English, and 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed. In addition to this the Episcopalians had a Calvinistic confession in their Thirty-nine Articles; and many French Huguenots also had come to this western world. Thus we see that about two-thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin. Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such people as these. Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America. At any rate it is quite generally admitted that the English, Scotch, Germans, and Dutch have been the most masterful people of Europe. Let it be especially remembered that the Puritans, who formed the great bulk of the settlers in New England, brought with them a Calvinistic Protestantism, that they were truly devoted to the doctrines of the great Reformers, that they had an aversion for formalism and oppression whether in the Church or in the State, and that in New England Calvinism remained the ruling theology throughout the entire Colonial period.
With this background we shall not be surprised to find that the Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American Revolution. Our own historian Bancroft says: "The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster." So intense, universal, and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as "The Presbyterian Rebellion." An ardent colonial supporter of King George III wrote home: "I fix all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. They have been the chief and principal instruments in all these flaming measures. They always do and ever will act against government from that restless and turbulent anti-monarchial spirit which has always distinguished them everywhere."2 When the news of "these extraordinary proceedings" reached England, Prime Minister Horace Walpole said in Parliament, "Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson" (John Witherspoon, president of Princeton, signer of Declaration of Independence).
History is eloquent in declaring that American democracy was born of Christianity and that that Christianity was Calvinism. The great Revolutionary conflict which resulted in the formation of the American nation, was carried out mainly by Calvinists, many of whom had been trained in the rigidly Presbyterian College at Princeton, and this nation is their gift to all liberty loving people.
J. R. Sizoo tells us: "When Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate retreat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial Army but one were Presbyterian elders. More than one-half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterians."3
The testimony of Emilio Castelar, the famous Spanish statesman, orator and scholar, is interesting and valuable. Castelar had been professor of Philosophy in the University of Madrid before he entered politics, and he was made president of the republic which was set up by the Liberals in 1873. As a Roman Catholic he hated Calvin and Calvinism. Says he: "It was necessary for the republican movement that there should come a morality more austere than Luther's, the morality of Calvin, and a Church more democratic than the German, the Church of Geneva. The Anglo-Saxon democracy has for its lineage a book of a primitive society the Bible. It is the product of a severe theology learned by the few Christian fugitives in the gloomy cities of Holland and Switzerland, where the morose shade of Calvin still wanders . . . And it remains serenely in its grandeur, forming the most dignified, most moral and most enlightened portion of the human race."4
Says Motley: "In England the seeds of liberty, wrapped up in Calvinism and hoarded through many trying years, were at last destined to float over land and sea, and to bear the largest harvests of temperate freedom for great commonwealths that were still unborn.5 "The Calvinists founded the commonwealths of England, of Holland, and America." And again, "To Calvinists more than to any other class of men, the political liberties of England, Holland and America are due."6
The testimony of another famous historian, the Frenchman Taine, who himself held no religious faith, is worthy of consideration. Concerning the Calvinists he said: "These men are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts, by the exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by the conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, founding Australia and colonizing the world."7
In his book, "The Creed of Presbyterians," E. W. Smith asks concerning the American colonists, "Where learned they those immortal principles of the rights of man, of human liberty, equality and self-government, on which they based their Republic, and which form today the distinctive glory of our American civilization ? In the school of Calvin they learned them. There the modern world learned them. So history teaches," (p. 121).
We shall now pass on to consider the influence which the Presbyterian Church as a Church exerted in the formation of the Republic. "The Presbyterian Church," said Dr. W. H. Roberts in an address before the General Assembly, "was for three-quarters of a century the sole representative upon this continent of republican government as now organized in the nation." And then he continues: "From 1706 to the opening of the revolutionary struggle the only body in existence which stood for our present national political organization was the General Synod of the American Presbyterian Church. It alone among ecclesiastical and political colonial organizations exercised authority, derived from the colonists themselves, over bodies of Americans scattered through all the colonies from New England to Georgia. The colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it is to be remembered, while all dependent upon Great Britain, were independent of each other. Such a body as the Continental Congress did not exist until 1774. The religious condition of the country was similar to the political. The Congregational Churches of New England had no connection with each other, and had no power apart from the civil government. The Episcopal Church was without organization in the colonies, was dependent for support and a ministry on the Established Church of England, and was filled with an intense loyalty to the British monarchy. The Reformed Dutch Church did not become an efficient and independent organization until 1771, and the German Reformed Church did not attain to that condition until 1793. The Baptist Churches were separate organizations, the Methodists were practically unknown, and the Quakers were non-combatants."
