“I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” —Benjamin Franklin, Motion for Prayers in the Constitutional Convention, 1787
Ben Franklin was a diplomat to the fullest degree. His religious beliefs were not what any Biblical Christian might call Christian, but he also understood diplomacy. He understood that there was nothing to be gained in preventing prayer, and that even if it simply appeased those who wished to do so, there was no logical reason to object, so he pushed for daily prayer to open the convention sessions.
<a href="http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html" target=”_blank”>Benjamin Franklin delivered this famous speech, asking that the Convention begin each day’s session with prayers, at a particularly contentious period, when it appeared that the Convention might break up over its failure to resolve the dispute between the large and small states over representation in the new government. The eighty one year old Franklin asserted that “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth–that God governs in the Affairs of Men.” “I also believe,” Franklin continued, that “without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel.” Franklin’s motion failed, ostensibly because the Convention had no funds to pay local clergymen to act as chaplains.
The issue of the “Wall of separation between Church and State,” originally referred to the current issue facing Jefferson concerning denominational favoritism.
It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House–a practice that continued until after the Civil War–were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a “crowded audience.” Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.
A Wall of Separation
The celebrated phrase, “a wall of separation between church and state,” was contained in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. American courts have used the phrase to interpret the Founders’ intentions regarding the relationship between government and religion. The words, “wall of separation,” appear just above the section of the letter that Jefferson circled for deletion. In the deleted section Jefferson explained why he refused to proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving, as his predecessors, George Washington and John Adams, had done. In the left margin, next to the deleted section, Jefferson noted that he excised the section to avoid offending “our republican friends in the eastern states” who cherished days of fasting and thanksgiving READ MORE
It’s interesting to me to observe how time, rather suddenly, eroded and perverted the interpretation of Jefferson’s famed “Wall of Separation” just after WWII – 1947. Jefferson wrote the letter in 1802, yet it wasn’t until the mid 20th Century that the Supreme Court, without legal precedent, began to establish the rule of separation. Up until that time, all three branches of government, including the Supreme Court, agreed that the phrase only meant to prevent the Federal government from selecting or identifying any Church denomination as its favorite. As indicated above, a non-denominational service was held inside the House of Representatives, for pete’s sake, routinely, until after the Civil War!
The rise of Hilter in Europe cast the shadow of doubt over many things globally, including legislation in the US. Hilter deceived the people on a number of fronts, but among them was the religious front. He antagonized Christians to hate Jews, as the murderer of Christ. Deception, to be effective, uses a touch of truth mixed with lies to turn the tide of public concern and compassion. This has been used repeatedly throughout history to turn a crowd. It is being used to day in the USA to erase and rewrite our heritage to waterdown who America is.
To know where we are going as a people and a nation, we MUST know where we are coming from.