by Diane Rufino
Not long ago, a blogger wrote: “Recently, my Biology teacher threw a bible across the classroom! Not that I am a Christian, but that’s not how you treat other peoples religion. When we asked him why he did it, he said ‘That book is full of lies.’ Every time I’m in his class, he always talks about how there are many mistakes in the Bible. He’s always criticizing the Bible.”
What is it about Christianity that causes so many people to become deranged? Why do they it so much more than other religions?
Years ago, liberals suffered a similar type of derangement whenever President Bush was in the limelight. It was called the Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS). Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a perfect example. She couldn’t pass an opportunity to use the microphone, on any occasion, to call Bush names and criticize his every move. I remember one year, President Bush started his State of the Union Address by congratulating Pelosi on being the first woman Speaker of the House and graciously introducing her as a woman of integrity. She sat there, all smiles, taking in the moment and lavishing the praise he was giving her in front of the entire nation. Yet the minute the Address was concluded and Pelosi was able to get in front of a microphone, her demeanor changed, the rabies kicked in, and she let loose a vitriolic diatribe against Bush. I believe I saw saliva foaming at her mouth. The foaming was not always indicative of BDS, but we often saw it in members of the liberal media. Its goal was not necessarily to show that President Bush was bad for the country – because they never were able to make that case – but rather to show that he was bad for people’s mental health. At least that’s the way I saw it.
And now we have a similar syndrome – Christian Derangement Syndrome. Similarly, while their goal apparently is to show that Christians are bad for the country, they will never be able to make that case. In fact, the more they carry on, it’s much clearer that they are the ones that are harmful. Rather, their default goal is to show that Christians are bad for the mental health of non-believers.
A teacher at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, California, was accused of violating the Establishment Clause by repeatedly making statements critical and derogatory of religion in his AP European History class. For example, he told his class: “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”
He also said: “Aristotle was a physicist. … He argued that there has to be a God. Of course that’s nonsense.” And he made this comment, among many others: “The people who want to make the argument that God did it, there is as much evidence that God did it as there is that there is a giant spaghetti monster living behind the moon.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the teacher was using appropriate critical thinking skills to teach his students. I imagine that if it were the other way around, and the teacher had been praising God, the Ninth Circuit would have held that there was an improper establishment of religion.
A kindergarten teacher in New Jersey saw the name “Jesus” on a Thanksgiving poster made by one of her students and instantly removed it from a display she made of the class posters out in the hall. God forbid someone should walk by and see that name!! In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, the teacher asked the students to make posters depicting what they were “thankful for.” The child at issue wanted to thank Jesus. The child was 5 years old. It was a kindergarten hallway. Imagine the confusion the child suffered, being taught one thing at home and in church but being punished for it by her teacher.
And then there’s the personal, one-man crusade led by rabid atheist Michael Newdow. He is the man who went to court to try to stop children from being able to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school because it includes the offensive phrase “Under God.” He alleged that the words “under God” in the pledge amounted to an establishment of religion, in violation of the First Amendment. He brought the case on behalf of his 9-year-old daughter who he didn’t even have custody of. He also brought the case in spite of the fact that the girl herself wanted to continue saying the pledge and didn’t want the lawsuit filed. The district court held the pledge was constitutional but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 vote, reversed the decision and held that recitation of the pledge with the words “under God” in the school system violated the Establishment Clause. To celebrate the decision by the Court of Appeals, Time Magazine did a story on Newdow and made him their “Person of the Week.”
[The case eventually reached the US Supreme Court in 2004. The Court held that Michael Newdow didn’t have standing to bring the case in the first place, so the pledge was affirmed].
A little over fifty years ago, in 1954, when the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance by Congress, the vote was unanimous. The decision to insert the words “under God” was made “to recognize a Supreme Being” and advance religion at a time “when the government was publicly fighting against atheistic communism.” Furthermore, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the act which added the phrase “under God,” he announced: “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty.”
In light of this bit of history and Congressional intent, it took a lot of arrogance for a federal judge to rule it was unconstitutional. The pledge is symbolic; it is not a prayer and never intended to be. It just goes to show how messed up our legal system has become.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a short statement of patriotic recognition for what this country stands for. The words hold much meaning, particularly to those who have learned and who appreciate our history. There are many commentaries attesting to the meaning of the pledge, but one that has always stuck with me is the video by a real comedian, Red Skelton. I still have this video on my computer, where I watch it from time to time. On his television program many many years ago, he told the story of one of his teachers, Mr. Laswell, who felt the students didn’t have a proper appreciation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Skelton recited this story of Mr. Laswell: “He said to the class: “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, I would like to recite it to you and explain the meaning of each word:
I — me, an individual, a committee of one.
PLEDGE — dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.
ALLEGIANCE — my love and my devotion.
TO THE FLAG — our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there’s respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody’s job!
UNITED — that means that we have all come together.
STATES — individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.
AND TO THE REPUBLIC — a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION — one nation, meaning “so blessed by God”
INDIVISIBLE — incapable of being divided.
WITH LIBERTY — which is freedom — the right of power to live one’s own life without threats, fear or some sort of retaliation.
AND JUSTICE — the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
FOR ALL — which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.”
Skelton went on to explain that since the time he was a small boy and had Mr. Laswell as a teacher, “two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance… UNDER GOD.”
He asked his audience: “Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too?” (The Red Skelton Show aired in the 60′s and into the early 70′s; In that last question, he was noting that prayer itself had already been removed from schools)
Well, Michael Newdow indeed tried to argue before the Supreme Court that the pledge was a prayer. And he nearly got away with it.
But Newdow wasn’t done trying to dismantle traditional national institutions recognizing our Christian heritage. He tried to stop the invocation prayer at President George Bush’s inaugural in 2005. Clearly the obsessive desire he has to root out all mention of “God” and wipe out all prayer has caused him to become deranged. If he’s not in an institution somewhere, then I’m sure he plotting his next lawsuit. Such contempt and disrespect he has to the overwhelming number of Americans who believe in God and understand the role religion has played in our history and continues to play in the guidance of proper moral and social values.
Recent surveys show that almost 85% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Less than 2% are atheists or agnostics.
Almost 60% of Americans think that Intelligent Design should be taught in the public school system as an alternative to Darwin’s Theory to discuss the origin and diversity of species on Earth. They believe that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher being with a purpose. But organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Education Association would never allow that to happen because they can’t seem get past the association of Intelligent Design with a Higher Power or God. Heaven forbid.
