Pastor Roger Anghis
August 15, 2010
Discovering America’s Christian Heritage
Faith of the Founders Pt. 4
Scripture: Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:
because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that
thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of
thy God, I will also forget thy children.
In further looking at the history of our First Amendment we see that today’s interpretation of that Amendment by the courts is the exact opposite of what it meant for the first 173 years of America’s history. This nation used that concept to keep government out of religion from the Mayflower Compact until the Supreme Court reversed the meaning in 1962 (400 years). The other thing that the 1962 Court did was issue a ruling WITH NO PRECEDENTS!
In the 1892 case, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, the Court quoted nearly 80 precedents to prove that our Founding Fathers had no intention of influentially separating the government from religious principles. The 1962 Court decided that the nation needed to go in a different direction and redefined what our Constitution meant and used a private letter to do it.
The removal of prayer from public schools is slightly ironic as there are chaplains that pray before each session of Congress. Our Founding Fathers believed that prayer was so important that they allocated federal funds to pay for a chaplain to open sessions of Congress and preach sermons every Sunday at the US Capitol.
The ‘free exercise thereof’ clause in the First Amendment has been ignored in the last few decades by the government. Chaplains in the military now have to have their prayers submitted to JAG (Judge Advocate General) before they are allowed to pray them. There have been several chaplains that have been demoted for praying the ‘wrong words’. I know of a Christian chaplain that was court-marshaled for ending a prayer in Jesus’ Name while he was wearing his uniform.
The separation clause has morphed into Supreme Court cases where denominations have been sued for being pro-life.
In trying to understand what caused this abrupt turnaround it can only be explained by knowing that those that no longer look to God for their well being have been able to redefine our laws. In the 1962 prayer case and the Murray v. Curlett case of 1963 the Courts decision was: “If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be and . . . had been psychologically harmful to the child.”
In a case in 1967, Dekalb v. Despain, the court declared a 4-line nursery rhyme unconstitutional. Even though the word “God” was not in the nursery rhyme, if someone were to hear the rhyme he might think it was talking about God and that would be unconstitutional.
Cases like this grew to large numbers in the ensuing years and in 1980 the case that took the Ten Commandments out of the class rooms, Stone v. Graham the Court based its decision on the testimony of a psychiatrist. Their decision stated: “If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect as all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. . [which] is not a permissible. . . objective.” That decision reversed the Courts previous 191 year stand on the subject.
From 1647 when the first public school law was passed until 1962, 315 years, we have had prayer in our schools. It was not even a forced prayer. It was voluntary. The court even stated that it was voluntary and non-denominational. The prayer was a bland prayer that was put together by the four major denominations, the Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant.
The simple 22 word prayer was: “All Mighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on thee, we beg thy blessings on us our parents, our teachers and our country.” All decisions by the Court since have been decisions about voluntary prayer. There has never been a case that involved forced prayer. In the 1985 case, Wally v. Jaffery, the Court decided that you couldn’t even have silent prayer in a public setting. This is how ridiculous the Court has gotten; they have decided that it is unconstitutional to have silent prayer!
John Adams declared: “If ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” James Wilson, an original justice on the Supreme Court, helped write the Constitution and taught the Constitution. He stated: “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine. Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants.” James Wilson definitely did not believe that religion should be kept from public view. In the early history of America, you were more likely to find a copy of the Ten Commandments in a public building than a religious building.
In a nation where the majority is supposed to rule, the majority has been given a back seat to what they believe. At the time of the 1962 decision, Alington v. Schempp, The Court reported that only 3% of the nation did NOT believe in God. The made it unconstitutional for the 97% that did believe to express their beliefs in public, even voluntarily. And in doing so they used the words of a private letter and NOT the Constitution to do it. The Court has even declared that atheism and secular humanism, two beliefs that have no god and are anti-religions, are religions.
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Fisher Ames, the man that wrote the words for the First Amendment, declared that the Bible should be the foremost text in public schools. Benjamin Rush, considered the father of public schools, wrote that were ten reasons why the Bible would never be taken out of the public schools.
© 2010 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org