By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O'Neil -
If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.
George Washington invoked these poignant words on October 3, 1789 when proclaiming a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving:
It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor.
Similar quotes from our forefathers could fill many pages, and leaves no doubt that if they weren’t Christians, they surely embraced the Christian Bible, its wisdom and instructions, and the Almighty God. It seems they understood the Bible’s words benefited all people, including atheists. It is why school children began the day with prayer and the reading of Bible passages in classrooms throughout America. The 10 Commandments were posted on the walls of schools and in public places. Why, biblical quotes were inscribed on many public buildings and statues throughout America, including Washington D.C.
America's founders never intended for there to be a separation of God and state Historically, prayer and religious exercises were encouraged in every facet of government. Court witnesses were asked to put their hands on a Bible and swear they were telling the whole truth. Most every public meeting began in prayer, and the 10 commandments hung prominently in public places.
All 50 states acknowledged God in the preamble to their state constitutions. The vast majority of stores were closed on Sundays, because people went to church and then often visited friends and relatives afterwards. It was considered the biblical "day of rest".
Pornography, gambling, prostitution, and crime existed, but it was mostly hidden from the general public and way below the percent we suffer from today. Movies and T.V. programs before the 1960's were mostly wholesome, and even considered role models. People loved Lucy, and they admired Ozzie and Harriet. Children grew up wanting to have close family ties they witnessed on the screen. In reality, their own families may not have closely resembled those they watched, but important role models were seen and goals set.
So what happened? How could something so obviously appreciated, cherished, and practiced throughout America’s history by our forefathers, suddenly be considered wrong and even illegal? Was there a plan in place to intentionally destroy the church, and insert atheism in its place? Was there a plot to take down our democracy and replace it with a socialist or communist form of government? Who would want to change the most respected, amazing, successful government in the World and replace it with an inferior form of governing that has never proved successful?
The beginning of these changes can be traced to decisions made in 1962 by a liberal dominated Supreme Court (Engel v. Vitale). It began innocently enough in 1951 when the New York Board of Regents (State board of education) approved an inclusive 22-word school prayer to be used in their public school system. The prayer was: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parent, our teachers, and our country." The board properly reasoned that the prayer would "combat juvenile delinquency and counter the spread of communism." However, the New York Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of the Regent's Prayer in court, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the corporate reading of the Bible and the recitation of the Lord's Prayer unlawful in public schools.
The one dissenting opinion came from Potter Stewart, who argued that the majority had "misapplied a great constitutional principle" and could not understand "how an 'official religion' is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, Steward stated, "... to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation." And indeed Stewart as prophetic, as we have seen our nation's spiritual heritage gradually erode ever since that fateful decision to the point Christians are now being denied their religious rights."
Words of truth from Dr. James Emery White
Dr. James Emery White, ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., has observed an increasingly hostile and intolerant attitude towards Christian beliefs and values. Dr. White warns that Christians are no longer allowed to live out their faith, or take a stand to defend their faith. In other words, it is becoming more evident that while Christians are allowed to practice their faith, they must do so quietly. If their faith conflicts with another’s viewpoint, it is the Christian who is required to acquiesce.
Not only does Dr. White fret in his article about faith being privatized, but also that there is now a demand that faith be compromised by embracing society's beliefs, i.e., as the decision to require most religious institutions, including Catholic hospitals and schools, to pay for contraception, sterilizations, and the "morning after" pill. While liberals portray this as an entitlement, a “right” women are entitled to receive, others argue it is not constitutional to demand an employer pay for medication that destroys a life and thus violates their religious belief.
How did we get to a place that people do not understand that simple truth? It often begins in the classrooms of America and is parroted by a wiling media indoctrinated with the liberal agenda spewed by professors like Bill Ayers and his atheists friends.
Religious conscience violated
In the following five situations, Christians were not attempting to impose their religious views on others, they simply didn't want to be forced into something they thought would violate their own religious conscience. The following are examples of how government and our judicial system is violating historical, constitutional, and established laws guaranteeing citizens not be forced to violate their religious beliefs
- Catholic Charities in Illinois were forced to shut down their adoption services rather than violate their religion by placing children with same-sex couples as the state required.
- A court clerk in New York was told to issue same-sex marriages licenses, despite religious reservations.
- A Chinese counselor was penalized for refusing to advise gay couples.
- A wedding photographer was sued for refusing to “shoot" a same-sex wedding, and a baker was sued for not agreeing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding.
- In 2012 Cynthia and Robert Gifford were fined $13,000 by government for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declined to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration.
Recently the IRS agreed to target and monitor churches, initiated at the behest of the atheist group "Freedom From Religion Foundation" (FFRF). The deal with the IRS violated the First Amendment and could lead to the IRS literally monitoring sermons on Sunday morning and challenging tax-exempt status of churches if specific political positions are expressed regarding religious issues.
