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Fw: [church-of-christ] Bulletin article

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  • Charles Weston
    Robert, I thought you might be interested in this post I sent to the group that won t let you in.   I just get really tired of hearing that the Founding
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2013
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      I thought you might be interested in this post I sent to the group that won't let you in.  

      I just get really tired of hearing that the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be "A Christian Nation."

      A happy and safe 4th to all!

      Charles W.

      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Charles Weston <sanantonioriverman@...>
      To: "church-of-christ@yahoogroups.com" <church-of-christ@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 5:51 PM
      Subject: Re: [church-of-christ] Bulletin article

      Interesting, Brother Greene, that you would consider Anglicans, Puritans, and Congregationalists as Christians.
      I'll be waiting for the examination of the facts as you hinted at in your fourth paragraph.

      Meanwhile, Wikipedia reports that Benjamin Franklin was a "Christian" deist, influenced by the Enlightenment, and was tolerant of other religions, thus helping to "create a new type of nation that would draw strength from its religious pluralism," as biographer Walter Isaacson put it.

      According once again to Wikipedia,  Jefferson's religious views don't much seem to be particularly Christian either:  "The religious views of Thomas Jefferson [even] diverged widely from the orthodox Christianity of his day."   While Jefferson did believe in a deistic God, he  did not believe in the divinity of Jesus.  He put together his own New Testament, cutting out the parts he disagreed with.  In his Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson wrote "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  Jefferson authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, enacted in 1786, which reads in part "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." (Emphasis added.)  It was also Jefferson who gave us the well known phrase "wall of separation between church and state."

      If you've stuck with me this far, you might be surprised to find that several states actually had established religions.  Just a couple of examples:  Congregationalism was the official religion of Connecticut until 1818; in Virginia it was Church of England (Episcopal after 1776) until 1786, thanks to that troublemaker Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature.  If you'd like to make a case that the Episcopal Church fits any but the broadest definition of "Christian," then please got right ahead.

      Oh, and by the way, King George III also thought he had a God-given right to his monarchy. 

      Charles Weston

      From: Mike Greene <mgreene@...>
      To: church-of-christ@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 10:18 AM
      Subject: [church-of-christ] Bulletin article

      Here is an article I wrote for the Sunday bulletin. Just thought some might find some value in it.
      Mike Greene
      A Secular Nation or One Nation Under God?
      Michael D. Greene, minister
      Lehman Avenue church of Christ
      Bowling Green, Kentucky
                  For some folks, nothing could be contemplated that would be more boring than reading or studying history. That is not the case for me. I enjoy reading history. It is fascinating to read and understand how people in the past lived their lives and dealt with the problems they faced. To know history is to know ourselves, because we are where we are and what we are due to the events and people that make up our own history.
                There is no more exciting story of history than the story of the founding of the United States of America. July 4th of every year gives us the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of our country as 56 men declared “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 Declaration of Independence concludes with this powerful pledge “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” And so the path was chosen for the British colonies to become a free and independent nation. But it was not to be an easy path. The story of their struggles and the fortunes they sacrificed is one that all citizens should be familiar with.
                But all too often, revisionist historians have neglected to tell the story of what those 56 men and many others sacrificed to give us the land of the free and the home of the brave. Of particular concern is the revisionist purpose to convince modern Americans that these men set out to establish a purely secular society, devoid of any religious influence or presence. We learn such is not the case when the facts are examined. When they are, it becomes clear these were men who believed in God and regarded themselves as Christians who sought the will of God in their lives and the life of the country they were hoping to establish.
                The case can almost be made by a casual examination of the above two quotes from the founding document signed by such founding fathers as Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin and others. These men signed their names and pledged all they had and their sacred honor in support of a document that declared the rights for which they were willing to fight and die came from their Creator. This was self-evident. No argument needed to establish these self-evident truths. Would these men so pledge if they did not believe in a Creator?
                They concluded their declaration by signing their names to a plea for protection by divine Providence. Many have claimed these men were Deists. A Deist believes in a Supreme being, but the god of the Deist is a god who is uninvolved in the world he created. The classic description of the god of the Deist is of a god who created the world and then left it to its own devices. He is likened to a clockmaker who would wind up a clock and then leave it to run down without further concern. But if these men believed that,  why  look to  this Creator who grants the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to guard those rights or protect those who sought them through His providence? The god of the Deist would have no interest in so doing. But the God of the Bible is a God who is seen in the scriptures as a God who is providentially involved in the lives of His people.
                Even more telling are the words of some of the founders themselves. John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, and sixth president of the United States said the following in speeches celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American Union and of its constituent states were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians...They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct…” (1821)
                “The Declaration of Independence cast off the shackles of this (British) dependency. The United States of America were no longer colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians.” (1837)
                In 1892, in a decision in the case “Church of the Holy Trinity verses the United States,” the Supreme Court of the United States made the following statement: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation…”
                Finally, consider the words of our first and arguably our greatest President, George Washington, in his famous farewell address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which led to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports...And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”
                A secular nation devoid of religious influence where God is not welcome in its hallowed halls or public places? When we examine a few facts we can easily see such a conviction is not consistent with the facts of history. Let us pray that our great nation will once again find its roots and again draw from them the  strength that made it the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

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