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A RELIGIOUS ASSUMPTION
In America, unlike any other country of the time, the Founders envisioned a land where people of all faiths could worship God without fear of persecution. The freedom to worship would, in turn, cultivate the piety and virtue necessary for the success of self-government. Washington noted that it would be folly to believe that national morality could be sustained without the support and guidance of religion. And although the Founders provided the widest scope for religious liberty, they presupposed that the principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition would be enshrined in the hearts of all citizens. These religious principles, Benjamin Rush argued, should be encouraged for they ďpromote the happiness of society and the safety and well being of civil government.Ē
SOURCE: William J. Bennett. Our Sacred Honor: The Spirit of America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
British statesman Edmund Burke argued, "men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."
Imprimis, Vol. 20, No. 9.
"A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one."
- Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty (1520)
A NATIONAL PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer.
The controversy didnít end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wrightís prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest.
Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Hereís what he prayed:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but thatís exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it a choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighborís possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air...
"Loose yourself from the knots of your past" B.C. King
Teachers Commentary notes this about Galatians 3
In Galatians we have Paulís first powerful defense of the Gospel. Some from the Pharisee party in Judea who had trusted Christ apparently retained their zeal for the Mosaic Law. They traveled to the churches Paul had founded, and taught that the Gentile Christians must be circumcised and must keep the Law of Moses to be saved. In essence, they said that to be a true Christian a Gentile must become Jewish in lifestyle, and live by the Old Testamentís code.
Paul confronted this view, insisting that what these men taught was a different gospel from the Gospel of Godís grace in Jesus Christ. Paul insisted that there can be no mixture of Law and grace in the Gospel of Christ without robbing the Gospel of its power.
Now, in the extended and carefully argued bulk of Galatians, Paul explained why the Law is not for Christians now. Paulís argument emphasized three points:
a. The Law is opposed to life (3:1-18).
b. The role given Law in Scripture is a limited one (3:19Ė4:7).
c. The Law is an inferior path which leads to spiritual disasters (4:8Ė5:12).
When the Emperor Valens threatened Eusebius with the confiscation of all his goods, torture, banishment, or even death, the courageous Christian replied, ďHe needs not fear confiscation, who has nothing to lose; nor banishment, to whom heaven is his country; nor torments, when his body can be destroyed at one blow; nor death, which is the only way to set him at liberty from sin and sorrow.Ē
JESUS- NOT HATE BUT HOPE
Itís a little name.
A small word.
Say this little name in public, however, in a way other than an obscenity, and stand back and watch the fireworks.
This little name is like a tiny detonator that triggers a nuclear warhead.
You can say "God," and you wonít get a squeak.
You can say "Our Father/Mother in Heaven," and few will flinch.
You can say "Great Spirit," and people will nod in approval.
You can say "Allah" and you will be deemed tolerant.
But say "Jesus" and just wait for the sonic boom.
Articles will appear in the paper. Reprimands will be posted from the home office. Suits will be threatened by the civil liberties block.
So donít say Jesus.
Jesus is divisive, and now is a time for unity.
Jesus is an extremist, and that must mean right wing.
Jesus is exclusive, so His name amounts to hate speech.
Keep His name to yourself. Cloister it in your church. Lock it in your prayer closet. Close it between the covers of your Bible. But for Godís sake, donít voice it in the public square!
Itís immodest. Itís immoral. Itís unloving.
Only one problem.
Jesus is God.
Only one problem.
Jesus alone brings salvation.
Only one problem.
All other gods are nothing.
So speak Hi...
Americaís Spiritual Heritage with the Bill of Rights.
A century and a half before the Bills of Rights was framed, the early colonist adopted the Constitution of the New England Confederation. The document declared its framersí devout faith and steadfast purpose. The proclamation read:
"Whereas, we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity and peace."
The little colony of Rhode Island became the first political state in world history to guarantee absolute religious freedom to all faiths. That was in 1644.
Moreover, before the Liberty Bell was hung in Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, in 1752, our Christian patriots directed that this inspired Scripture from Leviticus 25:10 be inscribed thereon: Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto the inhabitants thereof.
Also, the brave Christian patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence included it in these immortal words: With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
At the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin rose to utter these words: ...God governs the affairs of men: and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? Matthew 10:29
Those men knelt in prayer, and the result was the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta of our freedom. Faith in God and the Bible is interwoven into the very fabric of our nationís history.
"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can."