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By Pastor Kelly Boggs - NewsWithViews.com
|Pastor Kelly Boggs|
The American Civil Liberties Union is waging an aggressive campaign to expunge the American public square from all things religious, and specifically all things Christian. The most recent casualty in the group’s crusade is a cross displayed on the official seal of Los Angeles County.
A tiny cross is one of several symbols displayed on the southern California county’s seal. Its inclusion is intended to commemorate the role Christianity played in the founding of the area. By far the most prominent figure on the seal is the Goddess Pomona - the Roman goddess of gardens and fruit trees – which apparently does not pose a problem for the ACLU.
The ACLU maintained the presence of the small cross made non-Christians feel “unwelcome” and threatened to bring a lawsuit against Los Angeles County if it was not removed. County commissioners caved, voting 3-2 to remove the Christian symbol. What is most disturbing about the ACLU’s scorched-earth policy against Christianity is that the group maintains it is carrying out the will of America’s Founding Fathers. The group asserts that the First Amendment’s clause pertaining to religion mandates a public square that is solely secular.
Is the ACLU correct? Did America’s founders intend to have a nation in which religion in references were not to be seen or heard? Their actions indicate otherwise.
In his book, On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding, American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Novak highlights several events that took place during the formative years of the United States that “constitute mighty obstacles to a merely secular interpretation of the founding.”
One event Novak cites took place at the opening of the First Continental Congress. As delegates arrived in Philadelphia they learned that Charlestown had been attacked by British soldiers. In response, they voted to begin their meeting with prayer.
Novak shares that a local clergyman prefaced his prayer by reading Psalm 35 aloud. John Adams wrote to his wife and described the event. He indicated, “[I] had never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced. I never saw a greater affect upon an audience.”
Adams continued his description, “It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning… It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave pacific Quakers of Philadelphia… I must beg you to read that Psalm.”
Also included in Novak’s list of events indicating the religious nature of the founders is an incident that took place five months after the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
America was suffering under the effects of war as well as a devastating drought. In response, writes Novak, “Congress set aside December 11, 1776, and decreed that the separate States should organize a day of Fasting and Repentance.”
Included in the decree was the admonition “to implore of Almighty God the forgiveness of the many sins prevailing among all ranks, and to beg the countenance as assistance of his Providence in the prosecution of the present just and necessary war.”
Novak also details George Washington’s training of his troops for battle with the British. He indicates the general “gave orders that each day begin with formal prayer, to be led by the officers of each unit.”
Washington believed that “the Continental Army must secure God’s blessing on their efforts every day, by every means within their power,” notes Novak. Further the general maintained, “Nothing else could guarantee success. There was no other hope.”
The aforementioned events are only a sampling of many recounted by Michael Novak in On Two Wings. They are but a small portion of a significant body of evidence that indicate the ALCU is dead wrong in its assertion the founders wanted religion absent from the public square.
The Founding Fathers would consider the removal of a tiny cross on a county or city seal preposterous. If America’s founders were alive today they would likely hold the ACLU in the same regard as they did King George III.
© 2004 Kelly Boggs - All Rights Reserved
July 6, 2004
Republished with permission from NewsWithViews.com.
Also Read: Mel Gibson Not Happy With L.A. Cross Decision
About the Author
A native of Texas, Kelly Boggs now makes his home in the Pacific Northwest. He is the pastor of Valley Baptist Church located at McMinnville, Oregon. He also serves as the Chairman of the Ethics and Religious Commission for the Northwest Baptist Convention. He is a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to his NewsWithViews.com columns, Kelly writes a weekly opinion piece for Baptist Press, the official news agency of the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention. His columns have appeared in numerous regional and national publications including the Washington Times. Kelly has been a guest on a variety of radio and television programs to discuss the critical issues facing America. He recently launched The Sentinel Institute which is dedicated to shining the light of truth into the fog of popular culture. You can visit the SI web site at www.kellyboggs.com. Send the author an email with your comments to email@example.com