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Whaddya mean, 'America is not a Christian nation'?
Posted By Drew Zahn On 05/16/2009 @ 8:45 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
While Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is “no longer a Christian nation,” several members of Congress have taken a stand to boldly disagree.
A bipartisan group of 25 members of the House of Representatives earlier this month submitted H.Res. 397, which calls on Congress to affirm “the rich spiritual and religious history of our nation’s founding and subsequent history” and to designate the first week of May as America’s Spiritual Heritage Week for “the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.”
Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., specifically challenged the president’s claims that America is not a Christian nation in a news conference announcing the bill immediately following last week’s National Day of Prayer observance.
“The overwhelming evidence suggests that this nation was born and birthed with Judeo-Christian principles,” Forbes told reporters, “and I would challenge anybody to tell me that point in time when we ceased to be so, because it doesn’t exist.”
The bill itself cites over 70 historical references and quotes from past presidents, Founding Fathers and Supreme Court decisions as proof that Judeo-Christian principles have been the foundation of our nation.
H.Res. 397, which has now accumulated 41 cosponsors, not only calls on Congress to affirm the nation’s spiritual heritage, but also resolves that the U.S. House of Representatives “rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure or purposely omit such history from our nation’s public buildings and educational resources.”
Video of Forbes presenting his argument for the bill’s passage on the floor of the House can be seen below:
The full text of H.Res. 397 begins by asserting that “religious faith was not only important in official American life during the periods of discovery, exploration, colonization and growth but has also been acknowledged and incorporated into all three branches of the federal government from their very beginning.”
The bill’s long list of “whereas” affirmations begins with the statement, “Whereas the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed this self-evident fact in a unanimous ruling declaring ‘This is a religious people. … From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.’”
Among the many historical proofs included in the bill were the following:
Following the lengthy “whereas” section, the bill then calls on the House to resolve to affirm the spiritual history of the nation, reject efforts to cleanse that religious history and establish America’s Spiritual History Week to appreciate and educate the citizenry on the country’s foundations in faith.
Forbes was joined in announcing the bill’s introduction by several members of Congress who spoke in favor of the bill, religious leaders like Dr. James and Shirley Dobson, professional football player Shaun Alexander, and leaders of several national education, policy and advocacy groups.
Asked last year to clarify his remarks on America’s spiritual heritage, Obama repeated them to the Christian Broadcast Network: “I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are
also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers,” Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior national correspondent David Brody.
“We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies from the statehouse to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community,” wrote Obama.
Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus with Rep. Forbes, spoke at the press conference announcing H.Res. 397 and asserted to the contrary that it’s “high time” the nation recognize and affirm the “integral part of our nation’s history” that Christianity has played.
McIntyre said Americans don’t know, for example, that even Ben Franklin, who “wasn’t known as the most spiritual of the Founding Fathers,” nonetheless looked to God as the only hope for our country:
“Ben Franklin,” McIntyre said, “stood up and called the assembly of delegates to prayer, because, he said, ‘Scripture teaches us that if a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without his notice, is it likely that an empire will rise without his aid?’ And if we don’t first go to prayer, he said, ‘We’ll be no more successful then the builders of Babel.’”
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