Delegates met every year in the General Synod, and as Dr. Roberts tells us, the Church became "a bond of union and correspondence between large elements in the population of the divided colonies." "Is it any wonder," he continues, "that under its fostering influence the sentiments of true liberty, as well as the tenets of a sound gospel, were preached throughout the territory from Long Island to South Carolina, and that above all a feeling of unity between the Colonies began slowly but surely to assert itself? Too much emphasis cannot be laid, in connection with the origin of the nation, upon the influence of that ecclesiastical republic, which from 1706 to 1774 was the only representative on this continent of fully developed federal republican institutions. The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church."8
It is, of course, not claimed that the Presbyterian Church was the only source from which sprang the principles upon which this republic is founded, but it is claimed that the principles found in the Westminster Standards were the chief basis for the republic, and that "The Presbyterian Church taught, practiced, and maintained in fulness, first in this land that form of government in accordance with which the Republic has been organized." (Roberts).
The opening of the Revolutionary struggle found the Presbyterian ministers and churches lined up solidly on the side of the colonists, and Bancroft accredits them with having made the first bold move toward independence.9 The synod which assembled in Philadelphia in 1775 was the first religious body to declare openly and publicly for a separation from England. It urged the people under its jurisdiction to leave nothing undone that would promote the end in view, and called upon them to pray for the Congress which was then in session.
The Episcopalian Church was then still united with the Church of England, and it opposed the Revolution. A considerable number of individuals within that Church, however, labored earnestly for independence and gave of their wealth and influence to secure it. It is to be remembered also that the Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, "the father of our country," was a member of her household. Washington himself attended, and ordered all of his men to attend the services of his chaplains, who were clergymen from the various churches. He gave forty thousand dollars to establish a Presbyterian College in his native state, which took his name in honor of the gift and became Washington College.
N. S. McFetridge has thrown light upon another major development of the Revolutionary period. For the sake of accuracy and completeness we shall take the privilege of quoting him rather extensively. "Another important factor in the independent movement," says he, "was what is known as the 'Mecklenburg Declaration,' proclaimed by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of North Carolina, May 20, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration (of Independence) of Congress. It was the fresh, hearty greeting of the Scotch-Irish to their struggling brethren in the North, and their bold challenge to the power of England. They had been keenly watching the progress of the contest between the colonies and the Crown, and when they heard of the address presented by the Congress to the King, declaring the colonies in actual rebellion, they deemed it time for patriots to speak. Accordingly, they called a representative body together in Charlotte, N. C., which by unanimous resolution declared the people free and independent, and that all laws and commissions from the king were henceforth null and void. In their Declaration were such resolutions as these: 'We do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us with the mother-country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown' .... 'We hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people; are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of Congress; to the maintenance of which we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual cooperation and our lives, our fortunes and our most sacred honor.' ... That assembly was composed of twenty-seven staunch Calvinists, just one-third of whom were ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church, including the president and secretary; and one was a Presbyterian clergyman. The man who drew up that famous and important document was the secretary, Ephraim Brevard, a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church and a graduate of Princeton College. Bancroft says of it that it was, 'in effect, a declaration as well as a complete system of government.' (U.S. Hist. VIII, 40). It was sent by special messenger to the Congress in Philadelphia, and was published in the Cape Fear Mercury, and was widely distributed throughout the land. Of course it was speedily transmitted to England, where it became the cause of intense excitement.