Aside from the outright attacks against Christianity we hear about in the news – the legal battles to remove or hide crosses, stop prayers, remove the name “Jesus Christ,” whitewash our national Christian heritage – there are the more insidious kinds… the ones that take the form of subtle propaganda, such as the messages put out by department stores, corporations, and other businesses. Remember the days when companies held fun Christmas parties for their employees? Remember enjoying a Christmas tree in your company’s atrium or even in your department? Now, such parties either have been done away with or have been replaced with a “Happy Holidays” and the tree is now called a “holiday tree.” Why aren’t these big companies concerned about how Christians feel about the substitution of “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas?” Why aren’t department stores concerned that Christians might not shop their stores? Maybe it’s time that they hear from Christians and feel their economic wrath.
Recently, the attacks have gotten personal, and in my opinion, ugly and hateful. They have certainly gone beyond any realm of decent behavior. Rick Santorum, a man who takes his faith seriously and lives by its tenets, including making the loving decision to have and raise a child born with a potential life-threatening disability, has been ridiculed up and down about his religious stance. Reporter Reza Aslan compared Santorum to the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and wrote: “One is a religious fanatic railing against secularism, the role of women in the workplace, and the evils of higher education, as he seeks to impose his draconian moral values upon the state. The other is the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who praises Jesus after interviews or goes on bended knee after a touchdown as a tribute to God, is apparently the new “polarizing figure in sports” because of his squeaky clean image, his bubbly personality, and his courage to wear his faith on his sleeve. He doesn’t carry a gun, he hasn’t used one at a night club, he hasn’t killed anyone, he hasn’t assaulted anyone or beat up his wife/girlfriend, he hasn’t raped anyone, he doesn’t use drugs or hasn’t been arrested for possession, he didn’t kill dogs, or hasn’t run over innocent pedestrians while driving drunk. But it is Tebow who brings out hatred in people and encourages their foul insults. Again, it’s the Christian Derangement Syndrome (CDS). Megan Kelly of FOX News made a noteworthy comment: “I have a feeling that the people who don’t like Tim Tebow doing it wouldn’t have a problem in our hyper-sensitive world if a Muslim did it.” And we all know this is true.
The view of many atheists is that belief in God is a form of stupidity, which often leads to a diatribe of how they supremely intelligent they are.
The Huffington Post published an article on February 24, 2012 which not only amounted to a gross personal attack on Santorum for being a Catholic, but proceeded to use the most vile and derogatory terms to characterize that religion and its practices. The author said the Catholic Church is the tactical arm of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, the ritual of communion is nothing more than a fake spell cast over wafers and wine so parishioners can partake in a “cannabalistic reverie,” and the Pope is too pre-occupied with “vaginas and anuses.” If such lewd terms had been used against Muslims, there would be such an outburst of violence, that Obama would be apologizing up and down and side to side in an effort to control it.
Ironically, the Huffington Post wrote the following in an article only seven months earlier: “The issue of freedom of speech and the rights of hate groups is not new in American history. Even today, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic organizations are allowed to express their disdain for certain ethnic and religious groups, regardless of how distasteful their ideologies may be.” They neglected to include their own organization with those hate groups.
Freedom of religion is the ability to live your life based upon your religious teachings. Our Founding colonists came here to America’s shores to escape the persecution that came from believing in religious tenets that differed from what the Church of England dictated. Our Founding Fathers and framers of our government compacts (constitutions, both federal and state) sought to protect the right of religious liberty.
The strict purpose of the establishment clause of the First Amendment was never to require a strict neutrality between religion and non-religion. It was designed to prohibit Congress from establishing a national church, from designating a particular faith. As a matter of history, the First Amendment was adopted solely as a limitation upon the newly created federal government. The Establishment Clause was not designed to interfere with existing state establishments. In fact, each State was left free to go its own way and pursue its own policy with respect to religion. It was never intended for a “one-size fits all” approach for each state. This was evidenced by provisions in state constitutions which were often very different from the US Constitution. For example, Massachusetts had an established church until well into the nineteenth century. Virginia, on the other hand, had always pursued a policy of disestablishmentarianism – a separation of politics and religion.
And that’s pretty much how matters stood until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment which was a complete game-changer for this country. The amendment, inspired by the need to protect the civil rights of newly-emancipated slaves, quickly became a tool for the federal government to regulate and assimilate the States into a nationalized union rather than a federal union. Rep. John Bingham (of Ohio), who proposed the Amendment on January 12, 1866, offered this explanation (in 1871): “The Fourteenth Amendment, it is believed, did not add to the privileges or immunities before mentioned, but was deemed necessary for their enforcement as an express limitation upon the powers of the States. It had been judicially determined that the first eight articles of amendment of the Constitution were not limitations on the power of the States, and it was apprehended that the same might be held of the provision of the second section, fourth article. To remedy this defect of the Constitution, the express limitations upon the States contained in the first section of the fourteenth amendment, together with the grant of power in Congress to enforce them by legislation, were incorporated in the Constitution.” [House Report No. 22] Bingham also stated: “If the rebel States would make no denial of right to emancipated citizens no [Fourteenth] Amendment would be needed. But they will make denial.” [P. A. Madison, “Historical Analysis of the Meaning of the 14th Amendment’s First Section”] Many believe that the Amendment was intended to give legal effect to the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which was designed to put an end to the criminal black codes established under former rebel States that at the time were being administered under policies of President Andrew Johnson.
In 1940, in a case known as Cantwell v. Connecticut in 1940, the Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment was broad enough to bring the First Amendment’s religious prohibitions upon the States . In that case the Court said: “The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws.” It reached this interpretation despite the intention of the Fourteenth Amendment and despite the very words of the Supreme Court in South Carolina v. United States (1905) – “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when adopted, it means now.”
The question to ask, under the 14th Amendment is this: “Is the Establishment Clause one of the fundamental rights growing out of citizenship of the United States, and therefore applicable to the States such that black citizens cannot be denied such a right?” (as per the “Due Process” clause of the 14th Amendment) The right in the Establishment Clause is the right not to have the US Congress impose a national religion. Hence this right should have never been imputed to the States because it was clearly written and intended as a federal prohibition only.
