America’s Judeo-Christian Roots are Bigger Than Texas (Guest Voice)

America’s Judeo-Christian Roots are Bigger Than Texas
by Susan Stamper Brown

The hysterical reaction to Republican presidential hopeful Governor Rick Perry’s faith is about as overblown as his home state of Texas is big. Perry is facing a federal lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) — purportedly because Perry prayed publicly for our nation.

America is headed south to a place much hotter than Texas, and you would think national figures offering prayers for the nation would be a source of inspiration. Even still, FFRF filed the lawsuit to prevent the beckoning of blessing from the God of whom this country was founded.

Filing the lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Texas, the FFRF argued the prayer event Perry attended violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Claus. They claimed it could be “harmful or counterproductive as a substitute for reasoned action.” What does that even mean? If you put the collective brain power of the current leadership in Washington into the body of a hummingbird, it would fly backwards, and yet a call to prayer on their behalf is “counterproductive” to reasoned action?

The very concept of separation of church and state is intellectually dishonest and legally indefensible. Even still, activists attempt to two-step their way around the Constitution in hopes to eradicate America’s Judeo-Christian roots and replace them with their own “irreligion.”

The simpler solution would be for groups such as the FFRF to accept the fact that prayer has weaved its way into the moral fiber of America since her inception. British colonists fled to America to escape religious intolerance. The first prayer of the Continental Congress, in 1774, clearly laid out our founders intentions in the words: “O Lord our Heavenly Father…we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor…desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. Be Thou present…and direct the councils of this honorable assembly…All this we ask in the name…of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.”

The Bill of Rights (the first ten Constitutional amendments) was ratified December 15, 1791. Amendment I speaks to the protection from federal interference in the free exercise of religion, speech, and the press, among other freedoms. Although the term “separation of church and state” cannot be found in the Constitution, activists who seem to be about as friendly as fire ants to America’s Judeo-Christian roots borrowed words from and built case law around a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to church leaders in 1802 mentioning “a wall of separation.”

The United States Supreme Court confirmed our nation’s Christian DNA in a unanimous decision February 29, 1892 – that has never been overruled. The court cited various authorities confirming the influence the Bible had on America since its founding. This decision confirmed our founders’ intentions in the Constitution’s First Amendment to protect citizens from a national religion – granting us freedom of religion – not freedom from religion.

The court ruled: “There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all having one meaning: they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons; they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire group. These authorities were collected to support the historical conclusion that no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or nation, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth…this is a Christian nation…”

Eric Bearse, spokesman for the Texas prayer gathering Perry attended said they “expected this kind of legal harassment, but the right of Americans to assemble and pray has been established for over 200 years.” While 200 years of precedence has never stopped Progressives before, it seems there may be a more obvious reason why the man, Perry, who has a campaign winning streak ten elections long, is feared: John Sharp, a 1998 lieutenant governor opponent to Perry summed it up when he said, “Running against Perry is like running against God.”

© Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown. Susan’s weekly column is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate and is licensed to run on TMV in full.

Author: CAGLE CARTOONS

  • dduck

    Well, in my agnostic DNA, I have the power to NOT go to any Perry meeting, turn on any Perry TV/radio/electronic communication/etc.

  • JeffP

    I probably wouldn’t write a check to support the lawsuit, as most of us “unbelievers” saw Perry’s move as a political panderer, and know him to be 100% a political actor.

    I agree with dduck regarding our choices to attend or not to attend.

    But..

    ” The court ruled: “There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all having one meaning: they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation.”

    … is a little bit of a stretch in my view. And I think the more politicians try to “reaffirm” that there is “no dissonance,” they will see more and more dissonance evolve.

    This is a secular nation, and secular government. That’s the reason it has the potential to work so well, and accommodate a huge and diverse citizenship. There are some of us that will fight to keep it that way.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    Any lawsuit against Perry’s prayer meeting is frivolous and stupid, however I do take issue with this:

    The very concept of separation of church and state is intellectually dishonest and legally indefensible. Even still, activists attempt to two-step their way around the Constitution in hopes to eradicate America’s Judeo-Christian roots and replace them with their own “irreligion.”