"The identity of sentiment and similarity of expression in this Declaration and the great Declaration written by Jefferson could not escape the eye of the historian; hence Tucker, in his Life of Jefferson, says: 'Everyone must be persuaded that one of these papers must have been borrowed from the other.' But it is certain that Brevard could not have 'borrowed' from Jefferson, for he wrote more than a year before Jefferson; hence Jefferson, according to his biographer, must have 'borrowed' from Brevard. But it was a happy plagiarism, for which the world will freely forgive him. In correcting his first draft of the Declaration it can be seen, in at least a few places, that Jefferson has erased the original words and inserted those which are first found in the Mecklenberg Declaration. No one can doubt that Jefferson had Brevard's resolutions before him when he was writing his immortal Declaration."10
This striking similarity between the principles set forth in the Form of Government of the Presbyterian Church and those set forth in the Constitution of the United States has caused much comment. "When the fathers of our Republic sat down to frame a system of representative and popular government," says Dr. E. W. Smith, "their task was not so difficult as some have imagined. They had a model to work by."11
"If the average American citizen were asked, who was the founder of America, the true author of our great Republic, he might be puzzled to answer. We can imagine his amazement at hearing the answer given to this question by the famous German historian, Ranke, one of the profoundest scholars of modern times. Says Ranke, 'John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.'"12
D'Aubigne, whose history of the Reformation is a classic, writes: "Calvin was the founder of the greatest of republics. The Pilgrims who left their country in the reign of James I, and landing on the barren soil of New England, founded populous and mighty colonies, were his sons, his direct and legitimate sons; and that American nation which we have seen growing so rapidly boasts as its father the humble Reformer on the shore of Lake Leman."13
Dr. E. W. Smith says, "These revolutionary principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin, were brought to America, and in this new land where they have borne so mighty a harvest were planted, by whose hands? the hands of the Calvinists. The vital relation of Calvin and Calvinism to the founding of the free institutions of America, however strange in some ears the statement of Ranke may have sounded, is recognized and affirmed by historians of all lands and creeds."14
All this has been thoroughly understood and candidly acknowledged by such penetrating and philosophic historians as Bancroft, who far though he was from being Calvinistic in his own personal convictions, simply calls Calvin "the father of America," and adds: "He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty."
When we remember that two-thirds of the population at the time of the Revolution had been trained in the school of Calvin, and when we remember how unitedly and enthusiastically the Calvinists labored for the cause of independence, we readily see how true are the above testimonies.
There were practically no Methodists in America at the time of the Revolution; and, in fact, the Methodist Church was not officially organized as such in England until the year 1784, which was three years after the American Revolution closed. John Wesley, great and good man though he was, was a Tory and a believer in political non-resistance. He wrote against the American "rebellion," but accepted the providential result. McFetridge tells us: "The Methodists had hardly a foothold in the colonies when the war began. In 1773 they claimed about one hundred and sixty members. Their ministers were almost all, if not all, from England, and were staunch supporters of the Crown against American Independence. Hence, when the war broke out they were compelled to fly from the country. Their political views were naturally in accord with those of their great leader, John Wesley, who wielded all the power of his eloquence and influence against the independence of the colonies. (Bancroft, Hist. U.S., Vol. VII, p. 261.) He did not foresee that independent America was to be the field on which his noble Church was to reap her largest harvests, and that in that Declaration which he so earnestly opposed lay the security of the liberties of his followers."15
In England and America the great struggles for civil and religious liberty were nursed in Calvinism, inspired by Calvinism, and carried out largely by men who were Calvinists. And because the majority of historians have never made a serious study of Calvinism they have never been able to give us a truthful and complete account of what it has done in these countries. Only the light of historical investigation is needed to show us how our forefathers believed in it and were controlled by it. We live in a day when the services of the Calvinists in the founding of this country have been largely forgotten, and one can hardly treat of this subject without appearing to be a mere eulogizer of Calvinism. We may well do honor to that Creed which has borne such sweet fruits and to which America owes so much.
1Hist. U. S., I, p. 463.
2Presbyterians and the Revolution, p. 49.
