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A presidential proclamation in honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va., whose settlers were dispatched from England with the primary goal of furthering the Christian faith, doesn’t mention Christianity, and the leader of a group working to have that history accurately portrayed is troubled.
“America looks to our leaders in moments of historic importance to remind us of our foundations as a free people. Historically American presidents have taken the opportunity of the celebration of Jamestown to point out that this experiment in liberty was first dedicated to God,” said Doug Phillips.
He is president of Vision Forum Ministries and the founder of the Jamestown Quadricentennial: A Celebration of America’s Providential History, Vision Forum’s own series of events to celebrate the quadricentennial June 11-16
He’s called the battle over the accurate inclusion of Christianity’s influence in history one of the most significant battles today, because it is a battle over the very history of this nation.
The president’s proclamation notes the long journey that resulted in the arrival, 13 years before the Plymouth, Mass., Pilgrims, of the Jamestown settlers on what later would be the shores of the United States.
Four centuries ago, after a long journey, a small group of colonists stepped boldly onto the shores of the New World and established the first permanent English settlement in North America. During the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, America honors the early pioneers whose epic of endurance and courage started the story of our Nation.
The ideals that distinguish and guide the United States today trace back to the Virginia settlement where free enterprise, the rule of law, and the spirit of discovery took hold in the hearts and practices of the American people. Noble institutions and grand traditions were established in Jamestown. Amid tremendous difficulties, a determined few worked the land and expanded into the wilderness. Without knowing it, the colonists who built communities at Jamestown laid the foundation for a Nation that would become the ultimate symbol and force for freedom throughout the entire world.
Much has changed in the 400 years since that three-sided fort was raised on the banks of the James River. Today, we are a strong and growing Nation of more than 300 million, and we are blessed to live in a land of plenty during a time of great prosperity. The long struggle that started at Jamestown has inspired generations of Americans. Advancing the right to live, work, and worship in liberty is the mission that created our country, the honorable achievement of our ancestors, and the calling of our time.
“This nation was established on the foundation of Christianity,” Phillips said. “There are some important positives about the president’s proclamation, but there also appear to be some very troubling edits of this significant document prior to its release to the American people.”
He said the president actually uses the word “celebrate,” which is good, since, as WND has reported, the official organizers of the events have banned it and described the arrival as an “invasion.”
Phillips also noted that the president noted the pursuit of the right to “worship.”
“On the other hand, the absence of any direct reference to God or Christianity is deeply troubling. It’s troubling because none of these things make sense at all apart from the context, and the context was a nation birthed by individuals who sought to bring the Gospel, the Bible and a Christian law order to North America,” Phillips said.
As WND also has reported, officials managing the guided tours at the historic location recently confirmed that spreading the Gospel of Jesus was, in fact, the primary goal given to the Jamestown settlers.
A new memo issued by site managers told the guides to include “all three major motivations in their tour program presentations”.
“The first motivation mentioned in the 1606 charter is to spread the Christian religion. The statement below is made by or on behalf of King James to the major investors in the Virginia Company,” the memo said.
Wee, greately commending and graciously accepting of theire desires to the furtherance of soe noble a worke which may, by the providence of Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Maiestie to suche people as yet live in darkeness and miserable ignorance of the true knoweledge and worshippe of God and may in tyme bring the infidels and salvages living in those parts to humane civilitie and to a setled and quiet governmente…
The memo said it obtained the documentation from two primary sources, the original charter granted by King James to the Virginia Company on April 10, 1606, and the London Council of the Virginia Company’s “Instructions given by way of Advice,” dated between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19, 1606.
Phillips said that is history and it “speaks for itself,” and of course should be mentioned in such a proclamation.
So steeped in Christianity was the Jamestown settlement, according to a group trying to rededicate the nation to Jesus, the community had a nearly 3,000-word prayer that was spoken twice daily either by “the Captain of the watch himself, or by some one of his principal officers.”
“We therefore most humbly beseech thee to raise up our hearts with thy good spirit, and so to dispose us to prayer, that with true fervency of heart, feeling of our wants, humbleness of mind, and faith in thy gracious promises, we may present our suites acceptably unto thee by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” it said in opening.
And to close, it raised the name of Jesus again, noting that the settlement was launched “in thy fear, and for thy glory.”
“And seeing thou hast honored us to choose us out to bear thy name unto the Gentiles: we therefore beseech thee to bless us, and this our plantation. Which we and our nation have begun in thy fear, and for thy glory. We know O Lord, we have the devil and all the gates of hell against us, but if thou O Lord be on our side, we care not who be against us. O therefore vouchsafe to be our God, and let us be a part and portion of thy people, confirm thy covenant of grace and mercy with us, which thou hast made to thy Church in Christ Jesus. And seeing Lord the highest end of our plantation here, is to set up the standard, and Display the banner of Jesus Christ, even here where Satan’s throne is Lord, let our labor be blessed in laboring the conversion of the heathen.”
The president is planning a visit May 13 to Jamestown. A spokeswoman earlier told WND that he would be aware of concerns over editing Christianity from Jamestown’s history.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had responded to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, that it would be reviewed.
“I know the president is looking forward to going to Jamestown on May 13,” she said.
While Phillips has been raising issues of politically correct history in the events around the 400th anniversary, Calfornia pastor Todd DuBord of Lake Almanor Community Church has raised similar issues regarding the actual presentations by tour guides at the historic sites.
It was in response to his concerns that officials at Jamestown confirmed that guides are being instructed to discuss the propagation of Christianity as the primary goal for Jamestown.
Joseph A. Gutierrez, Jr., senior director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, told DuBord he is comfortable that the new instructions include the necessary balance of religious and secular interests.
DuBord said he’s written to Bush, expressing his concern.
“I was respectfully disappointed, as I know millions are too, not to read any mention of God or their Christian purpose in your proclamation, when the early colony had at its heart a Christian mission (as outlined in the 1606 Charter) and a twice-daily prayer that thanked God for their colony and spoke about the ‘highest end’ of the colony being to uphold the banner of Jesus Christ,” his letter said.
“As a Christian, and for all who understand the real history of the colony, I ask you to please say something publicly about the Christian mission/purpose of the colony when you are giving your speech from Jamestown on the weekend of May 11-13. Your public speech writers would do great justice to include a quote of the Christian mission from the 1606 Charter into your public speeches when you’re there,” he wrote.
DuBord has documented similar efforts to edit Christianity from the historic references at the U.S. Supreme Court and Jefferson’s Monticello estate, and also has that research, as well as his Jamestown research, available on his church website.
To obtain Pastor Todd DuBord’s research on this issue, as well as research into the editing of Christian references at the U.S. Supreme Court and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, visit the Lake Almanor Community Church website.