By Edward Thal /
“Go up to the ancient ruins and walk around; look at the skulls of the lowly and the great. Which belongs to the one who did evil, and which to the one who did good?” (Ancient Accadian Poem)
Only the deeds of the mighty are usually recorded by history – and history is not always a reliable record because deeds become confused with consequences; heroism or cowardice are captives to victory or defeat. Achievements of a decade are crushed by centuries and millennia.
In America it has taken a lot less than 100 years for anti-God forces to almost erase evidence of our very strong Christian roots from the collective consciousness. But God’s fingerprints are everywhere in our past and are readily discernable to those who want to know the truth about our founding. Here are a few examples of the Christian heritage that was once acknowledged by all.
- In a Supreme Court decision, 1892, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States the unanimous opinion stated in part, “Our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian…These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
- Fifty years before that Supreme Court opinion, Abraham Lincoln told his fellow Americans: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
- And fifty years after Lincoln, President Calvin Coolidge noted: “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
- At the dawn of American history the Moses narrative played a central role, from the Pilgrims who saw themselves fleeing Egypt for the Promised Land, to the framers of the Constitution, and beyond. Bruce Feiler, in his book “America’s Prophet” cites two publications that had a great impact on pre-revolutionary America: Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and Samuel Sherwood’s “The Church’s Flight Into The Wilderness”. Both published in 1776, they both invoked the Moses story to make similar attacks on the British political system. (Oddly, Paine was the anti-religious zealot who continually cited Biblical examples). Particularly noticeable is that these two popular treatises never quote Locke, Voltaire, Rosseau or Bacon, the pantheon of Enlightenment thinkers.
- Feiler notes that Ben Franklin joined the Exodus chorus in 1788 when he argued that the Supreme Being had freed Americans from bondage and given them a Constitution, just as He did for Israel of old. Franklin had earlier proposed that Moses appear on the Great Seal of the United States.