3They Seek a Country, J. G. Slosser, editor, p. 155.
4Harper's Monthly. June and July, 1872.
5The'United Netherlands, III., p. 121.
6The United Netherlands, IV., pp. 548, 547.
7English Literature, II., p. 472.
8Address on, "The Westminster Standards and the Formation of the American Republic.
9Hist. U.S., X., p. 77.
10Calvinism in History, pp. 85-88.
11The Creed of Presbyterians, p. 142.
12Id. p. 119.
13Reformation in the Time of Calvin, I., p. 5.
14The Creed of Presbyterians, p. 132.
15Calvinism in History, p. 74.
....With this background we shall not be surprised to find that the Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American Revolution. Our own historian Bancroft says: "The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster." So intense, universal, and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as "The Presbyterian Rebellion." An ardent colonial supporter of King George III wrote home: "I fix all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. They have been the chief and principal instruments in all these flaming measures. They always do and ever will act against government from that restless and turbulent anti-monarchial spirit which has always distinguished them everywhere." When the news of "these extraordinary proceedings" reached England, Prime Minister Horace Walpole said in Parliament, "Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson." History is eloquent in declaring that American democracy was born of Christianity and that that Christianity was Calvinism. The great Revolutionary conflict which resulted in the formation of the American nation, was carried out mainly by Calvinists, many of whom had been trained in the rigidly Presbyterian College at Princeton, and this nation is their gift to all liberty loving people.
....In his book, "The Creed of Presbyterians," E. W. Smith asks concerning the American colonists, "Where learned they those immortal principles of the rights of man, of human liberty, equality and self-government, on which they based their Republic, and which form today the distinctive glory of our American civilization ? In the school of Calvin they learned them. There the modern world learned them. So history teaches"....
....Too much emphasis cannot be laid, in connection with the origin of the nation, upon the influence of that ecclesiastical republic, which from 1706 to 1774 was the only representative on this continent of fully developed federal republican institutions. The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church." It is, of course, not claimed that the Presbyterian Church was the only source from which sprang the principles upon which this republic is founded, but it is claimed that the principles found in the Westminster Standards were the chief basis for the republic, and that "The Presbyterian Church taught, practiced, and maintained in fulness, first in this land that form of government in accordance with which the Republic has been organized"....
....In England and America the great struggles for civil and religious liberty were nursed in Calvinism, inspired by Calvinism, and carried out largely by men who were Calvinists. And because the majority of historians have never made a serious study of Calvinism they have never been able to give us a truthful and complete account of what it has done in these countries. Only the light of historical investigation is needed to show us how our forefathers believed in it and were controlled by it. We live in a day when the services of the Calvinists in the founding of this country have been largely forgotten, and one can hardly treat of this subject without appearing to be a mere eulogizer of Calvinism. We may well do honor to that Creed which has borne such sweet fruits and to which America owes so much.
That’s odd, here in NC, the Presbyterians were some of the staunchest supporters of the Crown, and some of the biggest opponents of true religious liberty, both before and after the Revolution. In fact, Presbyterians were heavily involved in assisting the Anglican (NC’s official persuasion, as a colony) persecutions of dissenting groups.
Great article. Very informative. Thanks
Interesting that the Puritans themselves were not Presbyterians but Congregationalists.
Some people don't see the 4th of July as a celebration of the birth of our nation but as an opportunity for spreading their revisionist history and propaganda. You know, it's all about them. Which, of course, is exactly what Presbyterians teach.
They were, however, Calvinists.
They were, however, Calvinists.
I’m a Baptist, not a Presbyterian, and I believe Professor Boettner was correct. I began to discover the Calvinistic underpinnings of the Revolution years ago as a history major at a Southern Baptist university. As King James I said, “Presbytery agreeth with monarchy like God with the Devil.”
And a Hessian captain wrote in 1778, “Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion.”
Yes, they were indeed.
No earthly kings for me, thanks in part to the braver among my Protestant American fore-fathers. FREEDOM from the tyranny of man-appointed "kings"...that's what this day is about.
