Tuesday

A leap of faith?


I have decided to take some time to cover the 28 principles outlined in W. Cleon Skousen’s book "The 5000 Year Leap" The founders believed these principles to be necessary to establish and maintain the form of government that has made this country the greatest bastion of freedom in the world. In each post we will dissect one of the principles and apply it to problems faced by our country. I hope you will take the time to read “The 5000 Year Leap” and accompany me on this journey of exploration.

The fourth principle: Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

This is perhaps one of the most controversial concepts of modern times. With the advancement of movements to effectively remove God from our society we face an increasing resistance to this idea. This was not a controversial topic in the times of the founders. I have noted several quotes that have been presented to advance this idea of a secular founding. Those quotes are almost without exception taken out of context. I devoted a post to that issue and will not belabor it here. If you wish to read on it you can link to that post here: http://silentmajority09.blogspot.com/2009/03/commons-sense.html.

The truth is our founding fathers realized that religion, morality and knowledge were necessary to establish and maintain an effective government. They emphasized its importance with the passage of the Northwest Ordinance in the same year the constitution was passed. Article 3 of that Ordinance read: Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.
The intent is unambiguous, they meant for religious teachings to be as integral a part of learning as the basics of reading, writing and math.

Where we have strayed is we have allowed a wall of separation between our fundamental beliefs in God, secular studies, and our government. This was not end envisioned when the founders drafted the 1st amendment. They simply wanted to avoid the establishment of a state mandated or endorsed religion. They intentionally tried to remove denominationally specific creeds and dogmas. They wanted to unite under a universally accepted set of principles that excluded none of the "sound" religions of their time. Benjamin Franklin described what he believed were the “Fundamental points” of all sound religions in a letter to Ezra Stiles then the president of Yale University:

Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.

The examples of the religious underpinnings of the founders can be found throughout their writings. They understood that morality is rooted in the religious tenets of a society. Laws are written and enforced based on these religious tenets. They also understood that to remove God from the equation was a recipe for failure as a nation.

We are suffering that very failure as a nation now. A quick perusal of the evening news, newspaper or even through popular entertainment will suffice to prove that we have become morally bankrupt. What has become commonly accepted behavior would have horrified people only a few generations ago. We have got to find our moral footing as a nation before there is no time left to do so.

George Washington summed it up best in his farewell address:

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.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.

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