Quote for the Day

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”

George Washington (1778)

On Aug. 7, 1789 Washington signed into law the Northwest Ordinance, which many  succeeding generations of political leaders and judges considered to be one of  the nation’s “organic” laws, a law they were to base future laws  upon.

“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good  government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education  shall forever be encouraged,” it said. For many years after that the states  abided by that basic law of the land.

On July 9, 1867—144 years ago—our  leaders ratified the 14th Amendment. “No state shall make or enforce any law  which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United  States,” it said.

Since the 1820s, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened its sessions announcing, “God  save the United States and this Honorable Court.” Then in 1892, the high court  ruled that “America is a Christian nation.”

In the 1950s, students in our  high school homeroom class recited the Lord’s Prayer before going to their other  classes. In addition, each school morning students read from the Scriptures over  the school intercom. One morning they would read a passage from the Old  Testament. The following morning they would read from the New Testament.  Graduating seniors attended a baccalaureate service in one of the community’s  churches.

At Christmas, nativity scenes appeared in front of city halls  and other public buildings across the land.

And so it was.

But when the curtain of time rose on the later part of the last century, the  shining light of faith in our land began to dim. In 1963 the Supreme Court  removed Bibles from the nation’s schools. Nativity scenes on public lands often  became the target for court challenges.

In 1980 a judge, obviously  oblivious to the Northwest Ordinance, handed down a ruling that was both tragic  and absurd.

“It is unconstitutional for students to see the Ten  Commandments since they might read, mediate upon, respect, or obey them,” the  judge wrote. The climate for the practice of faith then became so hostile that  godly teachers could get fired for leading their students in prayer.

Today inside the sweltering prison tents of the overcrowded Maricopa County,  Arizona correctional system, where the temperature gets up to 140 degrees during  the daytime, Pastor Michael Salman, the father of six children, is serving out a  60-day sentence among hardened criminals after being fined $12,800. He was sent  there by an overzealous prosecutor in Phoenix.

His crime? Holding Bible  studies with his friends in his home.

Similarly in Orange County,  California, Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were recently fined $300 for holding Bible  studies in their home.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in his unmatched   “I’ve God a Dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, spoke of  the time when everyone, “black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants  and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro  spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at  last!”

Apparently, that day is not completely here.

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