The very idea of it changed the world of men in ways both large and small.
The church you promote and practice apologetics for had it's chance...had centuries of "chance". They messed it up enough, blending the sacred with the less than, and even the profane, that people turned from their declared rule in huge numbers.
Blending religious authority with political power (the power to rule utterly over others) brought decidedly mixed outcomes. Many suffered for political or philosophical reasons--- even unto death, for daring to speak against what the Roman branch of "the church" had become. This "church" justified it's oppressions of others, sanctioned the oppressions of kings over others as being God's own desire. That part, was a big fat lie!
But what else could have been expected? That men would actually be Holy & just? Well, mankind in general is not. The human heart is wicked (in comparison to that which is truly Holy). The churchmen of old, whom were rebelled against, were certainly not a uniform exception to the rule.
We need only look at human beings in general today (churchmen or "religious" folks included) to see that not much has changed as to the human condition.
There is potential among humans, to practice what is sacred, and what is depraved. Sometimes---on the same day!
Have a happy 4th.
Enjoy what liberties we can still exercise in this time & place, under God. That is more God's own desire for us, than to be ruled over by wicked kings, or politicians using the trappings of "church", telling us, "hey, Jesus died on the Cross, but he left ME in charge!!!"
"If all else fails I will retreat up the valley of Virginia, plant my flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the Scotch-Irish of that region, and make my last stand for liberty amongst a people who will never submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left to draw a trigger."
- George Washington, who labored under no such false impression, at Valley Forge
The Baptists and their precedents are among the most persecuted Christians in history. I doubt you will find any support for govt churches, or monarchs, imposing their views on them.
Great article, timely posted! Thanks.
Whatever it's convenient to categorize them as in order to play up a single factor like their religion, any who remained Presbyterian after the war were far different Presbyterians with far different views on Calvinism than they were prior to it. Usually they even clearly differentiated themselves from mainstream Presbyterians from then on which is what led to a split in the US Presbyterian church in the early 1800s. A great many left the Presbyterian church and became primitive Baptists who embraced an altered form of Calvinism doctrine. They, like Calvinists, didn't believe in missionary work, the very thing the Baptist church has always considered paramount leading to a split among the Baptists due to the large number of former Presbyterians not agreeing with the Baptist mainstream.
Um - you do realise that the Calvinists in Europe were among the most vigourous enemies of religious liberty both in Europe and in the American colonies, right?
Oh, you didn't know that, because you've never bothered to actually think about and study the history for yourself?
If you like religious liberty, thank the Baptists who convinced Madison and Jefferson to include it in the Bill of Rights.
"Whatever the cause, the Calvinists were the only fighting Protestants. It was they whose faith gave them courage to stand up for the Reformation. In England, Scotland, France, Holland, they,... did the work, and but for them the Reformation would have been crushed... If it had not been for Calvinists,... and whatever you like to call them, the Pope and Philip would have won, and we should either be Papists or Socialists." ~ Sir John Skelton
As the Reformation, so went the Revolution. Thank God.
It’s interesting you mention the Scots-Irish because by the time of the Revolution, a large number of them had become Baptists through the missionary efforts of Shubal Stearns, Daniel Marshall, and others. In fact, it was throughout the Scots-Irish regions of North Carolina, Virginia (and later West Virginia), South Carolina, and what would eventually become Kentucky and Tennessee that the Baptists became most profuse. It was among the Baptists in NC that a large part of the support for the Revolution was found - especially among those who had earlier supported the Regulator movement in the Piedmont region.
Especially when you consider that the record of Calvinism is just as stained and bloody as the record of Catholicism on that regard. Sorry, but Calvinism is no friend of true liberty, regardless of what the cheerleaders may have managed to convince themselves of.
Prayers for you and yours, Dear Heart.
Please give me an update when you can.
I certainly hope not. The first failed miserably.
If you consider sheer numbers, more. Much more.
Failure rankles amongst our antagonists...
