Alexander's Column

Endowed by Our Creator

By Mark Alexander · May 6, 2010
“To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian. The signal Instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labours with complete Success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude and Piety to the Supreme Author of all Good.” –George Washington

Today is our National Day of Prayer, a good day to ask, “Does the Constitution provide a ”wall of separation“ between church and state?

The short answer is "yes,” but most certainly not the faux wall constructed by judicial activists over the last century.

In 1775, on the eve of Revolution, the First Continental Congress called for “a day of publick humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

Apparently, our Founders saw a national day of prayer as a fitting observance, not unlike the establishment of Thanksgiving, of which George Washington wrote in 1777, “Being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General … earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.”

Other Founders continued the tradition.

John Adams declared May 9, 1798, as “a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer … that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it.”

James Madison followed this tradition, but wrote, “I was always careful to make the Proclamations absolutely indiscriminate, and merely recommendatory; or rather mere designations of a day, on which all who thought proper might unite in consecrating it to religious purposes, according to their own faith & forms. In this sense, I presume you reserve to the Govt. a right to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship.”

Our Founders were greatly and rightly suspect of any encroachment by government upon religious freedom, and codified that proscription in Amendment I of our Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

In other words, Congress may not mandate that a particular religion be nationalized, and others be prohibited.

Our Founders were not radical secularists. Far from it. One need only examine their many writings on the subject as evidence. But, rightly, they didn’t want the United States to be wedded with a particular church, as was the case with England and the Anglican Church.

Thomas Jefferson, a vigilant though skeptical Anglican, made clear this prohibition in his obscure but maliciously misconstrued 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. Far from calling for the coercive stripping of all religious influences from public life, Jefferson merely assured his Baptist constituents in Connecticut that their denominational practices were safe because our Constitution provided a “wall of separation” between church and state, which would prohibit the national government from recognizing Anglicanism as the national religion. (Notably, two days after writing that letter, Jefferson attended religious services in the House of Representatives.)

As Madison wrote, our Constitution, the one he penned, does not bar the government from designating “particular days for religious worship throughout the State,” though now the courts prohibit prayers before local football games.

Indeed, in the latter half of the 20th century, judicial activists (the “despotic branch”) as Jefferson called them) have “interpreted” the First Amendment to suit their political agendas, placing evermore severe constraints upon the free exercise of religion while wholly misrepresenting the aforementioned “Wall of Separation” in a concerted effort to expel religious practice from any and all public forums.

They have done so by falsely putting forth a “living constitution,” a revisionist document which has little resemblance to the authentic Constitution that once was our Republic’s standard for Rule of Law.

As noted by former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, “The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based upon bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned. … The greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intention of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.”

The intended consequence of this artificial barrier between church and state is to remove the unmistakable influence of our Creator from all public forums, particularly government education institutions, and thus, over time, to disabuse belief in a sovereign God and the notion of natural rights. This erosion of knowledge about the origin of our rights, the very foundation of our country and basis of our Constitution, has dire implications for the future of our Essential Liberty.

In 1952, Congress established the National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution, signed into law by President Harry Truman. The NDP designation (36 U.S.C. § 119) calls for the nation “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

Naturally, the Despotic Branch is challenging that resolution, asserting that religion and politics don’t mix.

On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb (a 1979 Jimmy Carter nominee) ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional, as it is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.”

That ruling, of course, has no basis in our Constitution, but merely among those who have contorted its true meaning into a grotesque remnant of its original brilliance.

Perhaps Ms. Crabb, and all other jurists who are attempting to amend our Constitution by judicial diktat in full disregard for the constitutional prescription for amendment in Article 5, should pause and consider the faith of our Founders.

Perhaps they should look into the depth of faith that motivated the actions of Patriot Founders John Hancock, Roger Sherman, John Dickinson, Hugh Williamson, Benjamin Rush, Samuel Huntington, John Adams, William Williams, Robert Treat Paine, Rufus King, William Livingston, James Wilson, George Mason and Patrick Henry.

Here are but a few examples of how our Founders expressed their faith when in positions of authority.

Hancock called on his home state of Massachusetts to pray, “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”

According to John Adams: “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity. … Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. … What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”

Henry wrote, “The Bible … is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. … The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.”