Today, Americans are more incompetent than ever in truly understanding what their Constitution provides and why it was designed as it was. There are still too many who don’t understand the intent of the First Amendment and don’t realize that our Founders and the ratifying States chose their words carefully when they drafted the particular amendments which became the Bill of Rights. “The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary, as distinguished from technical meaning; where the intention is clear, there is no room for construction, and no excuse for interpolation or addition.” (The Supreme Court in Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824). Americans believe blindly in the “Wall of Separation,” which appears nowhere in the Constitution. They’ve heard it so often by liberals in the media and probably from their own liberal teachers and professors that it has become engrained in their vocabulary and their understanding, just like the terms “global warming” and “sustainable living” are becoming the catch phrases for government regulation and controlled development. They believe the “Wall” is an imaginary, high, impenetrable wall mandated by the government (endorsed enthusiastically by the courts) that requires a complete disconnect between itself and religion. But from the moment that horrible phrase entered constitutional jurisprudence and became law and defined the new intent of our First Amendment, it re-wired our collective national understanding and initiated the outward hostility to our founding religion has crept into our historically-Christian nation. [Everson v. Board of Education (1947)]. In reality the hostility preceded that decision, and in fact, it was for that very reason that Thomas Jefferson’s statement in a personal letter to the Danbury Baptists about a “wall of separation between Church and State” was twisted and misinterpreted. The Supreme Court justice who delivered the decision and wrote the opinion, Justice Hugo Black, was a ranking KKK official who promoted “the Separation of Church in State” for the express purpose of keeping the influence of Christians OUT OF GOVERNMENT.
In his book Persecution, David Limbaugh wrote: “Anti-Christian discrimination occurs in a variety of contexts throughout our culture, from the public sector to the private sector, in the mainstream media and in Hollywood, in the public education system and in our universities. Often the discrimination comes from activist judges misinterpreting the law (the hostility to Christian religious freedom infects our judiciary as much as anywhere else); other times it comes from entities misapplying the law. It also comes from what we call ‘political correctness.’ The discrimination mostly stems from a hostility to Christianity and from rampant disinformation in our society about what the Constitution actually requires in terms of the so-called ‘separation of church and state’.”
The Courts have not treated the first amendment right of religious freedom as kindly as they have treated the first amendment right of free speech, the latter of which is capable of greater alienation and offense. “Overall, the Court has been far more hospitable to free speech cases than to cases involving religious expression or exercise. In the speech area, the courts have taken a somewhat monolithic approach: protecting the speech no matter what the argument for censorship is. Everything from sexually explicit speech to hateful insults to flag-burning to offensive art to profanity is protected, all under the theory that the marketplace of ideas requires the most speech possible. Almost never do the courts look into what discomfort or antagonism the speech might cause, nor into how valuable the speech is for a democratic society. And yet, in Establishment Clause cases, judges justify their restricting of religious expression on any number of grounds, many of which relate to perceptions of the social divisiveness or alienation that religion might cause.” [Patrick Mr. Garry, “The Cultural Hostility to Religion”]
Our Founders proposed several different versions of the First Amendment before the final wording was settled upon. Looking at those earlier drafts, it is abundantly clear that our Founders, and especially the States to our federal compact (US Constitution) were not trying to prevent a complete separation of Church and State. They were intent on forbidding a national religion, as they had in England. In 1983, in the case of Jaffree v. Board of School Commissioners, Judge Brevard Hand quoted former Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story who clarified the original meaning of the First Amendment: “The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects (denominations) and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government.”
Our Founding Fathers certainly never envisioned that our government would become hostile to the very liberty that brought our early settlers here in the first place – the freedom to freely exercise one’s faith.
But Jefferson was suspicious. He was suspicious of a federal judiciary who would assume the power of being the final arbiter on the meaning of the Constitution. In a letter to Abigail Adams, he wrote: “Nothing in the Constitution has given them [the federal judges] the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.” He warned us to be suspicious of the federal judiciary who might twist the meaning of the right of religious freedom. On September 6, 1819, he wrote: “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” (America’s God and Country, p. 330). And that they certainly did.
Our history is rich in examples of how the Christian religion formed our foundation and the early great character of our nation. First and foremost, 52 out of 55 of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention were “orthodox, evangelical Christians.” These same gentlemen would go on to push for greater assurances of individual liberty – with a Bill of Rights. It is safe to assume that had our Founders not been such strong believers, if they had not possessed such servants’ hearts, we would not be blessed with the inspired documents that so strongly and profoundly form the foundation of our country.
Atheists like to point out that our Founders were deists, but the importance of religion in their lives, in their thinking, in the way they served their states and their country, and especially in the way they crafted our government and secured our rights are undeniable. Our nation is truly a Christian nation. Many of our most important Founding Fathers, including George Washington, were strong believers.
George Washington, our most devoted and selfless public servant, delivered one of the most important political speeches in our nation’s history when he offered a farewell address in 1796 and talked about the importance of religion. He said:
“I shall carry with me to my grave…… May heaven continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it… On an occasion like the present, I offer sentiments which are the result of much reflection and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you as the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel.
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? 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. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.”
An article about Washington’s faith appeared in an early newspaper called The National Tribune. It was a post-Civil War publication (forerunner to today’s Stars and Stripes magazine), published for the men and women in the armed forces), and intended as a forum for old soldiers to share their reminiscences. The article was entitled “George Washington’s Vision” at Valley Forge and described an eyewitness account by a soldier named Anthony Sherman of an direct encounter with General George Washington. Sherman was a soldier in the Continental Army and claimed to be at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. The article is as follows:
“The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the fourth of July, 1859, in Independence Square. He was then 99 years old, and becoming very feeble. But though so old, his dimming eyes rekindled as he gazed upon Independence Hall, which he had come to visit once more.
‘Let’s go into the hall,’ he said. ‘I want to tell you of an incident of Washington’s life — one which no one alive knows of except myself; and if you live, you will before long see it verified. Mark the prediction, you will see it verified.
From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, one time victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen the tears coursing down our dear commander’s careworn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington’s going into the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used to pray often in secret for aid and comfort. And God brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.
One day, I remember it well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly. He remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon, alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of an officer, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:
I do not know whether it is owing to the anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful being. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of the visit. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat the question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of the eyes.
But this time I felt strange sensations spreading over me. I would have risen but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to speak, but my tongue had become useless, as if paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my unknown visitor.