The National Hymn | Pledge of Allegiance
On this day Americans commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which took place on July 4, 1776. The church in the U.S. incorporated this observance into the liturgy with a special mass asking for peace, justice, and truth. (Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003)
God of love, Father of us all
in wisdom and goodness you guide creation
to fulfillment in Christ your Son.
Open our hearts to the truth of His gospel,
that your peace may rule in our hearts
and your justice guide our lives.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Readings: from Masses for Various Occasions & Needs (For Public Needs)
See section on this site: Catholics and Political Responsibility
Making Words Count - Voters must be mindful of media manipulation Michaelmas 2002 Vol. XVII, No. 3
The "flag salute" was composed by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, and was first published in the Youth Companion magazine in 1892. In 1923, "of the United States of America" was added; and in 1954, the phrase "under God".
The phrase "under God" has been challenged. In late June 2002, a decision by a judge of the 9th Circuit Court declared "under God" unconstitutional, though following an immediate and enormous public outcry from Americans everywhere, he stayed his own decision.
June 21, 2003 - Update from the Ventura County Star - California Governor Gray Davis has asked the US Supreme Court to review the decision banning the Pledge. The review is based on "national cultural" and "social importance".
June 14, 2004: The US Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiff, Newdow, had insufficient legal standing to sue, thus the Court avoided deciding the merits of the case. Thus "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is retained.
Copy of the Decision at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14june20041230/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf
TALENT & AKIN ANNOUNCE PROTECT THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE BILL
Wednesday, July 2, 2003
(ST. CHARLES, MO) US Senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.) and Congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.) today announced legislation they have introduced in the US Congress to protect the Pledge of Allegiance at a pro-Pledge rally in St. Charles.
Sen. Talent and Rep. Akin have introduced the Protect the Pledge Act of 2003 (S. 1297/H.R. 2028), which would regulate the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts, such as San Francisco's Ninth Circuit Court, to hear cases that challenge the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I believe it is the responsibility of Congress to protect the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance", Talent said. "The Senate voted unanimously to support the use of 'under God' in the Pledge, but in my judgment we should do more. The Protect the Pledge Act preserves and protects individual rights to affirm their beliefs and pledge their allegiance to the flag while making certain that no person would ever be forced to say 'under God' when reciting the Pledge. I am optimistic that we can rally Congress to defend the Constitution and protect the Pledge by limiting the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts.
Talent and Akin's legislation removes the issue of the Pledge of Allegiance's constitutionality from the jurisdiction of federal district and appeals courts, while maintaining the jurisdiction of state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court over such cases.
Under Article III of the Constitution, Congress has the power to regulate the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts as a check in our government's system of checks and balances. In the past, Congress has used this power to prevent or overrule judicial abuse in administration of the environmental, immigration, and labor laws.
The effect of Talent and Akin's legislation would be to overrule the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which ruled, in what is now an infamous case, that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because it uses the phrase "one nation under God.
You never miss an opportunity to take a stab at Catholicism...Impressive really.
Catholics were slaughtering (proto-)Baptists long before any Calvinists joined in the fray. The Calvinists LEARNED religious violence and repression from who? well, not from any Baptists, that's for sure. I leave it to you to figure it out...
One thing we do know -- the idea of freedom among men, freedom from the tyranny of earthly kings -- did NOT flow out of the Roman Church circa 1400-1700.
They mouth agreement to it now, because they can no longer afford to argue against it.
...it burns you up, doesn't it? what you champion, was in past centuries the enemy of what is held dear by many in this nation. Freedom. (not a "Catholic" idea!)
Calvinists didn't believe in missionary work?
First, this is what Calvin himself said about evangelism: It is no small consolation to godly teachers that, although the larger part of the world does not listen to Christ, He has His sheep whom He knows and by whom He is also known. They (all preachers) must do their utmost to bring the whole world into Christs fold, but when they do not succeed as they would wish, they must be satisfied with the single thought that those who are sheep will be collected together by their work. (Calvins Commentary on John 17:9).