Samuel Adams called on Massachusetts to pray that, “we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid … [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.”

Even those who were cautious about the public expressions of religion left evidence of their views on Christianity.

Jefferson wrote, “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. … I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “As to Jesus of Nazareth … I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

Beyond these many writings – as if further proof were needed – our Founders unequivocally enumerated the natural rights of all men in our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” These are natural rights – gifts from God, not government.

Notably, the conviction that our rights are innately bestowed by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” is enumerated in the constitution preamble of every state in our Union.

Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. … Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”

Prayer is Almighty God’s prerequisite for true hope and change, and our nation needs an abundance of both right now. The Patriot Post’s National Advisory Board and staff invite you to join us, and millions of our countrymen, in prayer for our nation today at 1200 local time.

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52 Comments

Mark Ryberg said:

So simple and so seemingly obvious......Godspeed to our great country

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

homer said:

Try telling the Kenyan Muslim who sits in an honorable seat that G. washington and the founders after him sat! I'd still like to see this man's birth cert.!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I.A.Martin said:

Yes,I will join in with prayer at 12:00 noon with hope that many many more true Americans will also. For if we as Americans do not come to the realization that it is God that made us a great nation and it is God that will make us a great nation again. Then all hope is lost.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:30 AM

ray ragsdale said:

There is more to " God Bless America " than simply words...it is the foundation of the United States. Those jurisits simply do not accept American exceptionalism

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Telezer said:

Yes, America should have a day of prayer. It should remain non-denominational as our Founding Fathers intended. One nation under God, however each of us intreprets God.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Leo Wells said:

It is commonly accepted that when we are exposed to Gun Fire, WE ALL PRAY.Maybe after some exposure to that, we could find out if the Despotic Branch truely opposes prayer.My guess is that it would be OK for them to pray under fire, just not OK for the ordinary people to pray.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Texas Gal said:

I am not a religious person, but even I have seen a steady decline in the morality of this country since the ultra liberal and now deceased Madeline Murray O'Hare convinced the courts that prayer in schools was a conflict with regard to the separation between church and state. The more God is removed, the more our rights are taken away. The tighter the government regulates every aspect of our lives, the more liberties we forfeit. When will the madness end? God only knows.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Rev. Edward Brown in Eaton, OH said:

Worthy of mention among the signers of the Declaration of Independence is also the name of Rev. John Witherspoon. As he reviewed earlier drafts of this monumental document he became concerned that God was not receiving appropriate acknowledgement and urged the other delegates to clearly state God's role in the life of this new nation.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:50 AM

jack rouser said:

Very well done, many thanks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Graysonret said:

I wonder how long it would be before someone sues, declaring the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional? For that matter, even declaring the Constitution itself, unconstitutional, for having "In the year of our Lord" in it?

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:08 PM

James F. said:

It may be worth noting that at the time our Constitution was accepted, at least three states had official state religions. This should solidify the idea that only the national government was prohibited from establishing an official religion, and there is, therefore, no such thing as a "wall of separation" between all levels of government and all religious activity.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Glen said:

You non-believers...what's to fear? "Day of Prayer" no more makes you a Christian than Halloween makes me a pumpkin!

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Harold (Wyatt) said:

GOD bless the UNITED STATES of AMERICA...We need all the help we can get, being governed by a President who studied at Occidental College as a foreign student from Indonesia, but became A Natural citizen later in life. How can you receive Foreign student funds for college, if you are a natural born citizen? Either way you look at this it is illegal. 1. Foreign born as President or 2. Natural born stealing college funds while posing as a foreign student. I think the government must get to the bottom of this, because we either have a foreign or felon as President.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:35 PM

joan said:

Sure will pray today for this country which sure needs it and our troops to come home. Joan

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:39 PM

kenneth smith said:

Nobody could have put it any plainer. I have tried to find the words and couldn't seem to put it togather. But here in this message its all there the words I wanted to say but couldn't find them.We have to get back to these beliefs or God will surely abandon us. We are not perfect in our actions but we have gotten so far away from our Constitution that God help the forefathers write.It amazes me reading it at this time how it was written at that time there is no doubt that God had a hand in it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:39 PM