Published in The Washington Times.
A true compass always points to the magnetic north pole – that fixed location by which travelers and explorers confidently orient for direction no matter the sur- rounding circumstances. For nearly 240 years, the United States has uncompromisingly placed its trust in God – a spiritual true north that has likewise anchored our moral compass. This simple act of humble confession, derived from deeply held Judeo-Christian values, has offered strength in wartime, dignity and compassion toward those less fortunate, solace in times of national grief and hope in the face of unprecedented challenges. We see these principles woven into the very fabric of our founding documents. They give sub- stance to the liberties we all cherish and echo in the speech and prayers of godly patriots who rose up together at the birth of America.These were the same individuals who penned the Declaration of Independence, designed the Constitution, orchestrated each significant Amendment and crafted the Bill of Rights. There was no impassioned argument calling for the removal of God from the affairs of men, no disdain in setting aside the work of government to beseech God’s wisdom and direction on bended knees, no angst over publically recognizing His influence in life and culture. To imply otherwise is a distortion of the historical narrative and would require a complete suspension of the truth. President and signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, said this about America’s liberty, “Statesman may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone that can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” If he is right, then it no wonder that the majority of American’s believe our nation is going in the wrong direction.
President Ronald Reagan understood, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience…without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and can- not long endure…If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” Today, the battle for faith and religious freedom has been elevated to the forefront of our national discourse. For years now, there have been targeted efforts to remove God from the marketplace of ideas and practice.
While religious persecution against any faith should be vigorously condemned at every turn—and we often do so when it targets the innocent adherents of Islam and Judaism—today, across many parts of the world, arrests, imprisonment, re-education camps and even extreme acts of barbarism by cowardly terrorists, such as the beheading of children, are all too common atrocities being perpetrated upon people of faith who hold Christian convictions.
Many continue to deny this could never happen within the United States. However, just a few short decades ago, most citizens also never envisioned an America where the Ten Commandments would be reviled in our court houses, where businesses had to accept mandatory healthcare provisions that violate the conscious or the sanctity of life, where activist outcries are made over a humble nativity in a public park at Christmastime, valedictorians having their speeches scrubbed of all religious terminology, a pastor being threatened with arrest for holding a Bible study in his home, military chaplains facing court martials for praying in the name of Jesus, even students being suspended for simply saying, “Bless you” after a classmate sneezed…and the list could go on.
The phrase, “In God We Trust,” first drawn from The Star Spangled Banner in 1812, has been engraved on our currency since 1864 and was adopted as the National Motto in 1956. On November 1, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives, under the leadership of Congressmen, J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), along with 64 other bipartisan cosponsors, voted overwhelmingly (396-9) to reaffirm these historic words as the official motto of the United States. Yet, the anti-faith movement—who wrongfully misapply Jefferson’s comments regarding the Separation of Church and State—relentlessly seek to induce a sense of public shame and conjure up images of radical intolerance among those who hold biblical beliefs.
Inspired by the landslide vote, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation has launched the “In God We Trust. Put It Up!” initiative as part of a proactive strategy supported by government leaders, celebrities, and faith-based organizations as a way to protect God’s enduring and rightful place. To join the In God We Trust MIL- LION WINDOW Campaign, go to www. InGodWeTrust.com. The United States lies at the threshold of a significant crossroad: either to acknowledge and embrace the vibrant character of our spiritual heritage or to plunge headlong into the postmodern void—a value neutral and amoral vacuum that seeks to deconstruct much of what we consider sacred. Will you be an American patriot of the 21st Century?
Lea Carawan, President and Executive Di- rector of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. A non-partisan, non-profit organization established to unite and mobilize government leaders nationwide who are committed to promoting prayer, protecting religious freedom and preserving America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.