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Summary: We could mention many things going wrong in our country. But instead, let’s recall some of the things that have made her great & called down the blessings of God upon her. (Powerpoint Available - #236

MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, kANSAS, OK

(Powerpoint slides used with this message are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at mnewland@sstelco.com with your request - #236.)

A. There are two verses of Scripture that I think are very important for us not only to hear, but to remember. The first one is Proverbs 14:34 - “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

And the second is Psalm 33:12 - “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.”

ILL. Some of you may remember that 11 years ago last week, by a 2-1 vote, a 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.

They ruled that the phrase “one nation under God” in the pledge was an “endorsement of religion” & thus violated what those 2 judges stated was the “constitutional mandate of a wall of separation between church & State.”

Now, folks, there are several things that are absolutely & historically false about that statement. And I want to deal with that in just a few minutes.

But first, it was interesting to witness the reactions throughout our nation to their ruling. I’ve never seen the vast majority of Americans so united against a judicial ruling as it was against that one.

President Bush was the first to speak out, & he called it “ridiculous.” Not to be outdone, a number of Senators called for a vote on it. And whenever the Senate votes 99-0 about anything it is time to take notice! Then the House of Represen-tatives voted unanimously to condemn the ruling also.

To top it all off, Judge Alfred Goodwin, one of the two judges who issued the ruling, decided to order a “stay” on its implementation – which meant that until the court said differently, everything went back to the way it was before the ruling was made.

All of this uproar started because a California atheist claimed that his daughter was being traumatized by hearing her classmates say the word “God” in her presence.

Then it was discovered that the daughter wasn’t bothered by the word at all. In fact, her mother said that she & her daughter regularly went to church together. Also, that her daughter readily joined in with other students in saying “one nation under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance!

B. Now this reminds me of that time in the Bible when the brothers of Joseph, after the death of their father, were so afraid that Joseph would take revenge upon them for the terrible things they had done to him when he was young.

They begged for his forgiveness & the Bible says in Genesis 50:18-20 that they “…came & threw themselves down before him. ‘We are your slaves,’ they said. But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?

‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” (Genesis 50:18-20)

C. Did you hear that? “You intended it for evil, but God used it for good!” I believe that was exactly the result of that ruling 11 years ago we have been talking about.

Do you remember some of the things that happened as a result of that ruling? For example, when that ruling was made known we saw on television almost all of the Senators & Representatives rushing to the capitol steps in order to be seen reciting the Pledge together, including the words “one nation under God.”

The very next morning, instead of the usual almost empty chamber for the opening prayer, with TV cameras running, almost every seat was full. That day, at least, they wanted the voters to see that they were there when the chaplain was calling upon God in prayer for our nation, & our nation’s leaders.

That was 11 years ago. And I reminded you of it this morning just to point out how much things have changed for the worse in such a short time.

The simple act of declaring that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because it contained the words “under God” raised such a furor in the media that it didn’t take long for the courts to reverse that ruling.

D. But today a lot has changed. Just look at the rulings made by the Supreme Court during the last two weeks - & how uncritically the media reacted to them!

ILL. How about what happened in Texas just this last week! The Texas Legislature was deciding whether to limit late-term abortions. And outside of their building pro-life & pro-abortion groups were carrying signs proclaiming their opinions.

What have you heard in the main-stream media about what happened there? Or did you hear anything at all about what happened? Well, let me tell you. The pro-life group was singing “Amazing Grace.” And the pro-abortion group was trying to drown out their singing.

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