Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Wall of Misconception

US Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquest said it best, “The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”

All of this wall talk stems from the first amendment which states that Congress will make no law establishing a religion. And most agree the amendment simply means that religion will not be imposed upon the people. It does not mean that government will be free of religion. Most of our Founding Fathers quotes were taken, either directly or indirectly, from the Bible. Would our Founding Fathers, so dependent on the Word of God, dream that one day Bible references would be forbidden from the public square?

Benjamin Franklin formally appealed to George Washington, President of the Constitutional Convention, that the daily proceedings begin with a morning prayer asking God for both assistance and blessing. The motion carried; the constitution of the United States was cloaked in daily prayer by its authors. Does this sound like a group who would appreciate the Ten Commandments being forbidden from a courthouse?

Franklin went on to espouse, “A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district, all studied and appreciated as they merit, are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.” Franklin’s statement doesn’t make a constitutional case for state supported churches or prayer, but he certainly saw the value and need for both.

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence – “The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion.”

George Washington, in his farewell address states that religion and morality are the indispensible pillars to human happiness. He went on to say that national morality can’t prevail with the exclusion of religious principal.

John Adams, our second President declared, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”

Harry S Truman, “If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!”

John F Kennedy proclaimed, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the State but from the hand of God.”

As last as 1983 the US Congress affirmed the biblical heritage of our nation with a resolution declaring 1983 as “The Year of the Bible.”

General Omar Bradley, a Missourian, like Harry Truman, said it succinctly, “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

James Madison was possibly the most prescient of all when in 1788 he said, “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people, by the gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

More recently, Judge Robert H Bork said, “Religion supplies the major premises from which moral reasoning begins.”

Our nation was born by explicit appeals to God by our Founding Fathers. The following clauses are embedded in the text of the Declaration of Independence:

the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God

they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World

protection of divine Providence

You’ve read direct quotes from our Founding Fathers and recognized American leaders. The questions are: Was America founded on Biblical principles? Is it still governed by those with Judeo/Christian principals? Do government deliberations still open in prayer? What has changed? Has the change been for better or worse? Do you agree with the direction the country is going? If no, then what needs to change? What have you done to affect that change?

Jefferson’ metaphoric statement was meant to support the notion that we must avoid the establishment of a state religion. But by his own actions he supported the importance of religion, and specifically Christianity, in the governing body.

Think about Christmas for moment. The entire western civilization, including the US comes to a screeching halt December 25th. It’s interesting that we have an international holiday, the explanation of which is avoided, if not forbidden, in most public places in America.

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