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Monday, July 22, 2013
The editorial page of The Roanoke Times on June 28 contained an opinion from Bob Crawford titled, “Prayer has no place in government.” I assume this was his opinion. He wrote from the point of view of the Supreme Court, concerning prayer in the public schools, which was a faulty opinion.
The court based its opinion on Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. That letter is not a part of the Constitution. Jefferson was not a member of the Constitutional Convention. He was ambassador to France at the time, not in the country, nor was he a part of the discussion concerning the First Amendment. The Bill of Rights was written by James Madison.
The Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to discuss removing the colonies from English rule. The Declaration of Independence, penned by Jefferson, was the result of that convening of patriots.
It is difficult to believe these representatives voted against their own best interest, since several were ministers of the gospel, and all but a very few were Christians. Only 1.9 percent were Unitarian. The remainder were Christian of various denominations.
Benjamin Franklin, a Pennsylvanian, said to a deadlocked convention, “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?”
He proposed the members have prayer and meditation on the subject of rebellion. If it was the opinion of the Founding Fathers to form anything other than a Christian nation, they would have voted against their own conviction.
All of the original 13 colonies were founded by people of various denominations of the Christian faith. Virginia was an Anglican colony. Others were founded by Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and by Congregationalists. Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers.
All the colonies had official denominations. The forming of the union of the colonies required they each accept the Christian denominations of other colonies. The original colonies became states, and every state thereafter adopted a constitution as well as the Constitution of the nation. They all call upon the blessings of God.
Bruton Parish in Williamsburg was the church where the Virginians who were part of the Continental Congress worshiped. If you go there, you will see the nameplates of Jefferson and George Washington. They were regular attendees, along with George Wythe.
Washington, after his first inauguration in New York City, led members of his Cabinet and Congress to St. Paul’s Chapel for worship and prayer. There have been chaplains in Congress as long as there has been a Congress. In fact, the Capitol was used for worship in the early years. These things do not speak of separation of church and state, nor of excluding prayer as part of official functions.
In my youth, I remember President Franklin Roosevelt on the radio leading the nation in prayer at the beginning of World War II. He also prayed on the radio on D-Day when the allies invaded France.
There are many events since that time that have brought the government to seek prayer for the outcome. After the twin towers were destroyed, killing thousands of people, President Bush went to the National Cathedral to hold a religious service and pray for our country. If the government can call on Christians to pray during crisis, is it not just as logical that local, state and national government should seek God to help us make sound decisions to avoid crises?
Crawford, in his commentary, spoke of the Supreme Court making an error in deciding slaves were property and had no rights. I readily agree with his opinion. A later court reversed that decision.
Based on the flimsy reasoning concerning the separation of church and state, I hope some day a new group of justices will also reverse that decision. All one has to do is look at how morals have declined to see the results of that decision.
It is obvious our humanistic approach to government has not solved the moral issues that have been foisted upon us.
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