Ladies and Gentlemen:
Since the birth of our exceptional nation, religious freedom has been an integral part of our national character and identity. Unfortunately, vigorous attacks on this liberty have become commonplace. Without autonomy to worship according to the dictates of ones’ own conscience, we lie on perilous ground, next to spiritual wolves, to be had for dinner.
In 1789, while speaking to the Quaker Sparks Society, George Washington articulated our natural, God given right to religious liberty:
“The liberty enjoyed by the people of these [United] states of worshiping Almighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.”
Our paper money and coinage have the phrase “In God We Trust.” Most, if not all individual state senates and Houses of Representatives along with both federal chambers, have chaplains. These chaplains seek daily guidance and approbation from Deity for government work to be undertaken and accomplished that day.
The United States Supreme Court has humbly burnt into its institutional memory the indispensable assistance of Almighty God. The Marshall of the Supreme Court declares, before the start of all calendared sessions of oral argument, the phrase “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”
In the high court case of Marsh v. Chambers in 1983, the issue was whether the Nebraska Legislature’s chaplaincy practice violated the establishment clause. The answer was no, it did not violate the establishment clause.
Chief Justice Warren Burger authored this 6-3 opinion for the majority. It said, in part:
“The practice of opening sessions of Congress with prayer has continued without interruption for almost 200 years, ever since the First Congress drafted the First Amendment, and a similar practice has been followed for more than a century in Nebraska and many other states. While historical patterns, standing alone, cannot justify contemporary violations of constitutional guarantees, historical evidence in the context of this case, sheds light not only on what the drafters of the First Amendment intended the Establishment Clause to mean, but also on how they thought that Clause applied to the chaplaincy practice authorized by the First Congress.” Chaplaincy “had become part of the fabric of society“, held the Burger court.
In his book “The 5000 Year Leap”, Dr. W. Cleon Skousen lists twenty eight principles, which our Founding Fathers supported, to govern our nation properly. Principle number four states:
“Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained”.
George Washington has testified of this principle:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
What does this mean? Washington seems to be saying that religion and morality are “indispensible supports” to the prosperity of the United States of America. Without the two pillars of religion and morality, the nation would fall apart. Our nation would crumble because of our lack of humility before God and obedience to Him. We must remain a virtuous people and, hence, elect virtuous leaders.
Washington warns us in the second part of that phrase “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.” What does that mean?
Have you ever heard of someone saying: “I can be moral without being religious?” Why is that an untrue statement? It is an untrue statement because morality is rooted in religion and its practice. Morality grows out of religion. Morality is not an independent “feature” that stands alone. It is naturally inter-dependent, with religion being its father.
Without religion and belief in a higher power one remains constantly confused on how to act when faced with moral choices. The recognition that certain choices are moral ones, may not even be cognizable to some individuals.
Imagine being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine; not knowing where to stand on any moral issue; having no guidance from God; spiritually lacking, perhaps even empty. That would be horrible. One may do financially well in life, and that’s great, but, concerning the things which matter most, if there is no oil in the lamp, it availeth you nothing.
I eagerly recommend the purchase of “The 5000 Year Leap” book by Dr. Skousen. It’s an easy read that simply explains the Constitution of our land through twenty eight principles endorsed by our raised up founding fathers.
May we be wise enough to recognize the proper role all of us play in keeping this exceptional nation strong. May God bless each of us with the courage to proceed with our unique contributions to the cause of God inspired freedom and religious liberty.