Gradually the surrounding atmosphere seemed to fill with sensations, and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor also becoming more airy and yet more distinct to my eyes than before. I began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined accompany death. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move. All were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly, vacantly at my companion.
Presently I heard a voice saying, ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn,’ while at the same time my visitor extended an arm EASTWARD. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange scene. Before me lay, spread out in one vast plain, all the countries of the world — Europe, Asia, Africa and America. I saw rolling and tossing between Europe and America the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific. ‘Son of the Republic,’ said the same mysterious voice as before, ‘Look and learn.’
At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing, or rather floating in midair, BETWEEN EUROPE AND AMERICA. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while with his left he cast some over Europe. Immediately a cloud arose from these countries, and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it seemed stationary, and then it moved slowly WESTWARD, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.
A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heavy billows it sank from view.
A third time I heard the mysterious visitor saying, ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn.’ I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was spotted with them. Again, I heard the mysterious voice say, ‘Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and listen.’
And this time the dark shadowy angel turned his face SOUTHWARD. From AFRICA I saw an ill-omened specter approach our land. It flitted slowly and heavily over every town and city of the latter. The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued looking I saw a bright angel on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced the word ‘Union.’ He was bearing the American flag. He placed the flag between the DIVIDED NATION and said, ‘Remember, ye are brethren.’
Instantly, the inhabitants, casting down their weapons, became friends once more and UNITED around the National Standard.
Again I heard the mysterious voice saying, ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn.’ At this the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia and Africa.
Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these continents arose thick black clouds that were soon joined into one. And through this mass there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men. These men, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country and burn the villages, towns and cities which I had seen springing up.
As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of sounds and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” When this voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast.
Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America. At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shone the word ‘Union,’ and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descended from the heavens attended by legions of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who I perceived were well-nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle.
Again, amid the fearful noise of the conflict I heard the mysterious voice saying, ‘Son of the Republic, look and learn.’ As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious.
Then once more, I beheld the villages, towns and cities springing up where I had seen them before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried with a loud voice: ‘While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.’ And taking from his brow the crown on which blazoned the word ‘Union,’ he placed it upon the standard while the people kneeling down said, ‘Amen.’
The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld. This also disappeared, and I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who in the same voice I had heard before, said, ‘Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted. THREE GREAT PERILS will come upon the Republic. THE MOST FEARFUL FOR HER IS THE THIRD. But the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic LEARN TO LIVE FOR HIS GOD, his land and Union.’ With these words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me the birth, the progress, and the destiny of the United States.
‘Such, my friends,’ the venerable narrator concluded, ‘were the words I heard from Washington’s own lips, and America will do well to profit by them.’”
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), the French statesman and historian who spent time in America studying why its political system was successful and wrote his observations and conclusions in his famous book, Democracy in America. He described the relationship between character and society in America, but noted that it was the religious aspect of our country that first caught his attention. He wrote: “Religion in America…. must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country.”
De Tocqueville also wrote:
“I have known of societies formed by the Americans to send out ministers of the Gospel into the new Western States to found schools and churches there, lest religion should be suffered to die away in those remote settlements, and the rising States be less fitted to enjoy free institutions than the people from which they emanated. I met with wealthy New Englanders who abandoned the country in which they were born in order to lay the foundations of Christianity and of freedom on the banks of the Missouri, or in the prairies of Illinois. Thus religious zeal is perpetually stimulated in the United States by the duties of patriotism. These men do not act from an exclusive consideration of the promises of a future life; eternity is only one motive of their devotion to the cause; and if you converse with these missionaries of Christian civilization, you will be surprised to find how much value they set upon the goods of this world, and that you meet with a politician where you expected to find a priest. They will tell you that ‘all the American republics are collectively involved with each other; if the republics of the West were to fall into anarchy, or to be mastered by a despot, the republican institutions which now flourish upon the shores of the Atlantic Ocean would be in great peril. It is, therefore, our interest that the new States should be religious, in order to maintain our liberties.’
Such are the opinions of the Americans, and if any hold that the religious spirit which I admire is the very thing most amiss in America, and that the only element wanting to the freedom and happiness of the human race is to believe in some blind cosmogony, or to assert with Cabanis the secretion of thought by the brain, I can only reply that those who hold this language have never been in America, and that they have never seen a religious or a free nation. When they return from their expedition, we shall hear what they have to say. [Democracy in America, Vol, 1, pp. 311-312]
Patrick Henry wrote: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians.”
Thomas Jefferson, not one to discuss his particular religious beliefs with others, sent a letter to Benjamin Rush on April 1803 in which he wrote: “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other.”
He wrote the following to Thomas Pickering in 1827: “[With respect to] the pure and simple doctrines he (Jesus) inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily his disciples. It is my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian. I do not know that you and I may think alike on all points… As the Creator has made no two faces alike, so no two minds, and probably no two creeds, we well know that there are shades of differences. There may be peculiarities in your creed and in mine and they are honestly formed without doubt. I do not wish to trouble the world with mine, nor to be troubled for them. These matters are to be settled only with Him who made us; and to Him we leave it, with charity for all others, of whom also he is the only rightful and competent judge. I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the Unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.”
Thomas Jefferson was so pleased that he had helped to secure religious freedom in our new nation, that he specifically wanted that title to be listed on his epitaph. His epitaph reads: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.” It was Jefferson’s wish that his tomb stone reflect the things that he had given the people, and not the things that the people had given to him.
Joseph Story, a member of the Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845, and during much of that time also a professor at Harvard Law School, published by far the most comprehensive treatise on the US Constitution. Volume 2 of Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (5th ed. 1891; pp. 630-632) discussed the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment this way: “Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it now under consideration [First Amendment], the general if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.”