    Horse hockey. It is a very understandable and reasonable concept and is totally defensible by both the Constitution and the laws of the land. It just doesn’t mean what the radicals on the left think it is.

    It simply means that the U.S. is governed by a system of codified laws with the Constitution as the foundation and not anything else, including religious beliefs; and that the U.S. Government should not endorse or support any particular religion.

    It does not mean that all religion needs to be purged from public view, or that politicians must behave atheistically, or that religious-based arguments can’t be part of political discourse. He’ll, you can even put religious beliefs into law if a) it goes through the valid lawmaking process; b) it is codified into the law directly; and c) such resulting law doesn’t violate the Constitution (or the Constitution is amended).

    What bothers me about the Christian Right taking over our government is the inability to set aside dogma for logic & thought. If they were smart, sensible people, I wouldn’t be as opposed to them.

  • roro80

    “America is headed south to a place much hotter than Texas”

    Is it in keeping with the rules of commenting to just point to this phrase and laugh?

  • jdwincu

    Have folks read the “Jefferson Bible”? Thomas Jefferson cut out (literally with scissors, no cut and paste for him) all the supposed miracles (including any references to the resurrection) in the new testament and left in the other teaching, etc. of Jesus. Doesn’t removal of the miracles and resurrection inherently make this not a christian book? I have a hunch this fit with what Jefferson actually believed.

  • Allen

    As a Christian, I must protest.

    1st Amendment
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The right of people, including Governor Perry, to exercise his religion, and to mouth it’s meditation’s publicly is clear, just as it is the “Freedom From Religion Foundation’s”, (and anyone else’s), right to peacefully protest the governor doing so, and petition the government in grievance for redress. Just as it is the right of the free press to write about it here, and, for all of us here to comment upon it.

    However, the FFRF will loose their lawsuit because their redress, should their supposed loss be quantified, would require changing the Constitution.

    You cannot change the Bill of Rights.

  • jdledell

    “…we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth…this is a Christian nation.”

    This Jew doesn’t find living in a Christian nation to be all that reassuring. Having grown up hearing calls of Christ Killer, Kike, JewBoy etc etc. My father was even denied the ability to buy a lot in the next suburb over and was told to stay in the Jew town.

    Granted things are better now BUT Christians still scare me when they talk about the end days and how we have to convert. In my 67 years dozens of Christians have tried to “save” me. When I ignore their pleas the conversations usually dissolve into a lot of yelling.

    I would be VERY concerned if these people implemented their faith into government policy.

  • slamfu

    This is a christian nation demographically, but not politically. Politically we are clearly open to any religion, and the rule of Law, not God, decides our course. When people try to call this a Christian nation they mean it politically and that is simply not the case. Iran is a Muslim nation, the imams and the guys in the funny robes call the shots over the elected officials. I get the feeling from some of the christians on the right, especially Tea Party folks, that christians should be getting some special considerations under the law. It is rank ignorance.

  • roro80

    “that christians should be getting some special considerations under the law. It is rank ignorance.”

    Yes, this. I always find it interesting when folks presumably from the same party as those who yell about the nanny state and how government should just leave us alone also want government intervention and interaction when it comes to our souls. Our souls! That stinks of something pretty awful.

  • roro80

    “activists who seem to be about as friendly as fire ants to America’s Judeo-Christian roots borrowed words from and built case law around a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to church leaders in 1802 mentioning “a wall of separation.” ”

    I’d also like to point out that when one of the guys whose pen wrote the Consitution says “see look what we did here — it’s a wall of separation written into the Constitution!”, that might be a pretty good indication of the original intent of the words.

  • JSpencer

    “The very concept of separation of church and state is intellectually dishonest and legally indefensible.” – SSB

    There was no reason for me to continue reading beyond that statement. If the author is incapable of grasping that essential truth, then her argument is built on shifting sand.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    Our system of justice has stronger Christian roots than people realize. Even the rebellion against government power has its roots in natural rights, a Christian doctrine. Jefferson and many other founders were not Christians as we know them today, but they did believe in the philosophy of Christian writers.

