Tuesday, July 04, 2017

One nation under God

Does that make you uncomfortable?

That's fine. The very same amendment to the Constitution, the first, at once protects us in the free exercise of our religion and then gives everyone else the right to criticize us for doing so.
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.
That religion is the first thing mentioned in the Bill of Rights is significant. In fact, religion is a significant part of the three documents that helped shape our country. the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

The religion the writers of these documents had in mind was Christianity. That is historical fact, despite Barack Obama's urgent protestations. You are welcome to not like it. You are not welcome to use government power to control the expression of Christianity.

Let's look at the three documents.

Quin Hillyer writes.
There is a straight line of reverence for one true God that runs from the settlers writing the Mayflower Compact to the patriots of liberty declaring independence from the mighty British Empire, and from thence to the statesmen who hashed out the Constitution of the new United States.
Mayflower Compact: Our early settlers began their foundational document "in the name of God: Amen....Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in [what became Massachusetts]...."
Declaration of Independence: "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." They did so, they had written, while "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions," to defend rights to which they are "endowed by their Creator."
The Consitution: How do we know that the Constitution's framers, too, thought faith essential to a successful polity, even though that document originally made no mention of God? Because not only was the Declaration's second-leading author, Ben Franklin, also influential at the Constitutional Convention (wherein he noted at a key point that God governs men's affairs), but the Constitution's most influential catalyst and advocate, James Madison, drafted the first and most famous amendment to that Constitution.
There are those who are uninformed who mistakenly think the anti-establishment clause is hostile to faith.
That's wrong. Madison based that clause (indeed both clauses on religion) on his own work on the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, whose final, key guarantee of religious liberty was worded specifically via his own amendment at that legislature in Williamsburg. And why had Madison become such a passionate advocate of free religious exercise? It wasn't on behalf of atheism or agnosticism; it was in reaction to mistreatment of Virginia Baptists who wanted to celebrate their faith. He too wanted them to be able to openly practice their religion, not just in private but in public.
"These were not men hostile to faith in the public square," Hillyer writes. "They were hostile to any restrictions on faith in the public square; what they wanted was a public square that encouraged active expression of the faiths of all denominations. Their God was the Judeo-Christian God, and their belief in individual rights grew directly from the Judeo-Christian tradition that each individual human is given intrinsic worth, by God, that no government can take away."

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