Thomas Cooley, who was as renown a legal school as Joseph Story, also wrote a treatise on the US Constitution, entitled Constitutional Limitations. In that treatise, he explained that aid to a particular religious sect was prohibited by the US Constitution, but he went on to say: “But while thus careful to establish, protect, and defend religious freedom and equality, the American constitutions contain no provisions which prohibit the authorities from such solemn recognition of a superintending Providence in public transactions and exercises as the general religious sentiment of mankind inspires, and as seems meet and proper in finite and dependent beings. Whatever may be the shades of religious belief, all must acknowledge the fitness of recognizing in important human affairs the superintending care and control of the Great Governor of the Universe, and of acknowledging with thanksgiving his boundless favors, or bowing in contrition when visited with the penalties of his broken laws. This public recognition of religious worship, however, is not based entirely, perhaps not even mainly, upon a sense of what is due to the Supreme Being himself as the author of all good and of all law; but the same reasons of state policy which induce the government to aid institutions of charity and seminaries of instruction will incline it also to foster religious worship and religious institutions, as conservators of the public morals and valuable, if not indispensable, assistants to the preservation of the public order…. No principle of constitutional law is violated when thanksgiving or fast days are appointed; when chaplains are designated for the army and navy; when legislative sessions are opened with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures, or when religious teaching is encouraged by a general exemption of the houses of religious worship from taxation for the support of State government. Undoubtedly the spirit of the Constitution will require, in all these cases, that care be taken to avoid discrimination in favor of or against any one religious denomination or sect; but the power to do any of these things does not become unconstitutional simply because of its susceptibility to abuse. . . .” (pp. 470- 471).
As presented in an article by Dee Wampler – “Never Hostile to Religion” (2005) – political science professors at the University of Houston collected all the writings from America’s founding era to see whom the Founders were quoting. Researchers assembled more than 15,000 writings. The project spanned 10 years, and by the end of their work, researchers isolated 3,154 direct quotes made by the Founders, and identified the sources of these quotes. The man most quoted was Baron de Montesquieu (8.3%). Sir William Blackstone was second (7.9%) and John Locke was third (2.9%)). Surprisingly, researchers discovered that the Founders quoted directly out of the Bible four times more often than they quoted Montesquieu, four times more than Blackstone, and 12 times more than John Locke. In all, 34% all the Founders’ quotes came directly out of the Bible.
Our Christian heritage was so firmly respected that in 1892, in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court declared: “No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. . . . This is a Christian nation.” The decision did not mean, however, that the Supreme Court was endorsing Christianity as the official religion because that would offend the very intention of the First Amendment. It was the heritage that the Court was acknowledging. The decision also read: “There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While because of a general recognition of this truth the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania.”
Other examples of our how Christianity impacted our founding , our view of government and society, and our culture include the following:
1. The Declaration of Independence reads, “All men . . . are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
2. When the US Congress met for the first time under the Constitution, in 1789, one of its very first actions was to appoint chaplains in both Houses.
3. On the day after the House of Representatives voted to adopt the form of the First Amendment Religion Clauses which was ultimately proposed and ratified, Rep. Elias Boudinot proposed a resolution asking President George Washington to issue a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, assigning a day of national thanksgiving. The wording was as follows: A proclamation should be issued such that “the President recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
4. President Washington then issued such a proclamation (similar to an Executive Order), assigning a day of national prayer and thanks to God. Congress made it an official national holiday in 1941. (See below for the official Presidential Proclamation)
5. Every president of the United States (with only one possible exception) has been administered the oath of office with his hand on the Bible, ending with the words “So help me God.”
6. The Supreme Court begins every proceeding with the ringing proclamation “God save the United States and this honorable Court.”
7. All currency bears our national motto, “In God we trust.”
8. The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag affirms that we are “one nation under God.” Congress would not allow a comma to be placed after the word nation, in order to reflect the basic idea that ours is a “nation founded on a belief in God.”
9. In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most liberal federal appeals court, has upheld the phrase “Under God” in the pledge. The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to hear any challenges to the phrase.
10. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., exhibits arts with religious messages, including The Sacrament of the Last Supper, The Birth of Christ, The Crucifixion, and The Resurrection, among many others with explicit Christian themes and messages.
11. Legislative prayers have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
12. Tax exemptions for church properties were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
13. Congress approves of federal grants for college buildings of church-sponsored institutions.
14. Engraved on the metal cap of the Washington Monument are the Latin words Laus Deo, which mean “Praise be to God.”
[including references to “Never Hostile to Religion,” Liberty Magazine]
In issuing his Presidential Proclamation to set aside a day of national thanksgiving, President George Washington wrote: ”Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”
Our Founding Fathers believed that religion has an important role in this country. They believed that good citizens derive moral guidance from the precepts of Christianity and that moral guidance was essential in the proper governing of society and the integrity of the republic. As John Adams declared: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Even ultra-liberal President Woodrow Wilson admitted that “America was born a Christian nation.”
The doctrine prohibiting government inhibition of religion can be traced through some significant U.S. Supreme Court cases. In 1984, Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger delivered the Supreme Court’s opinion in the case of Lynch v. Donnelly, which held that the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island did not violate the Constitution by displaying a Nativity scene. Noting that presidential orders and proclamations from Congress have designated Christmas as a national holiday in religious terms for two centuries and in the Western world for twenty centuries, he wrote: “There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life…The Constitution does not require a complete separation of Church and State. It affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions and forbids hostility towards any….Anything less would require the ‘callous indifference’ we have said was never intended by the Establishment Clause. Indeed, we have observed, such hostility would bring us into a war with our national tradition as embodied by the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion.”
In 1963, avowed and rabid atheist and hedonist, Madelyn Murray O’Hare, brought suit to challenge a Pennsylvania statute that called for the reading of ten verses from the Bible, “along with the pledge of allegiance,” to start every morning in the public schools. After reflecting on the Bible versions, students were then required to recite the Lord’s prayer. (The law permitted students to be excluded from these exercises by a written note from their parents to the school). It was that landmark case, School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, in which the Supreme Court effectively took religion out of public school. It struck down the statute as offending both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. But despite its damage, the Court wrote that some degree of religious acknowledgment – some religious exercises – must be allowed. “It is insisted that unless these religious exercises are permitted, a ‘religion of secularism’ is established in the schools. We agree of course that the State may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.” In other words, if religion is completely excluded, then the school will have effectively adopted a ‘secular’ position or “religion of secularism” (no religion), and that is as equally forbidden under the First Amendment as the endorsement of one religion over another. Although having the dubious distinction of removing religion from schools, Abington also stands for the principle that “opposing or showing hostility to religion” is the same as establishing a “religion of secularism” and “preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.” In 1968, in Epperson v. Arkansas the Court likewise held that “The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and non-religion” and “the State may not adopt programs or practices in its public schools or colleges which ‘aid or oppose’ any religion. This prohibition is absolute.” Consistent with this general principle and continuing to recognize it, the Court, in 1990, ruled that state action is impermissible when it “would demonstrate not neutrality but hostility toward religion.”
