July 27, 2019
Subject: The Past 75 Years (1936 – 2011): America’s Deeply Rooted Christian Heritage, Part 3
Daniel 9:19 “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
Daniel was God’s prophet during that time when Babylon had captured Judah (550BC). Our verse this week is one example of Daniel’s petitioning the Lord to act for those in Israel who loved and obeyed Him, so that God’s presence would be made known and His people would be protected even while in captivity. As we continue in our study of America’s Christian heritage, now 2,500 years later, we see a similar history of petitioning God to act on behalf of His great name and for those in America who continue to love Him.
In March 1943, President Herbert Hoover issued a joint statement with the widows of several former presidents, saying: “We must seek revival of our strength in the spiritual foundations which are the bedrock of our republic. Democracy is the outgrowth of the religious conviction of the sacredness of every human life. On the religious side, its highest embodiment is the Bible; on the political side, the Constitution.”
On April 28, 1952, Justice William O. Douglas, in the case of Zorach vs. Clauson, wrote for the Supreme Court, “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Douglas concluded that the Court could not “read into the Bill of Rights a philosophy of hostility to religion.”
On June 14, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a joint resolution adding the phrase “One Nation Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and stated, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future. In this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”
On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur spoke to the Cadets at West Point, “The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in His image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.”
In May 1963, Wernher von Braun, the father of the American space and rocket program, wrote in the American Weekly that religion and science were not enemies but “sisters.” He said “It is difficult for me to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe. Viewing the awesome reaches of space, it should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator.”
On January 25, 1984, President Ronald Reagan used part of his State of the Union Address to promote the freedom to acknowledge God in public schools: “Each day your members observe a 200-year-old tradition meant to signify America is one nation under God. I must ask: If you can begin your day with a member of the clergy standing right here leading you in prayer, then why can’t freedom to acknowledge God be enjoyed again by children in every school room across this land?”
On December 20, 1988, in his last Christmas Eve radio address, President Ronald Reagan said, “Tomorrow is a day for celebration: celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Joy envelops us, as it must have enveloped our ancestors 1,988 years ago when unto us a Child was born.”
On April 6, 2007, President George W. Bush issued his Easter message: “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event of the Christian faith. Easter morning holds wonder and promise, and it is a chance for people everywhere to gather with family and friends to celebrate the power of love conquering death. In this season of renewal, we can rejoice in Christ’s rising, draw strength and inspiration from His example, and remember that in the end, even death itself will be defeated. On this powerful day, let us join together and give thanks to the Almighty for the glory of His grace.”
On January 20, 2009, Pastor Rick Warren, at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, said this: “Almighty God, Our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of You alone. It all comes from You, it all belongs to You, it all exists for Your glory. I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life – Jesus – who taught us to pray.”
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.