In his holiday greeting of 1981, President Ronald Reagan shared these thoughts: “On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate.”
As we focus on the Christmas season and consider its true meaning, some are also thinking about the American legacy of exceptionalism and the significant shifts we are now seeing in our culture. Many ask the question, “Are we a Christian nation?”
While not every U. S. citizen adheres to the Christian faith, our laws, policies, and even the character of the nation, reflect its principles. In an earlier CPCF blog titled, Do Your Christian Values Matter in Post-modern America?, we clearly outline the evidence and impact of such a value system. Our Founders passionately debated and intentionally established a government based on Judeo-Christian beliefs. They understood this orientation provided the only valid and moral basis that would secure freedom for all people.
Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, so government would stay out of the affairs of the church; however, in doing so, they still integrated God and His moral code into the fabric of America. There was an acknowledgement that the Author of human rights should guide the conscience of our nation. This formed a “public square” where every voice was heard, where every citizen was free to advocate for his or her position, and all could pursue life, liberty and happiness within those boundaries. “We the People” were given an unprecedented opportunity for influence should we choose to embrace it. Adopting any other worldview clearly conflicts with these core concepts.
The God-fearing men and women who helped set a course for, “the greatest nation on earth,” faithfully raised their families on these precepts. Congressional Prayer Caucus Co-chair, Congressman Randy Forbes, also presented irrefutable evidence to this effect in a powerful speech before his colleagues on the House floor (link to JRF video).
In 1776, John Adams wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel Adams, a minister, about the important role that Judeo-Christian principles played in American government,
“[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.” Adams also said the following about the United States Constitution, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It does not take much to see what America would look like without these timeless values. If we lose our freedom here, there is nowhere else to turn. That’s why we have to make every effort to see our religious liberties protected. Even some of the more open-minded Founders viewed religion and morality as indispensable to a free society. They recognized that unguarded attempts to censor truth and exclude certain voices from the public square would lead to a growing moral vacuum, setting the stage for censorship, corruption, and even oppressive rule.
The National Center for Constitutional Studies has published books, including The 5000 Year Leap and The Making of America in an effort to educate the public on the important truths of how America derived it’s laws and policies from Judeo-Christian principles:
Principle: Law of God forms basis of good human laws
Judeo-Christian Roots: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalms 19:7 – 8)
American Founding Ideal:
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” John Adams, February 22, 1756 (Federer, William J., America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, FAME Publishing, Coppell, Texas, 1994, p.5)
“These laws laid down by God are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil …. This law of nature dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this… The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures … [and] are found upon comparison to be really part of the original law of nature. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these. William Blackstone (Federer, p.52)
Judeo-Christian Roots: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof….” (Leviticus 25:10)
American Founding Ideal:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams (Federer, p. 10)
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” George Washington (Federer, p.660)
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion … Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.” George Washington’s Farewell Address
As 2015 comes to a close, I am reminded that the threats to our First Amendment rights are both tangible and to be taken seriously. We must remain vigilant and determined to stay the course and continue to be a voice within a postmodern culture that is moving further away from our Christian roots. The CPCF will continue to stand up, “for such a time as this,” and we are honored that so many of you have joined us in this journey.
Though this country has started down a slippery slope in so many ways, faith in a holy and compassionate Creator, is still engrained in the DNA of America. Nothing illustrates this more than the message of hope that surrounds us every Christmas. The Child lying in a manger is hope personified, a gift where the promise of a New Year can renew a sense of purpose and passion.
Like the Apostle Paul, I am so thankful to God for His “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15). Likewise and on behalf of the entire CPCF team, we are also thankful for each of you… for your faithfulness, for your prayers, for your steadfastness, for your responsiveness and your willingness to be engaged, for your financial support, and for continuing to believe that our heritage and religious freedoms are worth fighting for.