In 1985, William Rehnquist, then an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, sought to emphasize the Court’s error in Everson with its “Wall of Separation” rule. In Wallace v. Jaffree, he delivered the dissenting opinion and wrote: ” It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years. Thomas Jefferson was of course in France at the time the constitutional Amendments known as the Bill of Rights were passed by Congress and ratified by the States. His letter to the Danbury Baptist Association was a short note of courtesy, written 14 years after the Amendments were passed by Congress. He would seem to any detached observer as a less than ideal source of contemporary history as to the meaning of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.… There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation [between church and state] … The recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers…. Whether due to its lack of historical support or its practical unworkability, the Everson “wall” has proved all but useless as a guide to sound constitutional adjudication. It illustrates only too well the wisdom of Benjamin Cardozo’s observation that “metaphors in law are to be narrowly watched, for starting as devices to liberate thought, they end often by enslaving it.” Berkey v. Third Avenue R. Co. (1926). But the greatest injury of the “wall” notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights. The ‘crucible of litigation’ is well adapted to adjudicating factual disputes on the basis of testimony presented in court, but no amount of repetition of historical errors in judicial opinions can make the errors true. The ‘wall of separation between church and State’ is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”
He also wrote in that dissenting opinion: “In Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), the Court made the truly remarkable statement that the views of Madison and Jefferson, preceded by Roger Williams, came to be incorporated not only in the Federal Constitution but likewise in those of most of our States. On the basis of what evidence we have, this statement is demonstrably incorrect as a matter of history. And its repetition in varying forms in succeeding opinions of the Court can give it no more authority than it possesses as a matter of fact. Stare decisis (the policy of the courts to rely on preceding case law or “precedent”) may bind courts as to matters of law, but it cannot bind them a to matters of history. [Wallace v. Jaffree, pp. 2511-2512]
In other words, we are blindly following bad law. The Supreme Court, a branch of the federal government, has established law that is contrary to what our Founders devised, which was based on what the States themselves submitted and then ratified. The current hostility to religion is offensive to every Supreme Court decision, except perhaps the offensive decision in Everson.
How else do you characterize a federal court decision to ban the mere mention of Jesus Christ in a student presentation or a valedictorian address at a high school commencement ceremony because it might “do irreparable harm to some students and families.” What “irreparable harm” could come of hearing such a name? The only “irreparable harm” that could occur is the confusion and frustration a child may suffer when he or she is taught to believe, offer praise when appropriate, seek prayer when needed, and not be ashamed and yet the school system classifies all that as a bad thing. Why are the rights of atheists more important than Christians? Why, in the name of tolerance, can’t a Christian publicly acknowledge the spiritual aspect of his or her life that has had an impact on his/her achievement? Graduation is a personal achievement and I believe great latitude should be shown in one’s expression on that momentous occasion. After all, isn’t it the same tolerance that students nowadays are forced to show gays/ lesbians/ transgenders/ atheists/ ethnic minorities in their schools?
Why the growing hostility to a religion that provided so strong a foundation to the nation that has given us so much freedom and security? When did it become so hip and cool to openly criticize and denigrate Christians? Why did the federal courts turn their back on history and become complicit in the rejection and defamation of our most historically-relevant religion?
Is it the federal courts that have opened the door to the current wave of hostility to Christians which seems to be gaining momentum?
Jason Jackson noted the growing hostility to Christianity: “Its manifestations are seen in the advancement of moral decay, the dissemination of secularism, the reconstructionism of Christianity’s role in American history, and the demonizing of Christian values. Consequently, if you morally object to homosexuality, society labels you as a ‘homophobe’ and a bigot. If you advocate creationism, you are castigated as a back-woods, superstitious individual, who likely was abused at church camp. If you allude to the divine references in the Declaration of Independence, you are characterized as ignorant of the original intent.” If you strongly express your deeply-felt belief in our national religious heritage, then our own government potentially classifies you as a “rightwing extremist,” capable of radicalizing others and therefore posing a grave security risk to this country.
[See the Homeland Security Report, issued by Secretary Janet Napolitano on April 7, 2009 entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”]
So-called comedian Bill Maher, an outspoken atheist and pig, let loose a profane tweet about Tim Tebow on Christmas following the Denver Broncos’ loss to the Buffalo Bills. “Wow, Jesus just f—d #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,” he tweeted. Tebowing,” of course, is the term inspired by the quarterback, to mean getting down on one knee to pray in a crowd no matter what else is going on. Tebow’s conduct has been an easy target for ridicule, even inspiring a sketch on Saturday Night Live. He has even immortalized in song by some creative ESPN editors.
Maher, an unapologetic atheist, made a 2008 documentary called “Religulous,” which mocked organized religion. He also routinely jokes about religion on his show. If the tweet is any indication of his comedic talent, then it’s no wonder why no one thinks he’s funny or relevant. On the other hand, Tebow is not only a brilliant and endearing quarterback, but he has also written the top-selling religious book of the year, “Through My Eyes” (a memoir) and has been named the Most Desirable Celebrity Neighbor by Zillow (which asks “Which celebrity would you most like to have as your neighbor?”)
Tebow didn’t bother to respond to Maher’s tweet. Rather he posted: “Tough game today but what’s most important is being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone GB².”
GB2 is a phrase Tebow has made popular that means “God Bless + Go Broncos,” according to his official website.
But a week later, the morally-bankrupt Maher still couldn’t let go. He tweeted two photos of himself “Tebowing” (mimicking the prayer position that the beloved quarterback assumes on the football field). In one photo, he assumed the pose in a tree, and added the caption: “Treebowing.” He was yet another victim of the Christian Derangement Syndrome.
I’ve been writing about the growing hostility to religion for a few years now and it just keeps getting worse. But I believe an all-time low was hit when Dick Doyle wrote an intensely offensive piece for the Huffington Post which was published on February 24 (in the ‘Comedy’ section). The article was entitled “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum” and was an opportunity, under the guise of satire, to insult Christians and their religion.
In that article, Doyle opened the by saying that we “should take a look at Rick Santorum’s faith.” A real journalist would genuinely find a real story in that topic, linking it to his firm commitment to marriage and family, to the willingness to have a disabled child (rather than abort it), and to his firm belief in the sanctity of every life, including the unborn.
But that wasn’t Doyle’s particular direction. To him, those very traits must indicate that Santorum is brainwashed by some evil, religious cult. Why else would Doyle write: “Many of you will be shocked to learn what our possible future president believes, who he answers to, the bloody jihads his so-called church has carried on for centuries, and its current role as the tactical arm of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.”
