Friday, September 22, 2006

George Washington Program - Oct 26

Interesting program coming on October 26. It's geared for students, but anyone can participate. Follow the link to learn more....

...and don't forget to mark your calendar!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Star-Spangled Banner Anniversary....Forgotten

Follow the above link to check out an article I wrote for on the ignored and forgotten anniversary of our national anthem...

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Forgotten 9/11 Event

September 11, 1814 was pretty important to the folks living in the US back in that day. It should not be forgotten by subsequent generations...

The Battle of Plattsburgh- September 11, 1814 Victory on Lake Champlain

Thursday, September 07, 2006

First Prayer of Continental Congress Remembered

This day marks the 232nd anniversary of the first official act of the first nationally elected assembly in American history. It was a prayer.

The First Continental Congress convened September 5, 1776, in response to Britain’s enactment of the Coercive Acts. Falling most heavily on Massachusetts, the Coercive Acts imposed martial law, outlawed town hall meetings (a sacred democratic tradition for New Englanders), and closed the port of Boston.

Shortly after they gathered in Philadelphia for the first time, Congress received word that Boston was under military attack. These reports later turned out to be an exaggeration, but they inspired a motion to invite a local Anglican minister to open their formal deliberations in prayer.

A few members objected, citing the diversity in religious faith. Underneath this opposition was increased distrust and hostility for the Church of England. Many Americans, in fact, blamed the Anglican Church for their problems with Britain. But Samuel Adams, a Bostonian widely regarded by historians today as the father of the American Revolution, protested that he was no “bigot” and that he would welcome a “prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same time a friend to his country.”

The First Continental Congress proceeded to invite the Reverend Jacob Duché, the rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, an Anglican congregation. With that vote, the first national assembly in American history affirmed, on record, the propriety and importance of calling on God. In essence, the Continental Congress subordinated the American cause to God and paved the way for the thirteen colonies to become, as our Pledge declares, “one nation under God.”

Duché’s historic Scripture reading and prayer was a moving experience for the Congress. Several first-hand accounts of the event have the delegates fervently in prayer – many of them with tears streaming down their cheeks. John Adams wrote that “it was enough…to melt a heart of stone.”

Two hundred and thirty-two years have passed since this historic moment, and our Founding Fathers would certainly be appalled to see how thoroughly God and prayer have been driven from the public square. What would particularly incense them is how often their names and their legacy have been used to do it.

Consider Michael Newdow, who has sued to stop kids from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, so long as it invokes God. He’s also demanded that prayer at presidential inaugurations cease. According to Newdow, “When [the Constitution] was written, it was clear the founding fathers wanted the separation of church and state.”

Of course, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution follows Duché’s famous prayer by about 17 years. Nevertheless, many of the same men that prayed with Duché in 1774 voted for and campaigned for the First Amendment in 1791. That’s the very same First Amendment, which Newdow so brazenly holds up as proof that the Founders would have agreed with him.

What’s more, the very same Congress that sent the First Amendment to the states for ratification voted to hire chaplains at taxpayer expense for both houses of Congress. And George Washington, who supported the First Amendment, is the one who started the tradition of prayer at presidential inaugurations – as well as adding the words “so help me God” to the presidential oath and taking said oath on the Bible.

Certainly Benjamin Franklin would not have agreed with Newdow. Even before the First Amendment was conceived, Franklin publicly called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention. He reminded the delegates that “God governs in the affairs of men,” and warned that, without “His aid,” they were likely to suffer the same fate as the “Builders of Babel.” Franklin’s motion for beginning each day with a formal prayer was set aside, but the convention recessed for the purpose of worship and prayer. Moreover, Franklin’s suggestion for prayer was the catalyst for the First Congress hiring paid chaplains.

Contrary to Newdow’s claims, America’s Founding Fathers were explicit on the importance of God and religion in public life. Their deeds and their words prove this.

On this anniversary of that historic first congressional prayer, let us commit ourselves to making sure the United States of America remains as they would have it -- one nation under God.

Oh, I almost forgot. That prayer – the one by Duché – was offered in Jesus’ name.