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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Of God and Country

The Declaration of Independence states, in part:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“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. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …” The Declaration of Independence

In those two paragraphs are two references to God/the Creator. Those paragraphs tell us that the Founders believed that certain rights are given to mankind by God/the Creator, and that government ­– the government of the United States that they are about to create – gets its power from the people.

The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that 78% of Americans are Christian/Catholic, 2% are Jewish, 2% are Mormon, 8% are Other (specific), and 9% either claim no religion or did not designate a religion. The report also tells us that 65% of Americans are members of a church or synagogue. Census data


Therefore:


Since the Founders believed that the most fundamental and important rights of mankind are derived from God/the Creator, and

Since Americans are overwhelmingly religious people, and

Since the government is empowered by people who are by choice religious,

Why should the majority of the American people accede to the wishes of a minority of Americans that objects to references to God/the Creator?

This is not a matter of government instituting a national religion, which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. America is a land of many religions among which citizens are free to choose, or to not choose.

This is simply a matter of upholding traditions begun more than two centuries ago that a substantial majority of Americans want upheld. The majority believes in God/the Creator, and does not want references to their God to be removed from traditional places or things.

America is the land of the free, and a large majority of its citizens – by a margin of ten to one – insist on maintaining their freedom to acknowledge the authority that endowed them with the power to create this nation, as they have ever since the nation was formed.

While our government is not a theocracy – there is no formal national religion here – religion and the birth and evolution of the United States of America are inextricably intertwined. Religion has been and is an integral part of America. Its benefits accrue to all, even to those who do not believe in God. As Irving Kristol said, religion is a vehicle for a moral tradition that plays a crucial role in the nation’s development, and nothing can take its place.

Those who wish to remove references to religion and to God are striking a blow at the very heart of America.

3 comments:

Buffalo said...

I respectfully disagree, although not in total

James Howard Shott said...

C'mon, Buffalo.

A statement like that one requires more detail!

Mr. Middle America said...

I have read several articles that have suggested that (at the time the country was being set up) that most religious people were behind the separation of Church and State... Specifically because they had just left a government system that was based on the inter-mingling of those two entities... which is why they left.

I will acknowledge, however, that the United States of America, nay, Western Civilization, is based on Christian principles...

And, as we are seeing, no other religious background can (probably) produce a Republic or a Democracy. Not of its own volition at any rate!

So, what I am saying is this... If a system is perfect: has a proper mix of Religious Philosophy / secularism... Do not mess with it!

I do not want our country to be too religious... Especially influenced by religions that are not in congruence with Western Civiliation...

However, I do not want for our country to get away from the basic principles that it was founded on...

If that makes any sense at all...