On May 5, Federal District Judge Jennifer Coffman ordered historical
documents hanging on the walls of public buildings in Eastern Kentucky
to be immediately taken down. The ruling directly targets courthouses
and public schools in Harlan, McCreary and Pulaski counties. In
defending her decision, Coffman said the displays have the effect of
“conveying a very specific government endorsement of religion.”
Judge Coffman’s ruling demonstrates either a profound ignorance of
America’s history or a profound contempt for America’s history. In
either case, the judge declared war on America’s deep Christian
The offending documents ordered removed included the Declaration of
Independence, the preamble to the Constitution of Kentucky, and the
national motto, “In God we trust.” A page from the congressional record
of Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1983, Vol. 129, No. 8, which declares 1983 as the
“Year of the Bible” and lists the Ten Commandments, was likewise ordered
removed. In addition, a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan marking
1983 the “Year of the Bible,” a proclamation by President Abraham
Lincoln designating April 30, 1863, a “National Day of Prayer and
Humiliation,” the Mayflower Compact, and more were ordered removed. Any
document having any reference to God was ordered taken down.
Using Judge Coffman’s reasoning, never again would people be allowed
to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a public gathering because the words
“under God” are in it. No public meeting could ever be opened in prayer.
The Supreme Court building would need to be remodeled. Directly above
the head of the Chief Justice is an engraving of the Ten Commandments,
which is protected by a great American eagle. On the east front is a
marble sculpture of Moses. That would have to be torn down. No longer
could the Court open with the invocation: “God save the United States
and the Honorable Court.”
In Judge Coffman’s Amerika, the “prayer and meditation” room located
just off the rotunda in the Capitol would have to be sealed. The room
features a stained glass window showing George Washington kneeling in
prayer. Behind him are the words from Psalm 16:1, “Preserve me, O God;
for in thee do I put my trust.” An open Bible is on the altar. Congress
would have to fire their respective chaplains and no longer be allowed
to open their sessions in prayer.
Great sculptures inside the rotunda would have to be torn down. There
you will find the figure of the crucified Christ, as well as a picture
of the Pilgrims about to board the ships Mayflower and Speedwell. The
ship’s chaplain, Brewster, is shown with an open Bible on his lap.
Likewise, the walls of the Capitol dome would have to be remodeled
because these words clearly appear: “The New Testament according to our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” On the sail is the motto of the Pilgrims,
“In God We Trust, God Is With Us.”
The Great Seal of the United States would have to be changed.
Inscribed in the Seal is the phrase, Annuit Coeptis, which means, “God
has smiled on our undertaking.” Under the Seal is engraved the phrase,
“This nation under God,” from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
It is impossible to separate this nation from its Christian past. The
reminders of our heritage are carved in our buildings and monuments and
preserved in our historical documents. Only foolish people like Jennifer
Coffman would even attempt such a disdainful act. That the roots of
Christianity run deep in our soil is plain for all to see. What is not
so clear is how deep they run in our soul.