One Nation Under God
©2011 By David Talbot
This is going to be a history lesson. One that my liberal/progressive friends will not like or understand. In their mind, no mention of God or religion is acceptable in this modern age, as being prohibited by a clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “The Establishment Clause.”
Since the mid 1950’s, atheists have sought to use this clause to eliminate prayer in schools, prayer at sporting events, any display of a religious symbol on any public property, and removal of “..under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. And, they’ve been successful.
Most recently, these groups, mostly aided by the ACLU have sued in Federal court to remove a cross from a private-public partnership property, on a hilltop overlooking the San Diego Freeway. And they are planning to sue the Federal Government to remove any religious symbols from the graves of fallen soldiers and patriots in National Cemeteries.
From court briefs, one might get the feeling that our founding fathers had this “No Religion in Public” sentiment in mind when they formed the colonies and drafted our national documents.
You’d be wrong.
Of course we all learned about the arrival of the Puritans to America, fleeing England for religious freedom. While most of us know how important religion was in their private lives, most folks are not aware of how significant the Hebrew and Christian Bibles were in the political and legislative life of the colonists.
Ken Spiro, of AISH.Com, has put together a course on religion in colonial America that addresses, in part, the development of legal structures in early America. For example, the New Haven Colony adopted a legal code in 1655 “..which contained some 79 statutes, half of which contained biblical references.” A similar code was adopted in the Plymouth Colony.
The Massachusetts Colony, in 1641, 14 years earlier than New Haven, adopted the “so-called Capitall Lawes of New England, based almost entirely on Mosaic law.”
But did the laws of the early American Colonies have an influence on the framers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution?
We can find a clue to their thinking by looking at the institutions of higher learning they attended. Ken Spiro notes, “So popular was the Hebrew Language in the late 16th and early 17th centuries that several students at Yale delivered their commencement orations in Hebrew. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania taught courses in Hebrew.” More remarkable, these universities required Bible study and Hebrew and “..students had the option of delivering commencement speeches in either Hebrew, Latin or Greek.”
So, who attended these Universities? Thomas Jefferson attended William and Mary. James Madison attended Princeton. Alexander Hamilton attended King’s College (Columbia).
Of course this is just an opinion piece, not a college dissertation. So, here’s my opinion: I’m an observant Jew who went to public school. I heard prayer every day at school, said the pledge of allegiance, and suffered no brain damage or impairment of any kind. Before assembly we prayed. Before football games our players prayed. And, I believe the world was a better place for it.
In fact, ever since atheists and the ACLU began their “War on Religion” this country has become an example of everything that’s wrong with the world, and I don’t like it one darn bit.
Anyway, that’s my opinion, what’s yours?