  • roro80

    You got a sentence past my initial reading, JSpencer. :) Generally when someone’s argument is “ZOMG we’re all going to HELL!” I know what I’m in for…

  • roro80

    “Even the rebellion against government power has its roots in natural rights, a Christian doctrine.”

    Any evidence for that? Pretty much every revolution since the beginning of time has been built on the idea of innate or natural rights that revolutionaries hold as more important that law, regardless of what religion was dominant among the rebels at the time.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    Try John Locke, whose influence is clearly seen in the Declaration of Independence.

    Theories of religious tolerance

    Locke, writing his Letters Concerning Toleration (1689–92) in the aftermath of the European wars of religion, formulated a classic reasoning for religious tolerance. Three arguments are central: (1) Earthly judges, the state in particular, and human beings generally, cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of competing religious standpoints; (2) Even if they could, enforcing a single “true religion” would not have the desired effect, because belief cannot be compelled by violence; (3) Coercing religious uniformity would lead to more social disorder than allowing diversity.

  • jdwincu

    Whoa, the John Locke Theories of Religious Tolerance is pretty powerful stuff. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it put so clearly and succinctly. I’d say he was ahead of his time, but I suspect it would more accurately be that we have been falling farther and farther behind the times.

  • Allen

    jdledell-

    That is really rude, and, I am sorry to hear this. It’s sounds like you ran into protestant evangelicals of a certain variety. There are thousands of independent protestant churches of this type. They have no affiliation with major protestant denominations. They basically start up under what a single preacher decides is truth. That preachers theological credentials may be that he, “just wanted be a preacher”, without any formal study. The congregations of these single churches could be taught anything.

    I am a Christian that believes in some formality based in study of as many facts as we have available, not whatever I want to convince myself of for the sake of being accepted into the group. One thing that I do believe, is that Jews are God’s chosen people, so by extension, it’s prudent for me not to get on their bad side by being disrespectful. I have no idea what God has planned for his people. A Jew died for my sins before I even made them and I have no intentions in screwing that up by offending the Jews. I believe in the triune God and I will respect his people even if he was considered an outlaw by many, if not most, Jews at the time, (but not all). It would be patently stupid for me to judge anything regarding a Jew’s relationship with God.

  • jdledell

    “One thing that I do believe, is that Jews are God’s chosen people,”…

    Allen – I would think that this line about being “chosen people” would cause some skepticism. After all it is in a book written by Jews for Jews. Quite a coincidence, don’t you think?

  • roro80

    ” After all it is in a book written by Jews for Jews. Quite a coincidence, don’t you think?”

    The same could be said of almost everything in every holy book.

  • Allen

    jdledell

    Well I’m not here to debate theology with you or anyone else. I’m only trying to address your concept of Christianity, which appears to be based in unwanted confrontational experiences. You must realize that Christianity differs between dozens of denominations and thousands of independent church bodies pretty much without any central theological authority. Lumping them all into one as a preconceived notion is incorrect.

  • JeffP

    I would humbly submit that the sentence might read better as

    “You must realize that Christianity differs AMONG dozens of denominations and thousands of independent church bodies pretty much without any central theological authority.”

    But “lumping them all into one” is precisely what the author of the article seems to do when she declares

    “This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth…this is a Christian nation…”

    Single voice
    clear recognition
    a Christian nation

    And she finalizes the last sentence as

    ” it seems there may be a more obvious reason why the man, Perry, who has a campaign winning streak ten elections long, is feared: John Sharp, a 1998 lieutenant governor opponent to Perry summed it up when he said, “Running against Perry is like running against God.”

    Well, okay, whose god? If Christian, which Christian version? Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal? What are the differences in public policy among those who proclaim they have God’s intent clearly spelled out via prophetic dreams or visions or direct dialogue?

    I for one have had enough of “gut feeling” and “higher father” direction for this country in regard to foreign policy and national policy.

    We have plenty of examples in the world where some higher spiritual authority has his way among his people.

  • Allen

    JeffP-

    Attribute that which is evil to whom that bears it.

    That which is good likewise.

    Make sure you do so in fair measure, if not for man’s sake, for your own sanity.