Personally, I think that if we’re “taking a look” at anyone’s religion, I think it should be Obama’s.
Doyle continued to spew more vile, contemptible drivel: “Unlike Christians, Santorum and his fellow Roman Catholics participate in a barbaric ritual dating back two millennia, a “mass” in which a black-robed cleric casts a spell over some bread and wine, transfiguring it into the actual living flesh and blood of their Christ. Followers then line up to eat the Jesus meat and drink his holy blood in a cannibalistic reverie not often seen outside Cinemax…
Roman Catholics like Santorum take their orders from “the Pope,” a high priest who, they believe, chats with God. Santorum has made no secret of his plans to implement his leader’s dicta on allowed uses of vaginas and anuses, but has said little about what additional dogma he will be compelled to obey……. Santorum has also remained silent on his religious organization’s various reigns of terror, in which good protestants and others were tortured and killed in imaginatively grisly ways. Even more chilling is a possible connection between the Roman Catholic Church pedophile program and NAMBLA, which I discovered after conducting some research on the internet.”
But the coup de grace was in the way he wrapped up his “humor piece” – ”Need I remind you that only once in our great history has a Roman Catholic been elected president, and how tragically it ended?”
What was the purpose of that vile line? My initial reaction was that it was hate speech. As Mike Opelka of The Blaze said: ” Nothing says funny like the assassination of a President.”
By the way, Doyle was a writer for such brainy hits as Beavis & Butt-head and The Simpsons – shows that I didn’t and still don’t permit my children to watch because time should be spent on building one’s mind and becoming more cultured, and not learning to act and speak like an idiot.
The article generated a lot of outrage, as any decent person could imagine. And in an attempt to acknowledge the pain and insult he caused religious groups, Dick Doyle offered an apology…. NOT ! What he wrote was this: “Actually, I’m not sorry at all, but I suppose an explanation is in order. Last week, I wrote a piece with the somewhat provocative title ‘The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum.’ My criticism took the form of a ridiculously over-the-top broadside against Roman Catholicism, a demonstration of the type of vicious religious ignorance and intolerance I too often see coming from too many so-called Christians, especially Santorum. I won’t say that Catholics need to lighten up or learn to take a joke, because the piece wasn’t intended to be light-hearted or funny. It was satire, meaning… well, you can look that up… It’s traditional at this point for me to half-apologize, to say that I’m sorry if anybody was offended, but I really don’t mind if anybody was offended. I hope they will now think twice before they question the faith of progressive Christians, or Mormons or Muslims. I doubt they will.”
Oh, and it appears I must offer an apology. The writer’s name is Larry Doyle and not Dick Doyle. My bad. I guess I was confused because he acted like a Dick.
Needless to say, Catholics and others of faith are demanding that HuffPo editor Arianna Huffington issue an apology for allowing a column to be published on her website that “compares Catholics to pedophiles and attacks communion as a ‘barbaric ritual.’” In a letter drafted to Ms. Huffington, protesters accuse the website of being ‘complicit in bigotry.” The letter was signed by Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center; Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage; Brian Burch, president of Catholic Vote; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List; Richard Viguerie chairman of ConservativeHQ.com; and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Similarly, Catholics and others of faith should finally stand up and say: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it!” The only thing low-lives understand is being taken to task and being made to answer for their conduct. What makes people low-lives is their belief that they can play by a different set of rules than the rest of society and their arrogance in that belief.
It’s always open season for Christians. Those who claim to embrace diversity are inclusive of such varied groups as gays, lesbians, transgenders, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, atheists…. that is, everyone EXCEPT CHRISTIANS. And the very tolerance they demand from everyone for such groups as gays and lesbians and transgenders is the very tolerance they are incapable of showing to Christians. A 2005 CNS News poll showed that 64% of Americans believe that religion is under attack in this country. Those polled were selected at random. Furthermore, 80% of those who identified themselves as fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic Christians said they “are keenly aware” of such an attack, meaning that they feel it in their personal lives.
As Brian Koenig of The New American wrote: “Saying ‘Mexican’ rather than ‘Hispanic,’ asserting that the majority of welfare recipients are black, or suggesting that most terrorists are of Muslim descent are remarks often characterized as racist or derogatory. But associating Catholics with pedophiles and referring to communion as a “barbaric ritual” is, apparently, politically correct, at least, according to some standards.
The same people who criticized the planned burning of the Koran in Florida for its extreme insensitivity to Muslims seem to have no problem attacking the most fundamental tenets of Catholicism. Roman Catholic worship centers around the Eucharist – the ‘appearance’ of the body and blood of Christ through the transformation of bread and wine. To call Mass a “barbaric ritual” and “cannibalistic” moves beyond satire towards outright hatred. Doyle’s article reeks of utter disrespect and contempt.
Just imagine if Doyle had written his piece mocking the prophet Mohammed. In fact, I challenge him to do just that. Why doesn’t he use the same pair of balls he used to write his article attacking the Catholic Church to write an equally scathing critique of Islam.
Between Doyle and Maher, we just don’t see the “humor” in a vicious, vile, mal-intentioned attack on Catholics or Christians in general. Coming from an avowed atheist like Maher, there is no other way to take his remarks except with the contempt and hate they were inspired by. Everyone cries when their civil rights are violated. Courts had better start acknowledging that Christians have civil rights too. Christians may have thick skin, unlike other religious and racial groups, but they have rights just like everyone else.
Ben Witherington wrote: “Psalm 14 says: ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’ How foolish indeed to confidently deny the existence of a Being simply because one has not yet personally found Him or been found by Him. This is the very definition of a lost, and in the end, unintelligent and unwise creature, standing as he does against the backdraft of the posture and position of most of the most brilliant minds in all ages of history, and spitting into the prevailing wind.”
Atheists are in denial about God because they are, in fact, in denial about their own nature and condition. They don’t want to believe they are created in God’s image because they don’t want to acknowledge there are expectations and consequences for their lives.
Sadly, they don’t realize that had atheists founded this country and designed our foundation and drafted our founding documents, we would likely be just another failing democracy. It is only in a country as profoundly free and dedicated to individual liberty and equality that they could have hoped to have the power they hold today. And that power they hold is the power to destroy the very foundations and institutions which have made us strong and free.
