BIBLE AND PRAYER IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA
The U.S. Constitution was founded on Biblical principles, and it was the intention of the authors for this to be a Christian nation. There were 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence on the year 1775, of which 52 were orthodox, deeply committed evangelical Christians. The other three all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. The founding fathers understood that for a country to stand it must have a solid foundation; the Bible was the source of this foundation. They believed that God's ways were much higher than Man's ways and held firmly that the Bible was the absolute standard of truth and used the Bible as a source to form the government.
It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation.
The founding fathers took ideas from the Bible and incorporated them into the government. "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king... (Isaiah 33:22)." The founding fathers took this scripture and made three major branches in the government: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. They strongly believed that man was by nature corrupt and therefore it was necessary to separate the powers of the government. For instance, the President has the power to execute laws but not make them, and Congress has the power to make laws but not to judge the people. The simple principle of checks and balances came from the Bible to protect people from tyranny. Directly or indirectly, 94% of all their quotes were based on the Bible. Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman reviewed an estimated 15,000 items with explicit political content printed between 1760 and 1805 and from these items they identified 3,154 references to other sources. The source most often quoted was the Bible, accounting for 34% of all citations. Sixty percent of all other quotes were from men who themselves used the Bible to form their conclusions.
Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death." But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted.
Here is what he actually said: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
The following year, 1776, he wrote this: "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. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well- worn Bible: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator ".
He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.
The U.S. Constitution is the form of its government, but the power is in the virtue of the people. The virtue desired of the people is shown in the Bible. This is why Biblical morality was taught in public schools until the early 1960's. Government officials were required to declare their belief in God even to be allowed to hold a public office until a case in the U.S. Supreme Court called Torcaso v. Watkins (Oct. 1960). God was seen as the author of natural law and morality. If one did not believe in God one could not operate from a proper moral base. And by not having a foundation from which to work, one would destroy the community.
Government was never meant to be the master as in a ruthless monarchy or dictatorship. Instead, it was to be the servant. The founding fathers believed that the people have full power to govern themselves and that people chose to give up some of their rights for the general good and the protection of rights. Each person should be self-governed and this is why virtue is so important.
Government was meant to serve the people by protecting their liberty and rights, not to serve by developing an enormous amount of social programs to "take care of" the people. The authors of the Constitution wanted the government to have as little power as possible so that if authority was misused it would not cause as much damage. Yet they wanted government to have enough authority to protect the rights of the people. The world-view at the time of the founding of the government was a view held by the Bible: that Man's heart is corrupt and if the opportunity to advance oneself at the expense of another arose, more often than not, we would choose to do so. They firmly believed this and that's why an enormous effort to set up checks and balances took place.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The founders wanted to make certain that no man could take away rights given by God. They also did not set up the government as a true democracy, because they believed, as mentioned earlier, that man tends towards wickedness. Just because the majority wants something does not mean that it should be granted, because the majority could easily err. Government was not to be run by whatever the majority wanted but instead by principle, specifically the principles of the Bible.
On July 4, 1821, President Adams said: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
The fathers who formed the government also formed the educational system of the day. John Witherspoon did not attend the Constitutional Convention although he was President of New Jersey College in 1768 (known as Princeton since 1896) and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His influence on the Constitution was far ranging in that he taught nine of fifty-five original delegates. He fought firmly for religious freedom and said, "God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that unjust attempts to destroy the one may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both."
In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."
William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation."
Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology."
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments".
One of the first appropriations by the first Congress of the United States was for the purchase of 20,000 Bibles for use in evangelizing the Indians in the Northwest Territory. And, in 1782, the Congress voted this resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools." James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
The beginning of the END.
Unfortunately, in October 1961 the Supreme Court of the United States removed prayer from schools in a case called Engel v. Vitale. The case said that because the U.S. Constitution prohibits any law respecting an establishment of religion, officials of public schools may not compose public prayer even if the prayer is denominationally neutral, and that pupils may choose to remain silent or be excused while the prayer is being recited. For 185 years prayer was allowed in public and the Constitutional Convention itself was opened with prayer.
The 1961 prayer in question was not even lengthy or denominationally geared. It was this: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country."
Removing this simple acknowledgment of God's protecting hand dramatically increased the birth rates for unwed girls 0f 15-19 year olds, and sexually transmitted diseases among 10-14 year olds. It improved the social fabric of the students. Moral character has plummetted resulting in a much higher divorce rate, tens of millions of abortions, and a suicide rate among teenagers that is one of the leading causes of death. The Bible, before 1961, was used extensively in curriculum. After the Bible and the prayer was removed from the schools, scholastic aptitude test scores dropped considerably.
It is sometimes said that it is permissible to pray in school as long as it is silent. Although, "In Omaha, Nebraska, 10-year old James Gierke was prohibited from reading his Bible silently during free time... the boy was forbidden by his teacher to open his Bible at school and was told doing so was against the law." The U.S. Supreme Court with no precedent in any court history said prayer will be removed from school. Yet the Supreme Court in January, 1844 in a case named Vidal v. Girard's Executors, a school was to be built in which no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever was to be allowed to even step on the property of the school. The Justices argued over whether a layman could teach or not, but they agreed that, "...there is an obligation to teach what the Bible alone can teach, viz. a pure system of morality." This has been the precedent throughout 185 years.
The removal of public prayer of those who wish to participate is, in effect, establishing the religion of Humanism over the reality of Christianity. This is exactly what the founding fathers tried to stop from happening with the first amendment.
Pastor Paul Ciniraj,
Amen. It is a shame that someone in India has to teach us American history ... Ferd@2jesus