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|One Nation Under God||
As we celebrate our nation's birth this year, I cannot help but reflect on the incredible blessings that have been bestowed upon this great land. We are a nation of peace-loving people who work hard, value our families, cherish freedom, and pursue the protection of everyone's rights and dignity as a person. But above all, I believe, we have been a country that, for the most part, has attempted to live as "one nation under God."
Long before then-candidate George W. Bush named "Jesus" as his favorite philosopher, the foundation for a Christian nation was laid by our founding fathers and followed by countless political leaders throughout almost two-and-a-half centuries.
Consider the words of Charles Carroll, who risked his life when he boldly signed the Declaration of Independence: "Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
Patrick Henry, a key leader in the American Revolution and the first governor of Virginia, clearly identified the underpinnings of American society when he said, "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 this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
Despite the overstated "separation of church and state" argument, numerous U.S. Presidents have unapologetically woven God and Jesus Christ into their conversations, speeches and memoirs.
On the day that our first President was inaugurated, George Washington put forth this assertion in his address to Congress: "Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the council of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States."
Our second president, John Adams, wrote to Thomas Jefferson, "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were...the general principles of Christianity."
President Jefferson declared, "I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by Himself, to be the most pure, benevolent and sublime which have ever been preached to man."
Our fifth president, James Monroe, said in his second Inaugural Address, "The liberty, prosperity, and the happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good."
This foundation of faith helped carry our country through the trials of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln issued an historic day of fasting and prayer on March 30, 1863, with these words: "Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation: And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord..."
"I do believe in Almighty God! And I believe also in the Bible," declared Andrew Johnson, who took office after Lincoln's assassination.
At the turn of the 20th century, God and the Bible continued to play a crucial part in the lives of our leaders.
President Theodore Roosevelt said, "To every man who faces life with real desire to do his part in everything, I appeal for a study of the Bible."
Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president and the son of a Presbyterian minister, campaigned on the principles of American as a Christian nation. "America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask of every man and woman in this audience that from this night on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book of revelations. That if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism of the Holy Scripture." Not only did Wilson win the election, but he was re-elected again in 1916 and guided the nation through the first World War.
At the end of the "roaring 20's," an era not necessarily known for its moral virtue, President Herbert Hoover came to office. He stated, "The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience."
President Harry S. Truman, who made one of the most difficult moral decisions of our history when he dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World Word II, viewed our nation this way: "The fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state."
In modern society, President Jimmy Carter encouraged, "We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon."
Truly, America is the most Christian nation in modern history. I believe that this is why we are the most prosperous, liberated country in the world. This is also why we must accept and embrace our role as a world leader and adhere to the foundational principles that put us in this unique position to lead.
America needs leaders who will look beyond themselves to a Higher Power for wisdom and guidance. President Ronald Reagan said it best when he reminded us, "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under. If I could just make a personal statement of my own -- in these 3 1/2 years I have understood and known better than ever before the words of Lincoln, when he said that he would be the greatest fool on this footstool called Earth if he ever thought that for one moment he could perform the duties of that office without help from One who is stronger than all."
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