Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Nation Under God

Built into our constitution, our founding fathers built a foundation of freedom. From the beginning, Christianity was not the law of the land.  Christianity was the principle behind the law of the land. One undeniable fact: At its core, the United States of America is a Christian nation.  A noble and significant quality embedded in the Christian faith is freedom for the religions to compete in the public arena of ideas. Americans have the freedom to change their nation from a Christian nation to any other type of their choosing. The majority will decide. While giving us this freedom, there were warnings given by our founding fathers.

On April 29th, 1607, the birth of a nation began.  Sea-weary Englishmen landed at Cape Henry on the shores of Virginia and lay the foundation for what would become the most powerful country the world has ever seen. What was to be the United States unfolded that day, America's destiny and purpose were sealed at Cape Henry.  All that would follow hinged on the single proclamation that this land belonged to Jesus Christ. In the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Pilgrims reaffirmed the mission set forth by the original Virginia settlers.

The Puritans carried the Cape Henry legacy further. On the deck of the Arbella, halfway between England and Cape Cod, leader John Winthrop declared, "We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world."1

This is the heart of America, 'the city upon a hill,' and the core of what America's been all about since day one. The basis for American life, at that time, was to be committed Christians who were to so let their light shine to one another and then to the whole world, that the world could see that as an example.

More than 100 years later, America set off on her own course towards independence, the Godly foundations laid in Virginia established the character of our Revolution.  "Before God, I believe the hour has come," said John Adams of the Revolution. "My judgment approves this measure and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am and all that I hope in this life I am now ready to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now and independence forever."2

John Adams wrote:
“Statesman, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but 
it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles 
upon which Freedom can securely stand. 
The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired 
into our People in a greater measure than they have it now, 
they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, 
but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”

George Washington's reverent, Christian heart, Benjamin Franklin's call to prayer and John Adams' reverence for the will of God symbolize the undying commitment of our Founding Fathers to the creation of a nation which would glorify God. The American character was born in Scripture and nurtured by the Holy Spirit, yet today, our national heritage is under siege.

Four hundred years have passed since America was first conceived at Cape Henry, and respect for our roots is growing cold. Yes, one undeniable fact will remain: At its core, the United States of America is a Christian nation... with the gift of freedom. Americans have the freedom to change their nation from a Christian nation. Christianity is not the law of the land.  Christianity was the principle behind the law of the land.

James Madison warned of a risk in 1795:
"The moment that religion, the pure and undefiled religion, loses its influence 
over our hearts, from that fatal moment, farewell to public and private happiness. 
Farewell--a long farewell--to virtue, to patriotism, to liberty."

John Adams wrote in June 1776: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people."

Yes, our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  And the people have the freedom to change.  Place that constitution into the hands of an immoral and unreligious people and you see the America of today.  The moral and religious people of yesterday laid down their right, choosing comfort rather than politics.  They turned a blind eye to difficult topics, and chose topics that were pleasing to their ears.  And like a frog in a pan of water on a stove, morality and religion was shed slowly, without realizing it was happening.  It happens.  Layer by layer until bare bones and stark reality hit.

What will you do?  The bright light that shown to all the world is dimming.  Will you continue laying down, rolling over to change the view... choosing the more comfortable scenery of your pew?  Your soccer field? Your quilt guild meeting? (Please fill in the blank here)  Did the founding fathers die for nothing?

You have the freedom to change this country... or not.   Ezekiel 33:8

My thanks to David Norris for contributing to this article.