Happy 4th of July!
Here's to bros like David French who are serving honorably overseas.
I know that it is popular, especially among the torqued off honkies in the Emergent movement, to view our country, and especially our founding fathers as, purely secular. Funny that the founding fathers themselves didn't see it that way.
Take the two least religious founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and consider their actions.
For example, look at Thomas Jefferson who was the author of the so-called separation of church and state (by the way, the phrase is not in the Constitution, Jefferson did not have a hand in authoring our Constitution, the letter containing the phrase is attached to the Free Exercise Clause not the Establishment Clause and no Court interpreted it as remotely relevant until 1947).
Did you know that Jefferson attended church every week...at the Capitol ! In fact, the Capitol housed more than 2000 church attendees every week. Where did they get permission to use the Capitol as a church? From President Thomas Jefferson! That's not all. Jefferson ordered the Marine Corp Band to serve as the church's band!!!
Also, after the purchase of the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson sought federal funds to evangelize Native Americans and have church buildings built for them! Not even Jerry Falwell would have done that!
What about Ben Franklin? During the Constitutional Convention, the delegates found themselves at an impasse and here is how Franklin interceded:
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other -- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
So, Jefferson ordered church services in the Capitol and federally funded evangelism. Franklin's response to an impasse at the Constitutional Convention was to call for prayer (which was heeded with 3 days of prayer and fasting).
So, did the least religious founding fathers misunderstand their own Constitution or have secular jurists twisted it by their own Machiavellian instruments?
I may not be as conservative as I used to be but I do believe that our country is headed to the way of France, Germany and Canada i.e., secular socialism, largely based on an ignorant view of our Constitution and founding. God forgive us and have a happy 4th!