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Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing columns on important issues for today.

Meaning, Importance of the 1st Amendment
[Freedom of Religion]

September 23, 2013

The 1st Amendment begins,”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.  Detractors will say, as they have said already, that the Bill of Rights are given by the Constitution, but we also understand the Declaration of Independence states that we have God given rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Today we continually hear claims that government cannot be involved with anything religious nor be influenced by it.  There is even a lawsuit in Massachusetts that wants to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. 

We disagree. Our founding fathers never envisioned a government without faith, just the opposite.  What they wanted was to guard against the government establishing a religious “denomination”, like what they experienced in England.  We believe the constitutionally guaranteed right of Religion and our duty to worship our Creator, is a right of individual choice and that it's also essential to the survival and protection of our freedoms.   Our belief is supported by a common thread of unmistakable understanding left by our Founding Fathers.  It’s not about exclusion but inclusion. 

  • John Adams remarked, “Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”   

  • In his farewell address, Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.” 

The Founders fought against governmental interference in religion, but not against its influence.   They also feared that if our country ever turned its back on God it would ultimately mean the destruction of the nation they worked so hard to create.  Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison all knew and confessed that without God being our moral compass, the fledgling nation they were creating would ultimately collapse.

Franklin clearly defined the five things he thought were needed to be a true  “religion:”  A belief that there exists a creator; a moral code by which to live; personal accountability for our actions; the understanding that life continues after physical death; and that there will be a judgment that all will face.  So in Franklin’s view the worship of trees or even climate change would not qualify as a religion!

As we see the movement of our nation, and even some of our churches, away from the God who has had His hand of protection over us, we see the deterioration of our country.  We pray daily that the people of our nation will return to, or come to know, the Lord who is alive, who knows our every thought, who sees every step we take, and who will speak to us if we would but only listen. Listen first and then be obedient to His voice.  We ask you to join us in this prayer.

Mark, Bill, and John