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Thomas Jefferson, author of the “wall of separation” that is revered as gospel by secularists and civil libertarians who want to purge Christianity from the public square, was firmly in favor of prohibiting public religious expression.
Hardly. But that’s the message many in the so-called mainstream are preaching today.
I wonder how many Americans are familiar with the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom? Authored by Thomas Jefferson, it appears on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial.
Here’s an excerpt: “Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens … are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion. …”
Mr. Jefferson clearly believed that America was a gift from God and that it was God Himself who granted us the ability to reason and properly live our lives.
While it was Mr. Jefferson who drafted the measure, James Madison piloted it through the Virginia Legislature in 1786. History shows that each of these men deemed the legislation to be among their most satisfying triumphs, with Mr. Jefferson even noting on his tombstone that he was the author not only of the Declaration of Independence but also of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
I have been reading Newt Gingrich’s latest book, “Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future.” I believe every Christian in America should get a copy of this book to fully understand the rich Judeo-Christian influence on the burgeoning nation.
Mr. Gingrich takes readers on a journey through Washington, D.C., to observe a variety of monuments and relics, beginning with the National Archives. There, we see the undying words of the Declaration of Independence: we “are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
Our nation’s capital is full of these examples: from the striking statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments looking over the rotunda of the Library of Congress, to the depiction of the Commandments in the floor of the National Archives, to the Adams Prayer Mantel in the White House (“I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. …”).
Last week, David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, spoke at Liberty University. He debunked the modern movement to cast our founders as “a bunch of atheist, agnostic deists,” calling it completely invalid. He detailed the history and writings of many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and their obvious allegiance to Christianity. These men include:
- Dr. John Witherspoon, who wrote, “I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other [Acts 4:12]. …”
- Dr. Benjamin Rush, an innovator of mass-produced Bible printing, initiator of the Sunday school movement in America and founder of the first Bible society in our nation.
- John Dickinson, also a signer of the U.S. Constitution, who wrote in his will: “Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.”
- John Hancock, first governor of Massachusetts, who issued at least 24 calls for public fasting and prayer and urged people to pray and fast about their fellow citizens becoming Christians.
This is not fallacy; it is our history. But it is a history that is being routinely rewritten, ignored and disrespected.
I believe it is imperative that Christians go back to the basics to learn about the Judeo-Christian foundations of our nation. Purchase books like Mr. Gingrich’s “Rediscovering God in America,” regularly visit the WallBuilders website to become knowledgeable and conversant on our nation’s glorious history.
And to my pastor friends, I say that we must ensure that our congregations understand that America was founded on Christian principles, and we must be proactive in defending them.
Let us work together to safeguard the chronicle of our nation’s founding from those who are shamefully and falsely preaching that we are a godless nation.
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