Second, Calvin evangelized neighboring France. At the beginning of the reformation in 1555, there was only one church. In 1562 Calvins movement had led to the formation of 2150 local protestant congregations in an area hostile to protestants Christians.
Third, Calvin himself sent out more worldwide missionaries than most Arminian churches today. Historians have called his Geneva a hub of vast missionary enterprise (Frank A. James, III, Calvin and Missions, Christian History, 5 no. 4 (Fall 1986) : 23.) For example, historical records show that just in one year, 142 missionaries were sent out by Calvin to go around the world and reach people with the gospel message. Some were even sent to Brazil where they were killed. (Hughes, John Calvin: D. O. M, 46; cf. also McGrath, 184).
Fourth, the modern missionary movement as we have come to know it, was founded and stimulated by William Carey, a Calvinist! Today he is called the father of modern missions after spending 58 years of his life on Indian soil preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, a great majority of early missionaries were Calvinists, men like David Brainerd, John G. Paton, Henry Martyn and a host of others. Hundreds of Calvinists were martyred and died sharing the good news of Jesus to sinners. Looking through the history of our modern world we can see that at all times Calvinists have eagerly taken the gospel to nations and people all over the world, from missionaries who died in small tribes, to great revivals and awakenings that swept the western world, reformed Christians have been at the forefront of mission and evangelism work, proclaiming salvation to those enslaved to sin.
With apostle Paul reformed Christians say For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Tim 2:10)
7 misconceptions people hold about Calvinism
And this is not even to mention the tremendous missionary ministries of men such as Gerorge Whitfield, Theodore Frelinghuysen, a Dutch reformed Pietist, Gilbert Tennent and Jonathan Edwards, staunch Calvinists all, which were so used by God in what we know as the Great Awakening.
Are you saying that Calvin was infallible? Are you personally infallible? Please, what Pope Calvin had to say is moot since each and every Presbyterian can interpret Scriptures as they personally see fit. That's exactly why there are more than a few Presbyterian churches each claiming to be the real and true Calvinists.
Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.
Pound sand buddy.
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No, I wasn't aware of that possibility. It wouldn't diminish him one iota, as far as I'm concerned.
Certainly, he was highly regarded by most all of his peers.
An interesting man, not without his own inner conflicts and struggles, although quiet and reticent about such, mentioning them only briefly.
He knew government by it's nature included the claimed powers to commit violence. He fought against such a government, yet fought to institute another which would make the same claim of power. I get the impression he was smart enough to realize the possibility that the "new" could grow to become as bad as the "old".
Such a similar mindset helped guide the framers of the Constitution to attempt to limit the powers of government, over men. It worked, after a fashion, But as with most all doings of man, it has produced mixed results, even from the very beginning. Which leads us right back to the real source of the troubles. The wicked heart of man(kind).
bump to watch...
I guess the rumor is that on his deathbed he converted to Catholicism. We’ll know someday, huh?
Welcome to America, the land of the Free, home of the brave.
And, I might add, there are as many opinions as there are human minds.
You got that right. In one breath they quote someone like Calvin who in reality was just another power hungry jerk with a pen and a desire to avoid taking up his cross to follow Christ. Then in the next breath they insist that no one has any special authority since everyone can interpret Scriptures on their own according to their own understanding. Who wouldn't be aware of their own failure when their argument relies on a stool with three legs, but with two attached to one side of the surface and the third leg attached to the opposite side of the surface?
Like TUPLIP, that Terribly Useful Lie Infecting Protestants, it's all self-gratification and nothing else. It's a scam created by the master of scams who always appeals to pride first and hardens the heart of the fallen when they succumb to other temptations once pride hides the Truth. What is more appealing to human pride than being as god knowing both good and evil without the need to take up the cross of obedience before we can know His ways?
Ok, you tell me which pope of the era preceding the American Revolution advocated that men should live free from oppression of earthly kings.
Please refrain from posting any longer on the religion forum until that pope can be named. Links and footnotes also required, of course.
