Coalescence

oathofofficeThe day after any American holiday always seems to be an interesting day for me.  I guess you could say that I’m always taken aback by how we Americans are so apt to fill the endless amount of social media space with our adoration and thanks, but the rest of the time, it’s filled with cat videos, hostile-filled rants, or other tidbits of information we think we need every one of our “friends” or followers to know about.  Lending us to continually check our feed for those life-altering notifications that someone liked, shared, or commented on our post.  Can you feel my self-condemnation yet?  But in all seriousness, I am left with an unsettled feeling as to why we don’t show the same adoration and thanksgiving to our family, friends, military personnel, or God on a continual basis.  Why are those feelings reserved for the one-day holiday every year?  So while thinking on that, I did want to share my appreciation for what 9/11, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, December 7, July 4, Memorial Day, and others mean to me.

All of these dates remind me to pause and thank the Lord for what He has given to us in the country that we live in.  There is no question that America is a blessed nation.  Many will pass off our nation’s historical precedence to geographical isolation, political and military strength, brilliantly created Constitution, or other American ingenuities that has made us one of the greatest nations on Earth.  While I would agree with most of those arguments, they are not the premiere and only reasons we are who we are.  Those dates not only remind me of what happened on those days and who we celebrate, but more importantly how our nation began and upon which it once stood.  Through colonial foundation, British control, our fight for independence, and constitutional fortitude, we created idealistic freedom in every area of life.  Yet, there was something else that our Founding Fathers weaved through out the political and social landscape of American life.

One of the key principles that our Founders recognized was that freedom was not absolute.  Freedom itself has to be confined within the law and constructs of a free society.  Absolute freedom is chaotic.  This is not what they had in mind.  American freedom stands upon truth, justice, and morality.  When I think about how freedom has been defined in our current day, I shudder.  America is falling in to absolute freedom.  Truth is dependent upon what any one person believes to be true.  Justice is not dependent upon the law, but upon man’s fickle human emotion which changes with the seasons.  Morality…well let’s just say, ‘to each his own’.  Morality is slipping down the same slope as freedom.  It is determined by each individual and who’s to say otherwise?!

But I still believe in an America that once stood upon the solid rock of biblical freedom.  The gospel of John proclaims, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36)  Our Founding Fathers believed in this truth.  There was no distinction in their minds between political and religious freedom.  Christianity and the word of God were the foundation upon which our nation was built, and when you look to our nation’s heritage, there is no denying this truth.  Nowadays, many are so quick to jump to “separation of church and state”.  Yes, I understand why they say this.  Unfortunately there is too much ignorance for historical understanding because it’s not a priority to learn in our schools.  People don’t take the time to read and learn anymore.  I don’t agree that this is or was the purpose behind the 1st Amendment.  Understand something, this is not a matter of opinion.  There is simply too much proof in our nation’s founding documents (original colonial charters, state constitutions, and federal papers) that say the contrary to how people interpret religious freedom.

“If my people who are called by my name 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 heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

So here’s what I’ve done.  You’ll see in the following the proof of what I speak of.  There is no doubt that our nation was established upon a biblical foundation and Christian principles.  They were clearly woven in to the political fabric of our country.  Please take the time to read through the following.  Keep in mind as you’re reading, these are political documents that established who we are as a nation, and the men who helped write and shape this great country.

“We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion…” (First Charter of Virginia, 1606)

“We according to our princely Inclination, favouring much their worthy Disposition, in Hope thereby to advance the in Largement of Christian Religion, to the Glory of God Almighty,” (Charter of New England, 1620)

“IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN…Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith…” (Mayflower Compact, 1620)

“For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed as followeth…” (Fundamental Orders of Conneticut (1639)

“whereby Our said People Inhabitants there, may be so religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as their good Life and orderly Conversation may win and invite the Natives of the Country to the Knowledge and Obedience of the only true GOD, and He Saviour of Mankind, and the Christian Faith…” (Charter of Connecticut, 1662)

“…being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith…” (Charter of Carolina, 1663)

“When the great and wise God had made the world, of all his creatures, it pleased him to chuse man his Deputy to rule it…This the Apostle teaches in divers of his epistles: ” The law (says he) was added because of transgression: ” In another place, ” Knowing that the law was not made for the righteous man; but for the disobedient and ungodly, for sinners, for unholy and prophane, for murderers, for wlloremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, and for man-stealers, for lyers, for perjured persons,” &c., but this is not all, he opens and carries the matter of government a little further: ” Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God: whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil: wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” ” He is the minister of God to thee for good.” ” Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake.” (Frame of Government in Pennsylvania, 1682)

“BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting In this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge One almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.” (Charter of Delaware, 1701)

“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.” (Patrick Henry, 1765)

“Has [government] any solid foundation? Any chief cornerstone?…I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of God…The sum of my argument is that civil government is of God.” (James Otis, 1766)

“I,…do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” (Constitution of Delaware, Article 22, Oath of office, 1776)

That no person shall ever, within this Colony, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God… (Constitution of New Jersey, 1776)

“That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.” (Constitution of North Carolina, 1776)

“That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding…And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.” (Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1776)

“And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.” (Constitution of Pennsylvania, Oath of Office, 1776)

“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.” (Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776)

“All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State;” (Constitution of Georgia, 1777)

“That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding, regulated by the word of GOD;” (Constitution of Vermont, 1777)

“That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State…1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments. 2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped. 3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion 4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice. 5th. That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.” (Constitution of South Carolina, 1778)

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (United States Constitution, 1787)

“I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection…that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.” (George Washington, 1783)

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.” (Benjamin Rush, 1788)

“…it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes… (George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789)

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me ” to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” (George Washington, Proclamation: A National Thanksgiving, 1789)

“And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence.” (John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797)

“In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation…in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom…Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government – and all the blessings which flow from them – must fall with them.” (Jedidiah Morse, 1799)

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.  I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” (John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1813)

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” (John Jay, 1816)

“I recommend a general and public return of praise and thanksgiving to Him from whose goodness these blessings descend. The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the source from which they flow.” (John Jay, 1826)

“[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.” (Noah Webster, 1832)

“[T]he Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” (Noah Webster, 1836)

“In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.  The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” (John Quincy Adams, 1837)

“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle…In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity…That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.” (House Judiciary Committee, 1854)

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalm 33:12)

cropped-dsc02944.jpgA telling tale of where the hearts of our Founding Fathers were.  They had no intent to remove Christianity from society.  They had no intent to build a “wall of separation” between church and state, including Thomas Jefferson.  The aforementioned proves just the opposite.  Not to mention the fact that most, if not every President has used the Bible in taking the oath of office.  That the cornerstones of a lot of the buildings in our nation’s Capitol houses a Bible.  There are scripture references etched in to the marble and stone of our Capitol buildings, monuments, and memorials.  Even the capstone on the tallest structure in Washington D.C., the Washington Monument is engraved “Laus Deo”, which means “Praise be to God”.

So this is what comes to mind when I celebrate our nation’s holidays.  In this holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, let’s call to mind our origins, our heritage, and praise the name of the One who gave it all.  When someone says that we’re not allowed to mention Christ’s name in public or use phrases like “Merry Christmas”, rather the term “Happy Holidays” must be used so not to offend anyone.  Just remind them of the origin of the word ‘holiday’.  It means Holy Day.  So yes, I will say “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas”, because no matter how you slice it up or tear it down, Jesus Christ and Christianity have always been embedded into this nation.  God bless you!

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

* Documents and quotes gathered from the following sources:  Library of CongressNational ArchivesThe Avalon Project, Yale Law SchoolPilgrim Hall MuseumWallBuilders

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