There are clearly a lot of things happening in this country that indicate that we have increasing anarchy in this country. And for those who haven’t taken notice, the Obama administration and even members of Congress are reacting by giving the government greater powers to watch over us, investigate us, confiscate our property, and even detain and condemn us as “radicals” and “belligerents.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to equate the increasing immorality and anarchy with the decreasing emphasis we place on religion in our communities and in this country as a whole. As the country turns away from Christianity, and even begins to discriminate against Christians, we continue to pay an even greater price, including our very freedoms.
The fact is that there is an energized bigotry in this country, endorsed by our current administration, fueled by the left-wing media, taken advantage of by the very small minority of atheists in this country against the Catholic religion and its insistence on maintaining its tenets, its conscience, and its projects in order to teach and instill morality in our depraved society and to bring a little of God’s light into a dark, Godless world. The Huffington Post is taking advantage of this bigotry for all it’s worth.
Dee Wampler, ‘Never Hostile to Religion,” Liberty Magazine, July/August 2005. Referenced at: http://www.libertymagazine.org/index.php?id=1396
Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (5th ed.), 1891.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. I, 1831.
Patrick Mr. Garry, “The Cultural Hostility to Religion,” First Principles, (written: Spring 2005). Referenced at: http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=786&theme=home&page=1&loc=b&type=cttf
House Report No. 22 Summarizing the 14 & 15th Amendments (January 30, 1871). Referenced at: http://www.federalistblog.us/h-r-report-no-22-bingham/
P.A. Madison, “Historical Analysis of the Meaning of the 14th Amendment’s First Section,” Federalist Blog, Aug. 2, 2010. Referenced at: http://federalistblog.us/mt/articles/14th_dummy_guide.htm
Rehnquist’s Dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree (1985). Referenced at: http://www.belcherfoundation.org/wallace_v_jaffree_dissent.htm
Larry Doyle, “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,” Huffington Post, Feb. 24, 2012. Referenced at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-doyle/the-jesuseating-cult-of-r_b_1296358.html
John L. Esposito and Shiela B. Lalwani, ” Combating Religious Intolerance When Freedom of Speech Enables Hate Speech,” Huffington Post, July 7, 2011. Referenced at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-l-esposito/combating-religious-intol_b_890537.html
Mike Opelka, “Outrage After HuffPo Contributor Calls Catholics “Jesus Eaters,” The Blaze, Feb. 29, 2012. Referenced at: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/outrage-after-huffpo-contributor-calls-catholics-jesus-eaters/
Conservative Leaders Demand Apology from Huffington Over Anti-Catholic Column,” Fox News, Feb. 29, 2012. Referenced at: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/28/conservative-leaders-demand-apology-from-huffington-over-anti-catholic-column/?intcmp=trending
Brian Koenig, “Huffington Post Urged to Apologize For Anti-Catholic Hate Screed,” The New American, March 1, 2012. Referenced at: ttp://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/11044-huffington-post-urged-to-apologize-for-anti-catholic-hate-screed
David Limbaugh, Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity, Regnery Publishing (DC), 2003, p. ix-x
Jason Jackson, “Baseball, Apple Pie, and Persecution,” Christian Courier. Referenced at: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1219-baseball-apple-pie-and-persecution
“Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796,” Yale Law School Library. Referenced at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp
America’s Christian History: George Washington. Referenced at: http://www.whateveristrue.com/heritage/washington.htm
“Washington’s Vision,” Historic Valley Forge. Referenced at: http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/vision.html (also in the Library of Congress)
Jefferson’s Religious Beliefs,” Monticello. Referenced at: http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/jeffersons-religious-beliefs
Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S., 143 U.S. 457 (1892)
William J. Federer, ed., America’s God and Country, Fame Publishing Inc., 1996.
Virtue, Liberty, and Independence. (blog) http://liberty-virtue-independence.blogspot.com/2009/09/seperation-examination-of-record.html [The purpose of this blog is to inform readers of the profound positive influence of Christianity upon history, culture, and American heritage]
Nando Di Fino, “Bernie Goldberg Turns Tebow Discussion Into Soapbox On Religion….” December 14, 2011. Referenced at: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bernie-goldberg-turns-tebow-discussion-into-soapbox-on-religion-ridiculous-to-think-the-earth-is-6000-years-old%E2%80%99/
Reza Aslan, “Grand Ayatollah or Grand Old Party?,” Foreign Policy, February 29, 2012. Referenced at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/29/grand_ayatollah_or_grand_old_party
Cantwell v. Connecticut, 60 U.S. 900 (1940)
South Carolina v. United States, 26 U.S. 110 (1905). [quote found on pg. 111]
Jaffree v. Board of School Commissioners, 459 U.S. 1314 (1983).
Abington School District v. Schempp, 83 U.S. 1560 (1963)
Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984).
School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225 (1963)
Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968).
Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982).
Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990).
Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security Report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current
Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” April 7, 2009. Referenced at: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf
Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1968). [Anyone wishing an in-depth look at the discussions attending the First Amendment’s religious rights and the intent behind them should read Justice William Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion]
Casey Luskin, “No, Ninth Circuit, the Relevant Law in C.F. v. Capistrano Unified School District Was Indeed “Clearly Established,” Evolution News, Oct. 20, 2011. Referenced at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/10/no_ninth_circuit_the_relevant_052081.html
“Atheist Michael Newdow: Attacks on Christianity,” Radio Broadcast of November 27, 2005. Referenced at: http://www.jonsquillministries.org/MEAntiC16.htm
Ben Witherington, ” Angry Apostles of Atheism Attack,” January 11, 2008. Referenced at: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/01/angry-apostles-of-atheism-attack.html
Newdow v. U.S. Congress, 292 F.3d 597 (9th Cir.2002) – also listed as 328 F.3d 00-16423, 466 (9th cir. 2003). [This lawsuit was originally filed in 2000 by Michael Newdow on behalf of his daughter. He said that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The district court held that the pledge was constitutional. The decision was appealed and led to a 2002 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are an endorsement of religion and therefore violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The mother of the child at issue, Michael Newdow’s ex-wife, then filed suit to challenge the decision and the case then went to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1 (2004).
On June 14, 2004, the Supreme Court held Michael Newdow, as a non-custodial parent, did not have standing to bring the suit on his daughter’s behalf. The mother was previously given sole custody of the daughter. The Ninth Circuit’s decision was thus reversed as a matter of procedural law].