July 4th, 2011 by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Fireworks. Baseball games. Picnics. This is what the Fourth of July means to most Americans today. But July 4, 1776, was a very solemn day for the 55 men who affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence. For in so doing, they were risking their lives and fortunes to defend the proposition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Liberty was a corollary of human dignity, and to safeguard human dignity was the reason for their war of independence.
So what does the Fourth of July have to do with the teaching of the Catholic Church?
To answer this question, we must remember that the Catholic Church is the original Bible Church. Its official teaching is no more than interpretation and application of Gods Word.
So when we ask how the Church reaffirms the inherent dignity of human beings, we have to start with the Bible. The various religions that existed in biblical times had gods who were made in mans image and likeness the pagan gods had all the foibles and vices that can be viewed in a soap opera. They played favorites, schemed to destroy their enemies, cheated on their spouses, and held grudges.
The Bible proclaims that human beings are made in Gods image and likeness. And the God of the Bible is a community of persons who give themselves to each other eternally in love. And this God of love is a sublime artist who creates the world in love as a masterpiece of beauty and nobility. In creating man and woman in his image and likeness, he invites them to an intimate personal relationship with himself and offers them the incredible privilege of being co-creators with him.
Sin gets in the way of all this, of course, defacing Gods likeness in us. Every sin is an offense against God precisely because it debases us as well as others. But how does God respond to the outrage and ugliness of sin? He does not draw back in revulsion but instead draws close. He even assumes our human nature so he can come to our rescue. He never loses sight of the divine dignity hiding underneath the rags of our sin. He loves Matthew and Zaccheus, the tax-collectors, back into their dignity. He takes time to listen to the Samaritan woman with five husbands and to offer her a new life.
The Second Vatican Council does nothing but draw out the implications of this biblical witness.
It bases the right to freedom of religion on human dignity. It teaches that morality can never just be imposed from without, as so many rules and regulations, but must be internalized in a sanctuary called conscience. It teaches that not just a select few, but all, are called to the heights of holiness, regardless of their state in life or occupation. It teaches that if all are created in Gods image and likeness, then all are equal in dignity, whether man or woman, adult or child, born, or unborn, cleric or lay. It teaches that societies must strive to bring about living conditions that correspond to human dignity.
The teaching of Church is beautifully expressed in councils, encyclicals, and the Catechism. But it is expressed even more beautifully in the lives of its saints. The life of St. Teresa of Calcutta is a moving testimony to the dignity of the human person. Plunging into one of worlds most disgusting slums, she recognized and honored the image of God in people cast off by society and left to die in the gutter. Many would judge such creatures useless and revolting. Mother Teresa and her sisters befriended them. Others would judge unwanted children, conceived by accident, as equally useless and inconvenient. Mother Teresa spoke out in their defense, making even presidents squirm.
And then there is Blessed John Paul, the apostle of human dignity. His courageous witness helped bring about the collapse of communist tyranny in his native Poland and the entire Soviet bloc. His opposition to the death penalty on grounds of human dignity caused a quite a stir. But lets not forget how he himself responded when gravely wounded by an assassin. He did not simmer in resentment and outrage. Neither did he simply forget about the man. As the Good Shepherd went out after the lost sheep, the wounded Pope went to the prison cell of his attacker, looked him in the eye, and spoke to him of his forgiveness and Gods love.
In raising these two witnesses to the dignity of the altar, the Church is reaffirming the dignity of every single human person without exception. It is also affirming the duty to stand up for that dignity. It is insisting that indeed all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights which means rights that no government can take away.
ROTFLMAO. Along with claiming to have enslaved Christ to do their bidding, the followers of the Pope of Geneva now claim ownership of FR.
It is readily apparent that there are cases where no historical fact of evangelistic endeavor is going impede a good diatribe. This seems like one of those instances.
Yes, the Presbyterians and Methodists whom were a majority among the framers of the Constitution, had read their bibles, and were strongly influenced by the ideas and principles expounded upon, illustrated and illuminated by the text(s).
By the way, I'm no Calvinist. Your little pet theory fails, when aimed in my direction.