It is never easy or comfortable to stand up and advocate for Judeo-Christian principles in a postmodern culture and an era of clashing worldviews, especially when loved ones, friends, neighbors and coworkers hold an entirely different set of values and beliefs.
However, our reticence—often expressed by mere silence and the lack of initiative or response—has permitted political correctness to dominate the societal and legislative landscape, creating deep moral and spiritual wounds that are inflamed by even the slightest reference to anything sectarian. Acquiescing to well-funded and well-organized pressures to eliminate all religious conversation out of the national discourse, has nearly cost us our nation, our First Amendment rights and the next generation.
In 1854, Congress acknowledged, “The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.1 However, only a century and half later, many of the sacred truths found in God’s Word are now considered offensive. The Ten Commandments, which promote love and respect of others, are now being critically targeted as part of an archaic and outmoded faith, even detested in some circles.
Furthermore, adversarial groups are threatening to sue if our national motto, “In God We Trust,” is displayed in community schools or the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned in almost any government setting. Using the false narrative of maintaining a “separation of church and state,” these anti-religious zealots feign outrage and are absolutely adamant about removing all vestiges of God from the public square.
Being absent from the marketplace of ideas has unequivocally given way to a thoroughly secularized America. Yet, according to the American Religious Identification Survey2, 76% of Americans still identify themselves as Christians and a 2012 survey by the Pew Forum3 showed that 36% of the population attended services nearly every week or more. These numbers reflect the media’s relentless attempts to minimize and denigrate the spiritual vitality still evident in our country’s fabric. Why? Because the Church has refused to use her voice and the minority opinion has successfully dominated the national message in this arena.
Are you tired of the disparity? Sufficiently grieved by the distortion? Are you ready to be heard? Motivated to act? Are you committed to turning the tide? If you said, “Yes!” – good…this is the necessary first step.
Our Constitution resolutely and unashamedly fastens man’s law to God’s Law, thereby acknowledging and inherently adopting the moral code and natural laws that govern the universe. The Framers essentially incorporated the keys to preserving freedom individually and nationally, and in doing so, promoted that which maintains healthy rule and national prosperity. Scriptural principles, self-government and the balance of powers, were a few of the safeguards intended to protect against the inherent weaknesses of fallen mankind. Ongoing silence regarding these fundamental principles significantly jeopardizes the next generation from embracing the necessary elements for preserving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Great Experiment—the story of our founding as a free people in a representative republic established on Judeo-Christian values—has proven to be a success, but is in need of serious attention and action. So what is the solution? Countless political pundits, policy wonks, academic intellectuals and the media, relish every opportunity to describe people of conservative faith as unloving, hateful and intolerant. To be sure, we must own and define our own message—moderated with humble transparency, decency and common respect—but not weakly, poorly articulated or apologetically. It is time to recapture the passion and ethos that inspired and moved the early patriots.
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, the following sentiments were given by then Governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson:
“[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God . . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.4
And again from President Ronald Reagan:
“Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow.”5
I am thankful we still have the freedom to rise up and be heard. Thankful for those understand the power of prayer. Thankful we have the truth to stand on without shame and for God’s continued grace and mercy.
And I am especially thankful for each of you who so graciously give, pray and choose to be engaged at a time when it matters the most!
1Journal of the House of the Representatives of the United States of America (Washington, DC: Cornelius Wendell, 1855), 34th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 354, January 23, 1856; see also: Lorenzo D. Johnson, Chaplains of the General Government With Objections to their Employment Considered (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1856), p. 35, quoting from the House Journal, Wednesday, January 23, 1856, and B. F. Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), p. 328.
4The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Julian P. Boyd, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. 3, p. 178, Proclamation Appointing a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, November 11, 1779.