THE ROLE OF SPIRITUALITY AND
CITIZENSHIP IN BOTH PRIVATE AND
(Pat Boone) These are the words of our Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who despite all of his possible shortcomings was also a church-going, God-fearing man.
Franklin wrote those words – as appropriate today as they were back then – on April 18, 1787. Two months later, on June 18, he rose in the apparently deadlocked Constitutional Convention and suggested that the delegates could use divine guidance, proposing that each day's deliberations begin with a prayer and that a local clergyman be brought in to deliver a sermon.
Preaching and praying, whenever and wherever, in almost any circumstance public or private has been a part of America's culture from the very beginning. It is not alien to our civic culture, it is an integral part of it.
Even Thomas Jefferson, whose invocation about the "separation of church and state" is cited at every opportunity by some, made clear that he was not proposing that government divorce itself from spiritual matters.
As Jefferson put it in 1798, "No power over the freedom of religion is delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
Indeed, the same Thomas Jefferson, then our third president, said just four years later – "with solemn reverence" – in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists, the purpose of the Constitution's freedom of religion clause was not to interfere with the exercise of religion but to assure Americans there would be no official, or state-sponsored church, such as the Church of England.
The Constitution, he told them was clear, Congress shall "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
This isn't good enough for some civil libertarians, the kind typically involved in the political activities of the American Civil Liberties Union. They want all expressions of religious belief deleted from civic life and removed from government property.
Again, that's not what Jefferson envisioned at all.
Indeed, in 1802 President Jefferson signed the Enabling Act for Ohio, allowing it to become a state. That act required the Ohio state government to conduct itself in a manner that would "not be repugnant to the Northwest Ordinance," an earlier law. And what did the Northwest Ordinance say? Namely, that "religion, morality and knowledge – being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education – shall be forever encouraged."
During his presidency, Jefferson also served as the chairman of the District of Columbia school board and authored the federal city's education plan. Guess what: That education plan used both the Bible and a popular hymnal, Isaac Watts' "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs," as the principal texts for teaching reading.
President Jefferson and many members of the early Congress also attended Christian worship services every Sunday. Where? In the Hall of Congress.
The same Congress saw nothing wrong with appropriating taxpayer funds to pay missionaries to preach the gospel to American Indians. And in the Articles of War signed by Jefferson in 1806 during his second term, he "earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers diligently to attend divine services." In sharp contrast, the ACLU today wants to ban Boy Scout troops from military bases because the Boy Scout Oath pledges allegiance to God and country.
America's founders clearly understood the difference between spiritual and material well-being. Today's politicians would do well to rekindle such understanding.
Please understand, "material" is what you eat and wear, drive, spend and pay taxes on. Spiritual is what you feel, perceive, believe, cherish, live by and, for some – die for.
America's militant agnostic minority has totally distorted the meaning of separation of church and state. It doesn't mean banning religion and religious values from the public square. It doesn't mean Howard Stern's off-color (and frequently off-the-wall) "humor" is protected speech, while the free expression of religion is banned.
It means the United States will establish no official religion, while remaining equally hospitable to all religions – and to those who practice none. Religious principle is not something to fear and loathe and banish from the public square; it is a code of conduct on which we can and should rely to guide our personal and civic behavior.
Thank you, Pat.
Pat Boone is loved as an entertainer and also as the spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, a conservative senior citizens' advocacy organization (www.60plus.org).
I don't have the name of the author of the following commentary but think these are words to be pondered, certainly in America but also throughout the world where human hatreds have replaced Faith....
or 'faiths' have become the means of political control that deny people individual freedom and basic rights...
and thus the hatreds and oppression of humanity, if left unchecked, will send people and Planet into another long age of darkness.
'The condition of religion in the modern world is especially crucial to a society that links religion and public life in any way—and nowhere more crucial than in the United States. Religion in America has flourished not so much in spite of the separation of church and state as because of it. Far from setting up “Christian America,” or establishing any orthodoxy, religious or secular, the Framers envisioned the relationship of faith and freedom in what might be called a golden triangle:
Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith (of some sort), and faith requires freedom.
If the Framers were right, then as faiths go, so goes freedom—
and so goes the Republic. '
finally regarding Immigration
Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes
here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he
shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an
outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or
birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming
in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be
no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but
something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one
flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and
that is the English language... And we have room for but one sole
loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Every American citizen needs to read this!
I am always grateful to find articles to share about people and places and Ides with which I can agree. I have such great Faith in the Idea of the exponential expansion of Truth, that 'Shining Stranger', believing that when 'two or more are working together' in Ways that further God's Purposes on this Planet, Truth is the result...........
Thus, rather than do it all myself, I often join my efforts to others who deserve recognition and as well deserve to be given credit for their Service to humanity.
Lois J. Crawford