David Barton sets forth 94 unprecedented actions against Christians
David Barton of Wallbuilders refers to President Obama as America's Most Biblically-Hostile U.S. President. Many of Obama's action are unprecedented and represent the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history, making the hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values without equal from any previous American president.
The extensive accounts of Obama's unprecedented actions against Christians are listed in chronological order (94 in all) from the time Obama became president in 2008 until June, 2014 under these four categories: (1) Numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) Examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) A listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and (4) A listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.
The following is the most current demand: Official U. S. government personnel, both civilian and military, in Bahrain (a small Arabic nation near Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran) must wear clothing that facilitates the religious observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Of grave concern should be President Obama's preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions over those of Christians. The Obama administration made effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, but when Bibles were burned, numerous reasons were offered as to why it was the right thing to do. These inconsistencies are alarming and detrimental to the morale of our soldiers.
Warnings so far have failed to cause Christians to unite and rise up
A top U.S. Defense Department analyst under President Bush and an expert on the Middle East, Michael Maloof, warned last month (July, 2014) that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), led by Islamic jihadist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have announced their intention to attack the United States by using the Mexican border to infiltrate America. Maloof went on to say: "At a time when thousands are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally each day, the risk of terrorists infiltrating within these masses might be higher." Continuing: "Ms-13 already are in over 1,100 U.S. cities, and, as a consequence, the infiltration capabilities are very, very high and the threat from them can be sooner rather than later."
One thing is for certain, ISIS did not form overnight. Unfortunately the threat was ignored by President Obama because it didn't fit his political template. To Obama, the terrorist threat and Al Queda had been eliminated with the death of Ben Laden. Having honored his promise of ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home, President Obama, not wanting to alienate his anti-war supporters, failed to realize the need to keep an American military presence in Iraq. That may prove to be a tragic mistake in judgment; as American citizens may pay the ultimate price for that blunder.
A concern for many Christians is the lack of support they receive from the President and his administration regarding dangers from within our own country. A myriad of policies and decisions from the White House are causing many Americans to fear for their lives. Their fear is understandable! Terrorists from other countries are already in America and thus threats of intense violence they plan to inflict on innocent citizens cannot be ignored. All who do not profess to worshiping their god Allah are threatened with death. Our immigration laws are not being enforced, and thus our borders are being violated on a daily basis. It would be naive indeed to think terrorists have not already infiltrated our States and are even now plotting plans to terrorize Americans. Christians are likely their most prominent target.
What are Christians to do faced with these serious threats? It appears our country is fast evolving into a Marxist/Socialist nation. How do we correct the current liberal indoctrination of our children by liberals, humanists, and atheists in our classrooms? How do we stop the growing threat from terrorists in our country, when our borders remain far from secure? Who is there to save our Republic from from those intent on destroying it?
If one were to give a single major reason why our nation is abandoning their former faith, morals, patriotism, and principles, those embraced by our forefathers, one need look no further than our places of higher learning, where students are taught almost exclusively by liberal, progressive professors. The best and brightest young minds are intentionally manipulated in the very places they should be nurtured. Vulnerable students leave college and enter the workplace with a mindset that does not reflect that of their parents or of our nation’s historical values.
Can we stop this madness by having both viewpoints presented to every student? The liberal's demand for diversity stops short at the classroom door. Every reasonable person must question why our tax supported schools are indoctrinating students with a one-sided portrayal of politics through the implementation of Common Core curriculum standards that is inconsistent with our nation's historical values that have served her well over the years. Our forefathers gave us a Republic and an amazing Constitution that propelled America into the role of the greatest of all nations. Are we in danger of losing it? Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the meeting in which our constitution was drafted said: "We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it". Those words of warning have never been more important to remember.
History has proven how easily a powerful, prosperous nation can decay from within, due to the fallacy that socialism/communism systems are superior. It is time for patriotism to again be taught and nurtured. Our children need to know what propelled us into becoming the greatest nation in the World. Those who have been continually polluting students’ minds, teaching all that is wrong with America, need to be removed from our schools and universities and replaced with patriots. Unfortunately, the cries are not there; the silence is deafening. Who will be strong enough to change the direction our nation is now headed? Many are looking to America’s clergy as the answer. Will the Church speak up and counter the creeping threats? Will church leaders take the initiative to educate their congregations about these dangers and suggest they become involved and energized with the task of turning our nation back to the country of our forefathers?
We pray the Church will accept that challenge? Evil will flourish, when good men to nothing. Might our only viable hope ultimately rest in Christians stepping into the political arena to speak out against what is wrong and establishing what is right?
Part 1: Illinois Review, Friday, August 29: "Thorner/O'Neil: Christian persecution beyond the Middle East" http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/08/thorner-oneil-part-1-christian-persecution-beyond-the-middle-east.html#more
Article 2 will follow: Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O'Neil will tackle the question: What might the clergy and professed Christians do to counter the moral decline of this nation and its rapid advance toward Marxist/Socialism?