Pastor Roger Anghis
October 17, 2010
Discovering America’s Christian Heritage
Part 15 – Proof of Religious Foundation, Part 2
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.
As we continue to look at the proof of our Christian heritage we will see that the first mega church in the nation was in Washington, D.C. That mega church held 2000 people every week. What most people don’t know is that mega church is the Capitol building. Thomas Jefferson opened all the government buildings to churches while he was president. I find that to be a very odd thing to do for someone who demanded a separation of church and state. Some have tried to deny this but in our Constitution Article 1, Section 5, Paragraph 3 it states that there must be kept written records of all proceedings in Congress. Every debate and every vote since 1774 is recorded. The Founding Fathers wanted an open government that was accountable to the people. In those records in late November 1800 it recorded all the activities involved with moving into the new Capitol building. In the first week of December Congress decided the Capitol building would serve as a church building. Could it be that ALL of our Founding Fathers were ignorant of the demand of separation of church and state that is in the 1st Amendment, as one modern Supreme Court justice has stated, or is this simply truth of how our Founding Fathers believed in the influential necessity of Christianity in not just our daily lives but in our government as well?
The fact that the Capitol building was used as a church is verifiable not only in the records of Congress, but in the diaries of those who attended those services. John Quincy Adams was a Senator in 1803 and on October 30th he recorded in his diary: “Attended public service at the Capitol where Mt. Ratoon, an Episcopalian clergyman from Baltimore preached a sermon.” The week before he wrote “Religious service is usually performed on Sundays at the Treasury office and at the Capitol. I went both forenoon and afternoon to the Treasury.” John Quincy Adams is one of the most distinguished members of our early years. Son of Founder John Adams he was raised in a home where the Bible was prominent and in schools where the Bible was the primary learning source. At the age of 11 he was given a Congressional Diplomatic appointment to Europe. He was Ambassador to five different nations, Secretary of State, nominated to and approved for the Supreme Court, but he declined, served in the House of Representatives for seventeen years, served as Senator and as President of the United States.
He knew seven different languages and kept a diary for 68 years. He would always comment in his diary about the sermons he attended in the Capitol, who preached, what they preached about, comparing the different meaning of verses in that message in the different languages he knew. One that has the religious upbringing that he had, which was the same as most of the Founding Fathers, does not separate his religious beliefs from his vocation. It is nearly impossible. The principles that he lived his personal life by were also the principles that he operated in while in public service.
Religion was always comingled in government affairs during the times of the Founding Fathers. On July 4, 1851 Daniel Webster gave a speech at the laying of the cornerstone for the additions of the House chambers and the Senate chambers. In the speech he stated “Man is not only an intellectual but also a religious being, and his religious feelings and habits require cultivation. Let the religious element in man’s nature be neglected – let him be influenced by no higher motives that low self-interest, and subjected to no stronger restraint that the limits of civil authority - and he becomes the creature of selfish passion or blind fanaticism. The spectacle of a nation [France] powerful and enlightened but without Christian faith has been presented . . . as a warning beacon for the nations. On the other hand, the cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness, incites to general benevolence and the practical acknowledgement of the brotherhood of man, inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric.” Webster believed that the only way for a man to be a successful orator was to study the Bible. He was known for just reading scripture aloud. When doing so at the Capitol many would gather around just to hear him speak.
Within the Capitol building you will see evidence of our Christian heritage in not only what is carved into the very stones of the buildings but of the people that we honor with statues within the Statuary Hall. Among those honored there such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are religious people such as Father Junipero Serra, a priest honored by the state of California, Father Damien a priest honored by Hawaii, Mother Joseph, missionary to the what is now the states of Washington, northern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, Thomas Starr King one of the most famous preachers in New England, Father Eusebio Kino, missionary to Mexico and southern California and Arizona, Jason Lee, missionary and pioneer, Jacques Marquette, French Jesuit missionary and explorer, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg a minister, a major general in the Revolutionary War, member of Congress, Frederick Muhlenberg, minister and Speaker of the House, Marcus Whitman minister and explorer. These are just a few of the religious people that are on display at the Capitol building.
There is a statue of Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution, member of the Continental Congress, Co-author of the Federalist Papers, and Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He proposed the establishment of the Christian Constitutional Society. This organization would have two goals. 1.) Support of the Christian religion and 2.) Support of the Constitution of the United States. He envisioned several chapters in each state working to reach the goals of the society.
Even though the Capitol is touted as a secular building, it is actually a religious monument. With the carvings in the walls of scripture and the religious monuments within it honoring the great religious leaders of our nation and the magnificent art works that depicts our religious heritage. But that is not all. There is a room set aside for nothing but religious activities. It is a prayer chapel with a kneeling bench with an alter that has an open Bible on it. Behind the Bible is a stained glass window with George Washington kneeling and praying. Around him are all 50 states and the scripture Psalm 16:1, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust”. There have been times just recently when as many as 60 members of Congress had packed into this room to pray over a piece of legislation. This room only has 6 chairs and is very small, but it is used regularly by many in Congress to seek God on what He wants done in our nation.
We are always hearing the ACLU and their accomplices complaining when a governmental meeting is opened up with prayer, but when the Capitol building was completed in November 22, 1800, John Adams gave the first Presidential speech in that building. According to the records of Congress President Adams opened that speech with a prayer: “May this territory [Washington, D.C.] be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city, may that piety and virtue that wisdom and magnanimity that constancy and self-government which adorned the great character whose name it bears, be forever in veneration! Here and throughout our country, may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever!” That was an exceptional prayer for that city. We should pray it over the city today because it lacks many of the virtues and character called for in that prayer.
Notice can be taken that our Founding Fathers took great pains to make plans for the city and the seats of government, but it made no such provisions for the Supreme Court. It did not get its own building until 1935. This was not an oversight on the part of the Founders, it was intentional. They did not intend for the Court to have any roll in the shaping of policy. For the first ten years of its existence the Court only met for two weeks a year. For the next fifty years the Court only met for 6-8 weeks a year.
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The reason the Founders gave so little power or attention to the Court was because the Founders gave the people the final decision on the policies set by Congress. We now allow the Court to be that final decision maker which is not what the Founders intended. This is what happens when we don’t know our history. We have lost our religious heritage because we no longer teach it and the revisionists have seen to it that we are not ALLOWED to teach it either using the fallacy of the separation of church and state. It is time We The People tell the five ‘justices’ on the bench that have violated their oath and used international law to determine cases that it is OUR right to determine what are laws will be.
© 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