Posted by: jhamon | July 3, 2009

Mr. Obama Has Got It Wrong

John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence, s...
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Mr. Obama has got it wrong.  Back in April he said: “One of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

Mr. Obama might need to brush up on the history of the United States and the thinking of the founding fathers this July 4th.  It’s not an accident that our country, the freest most productive society in human history, was founded by men who believed in the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The founding fathers – almost to a man – were Christians and Jews.  Reproduced below is a meditation on the biblical foundations of America, excerpted from A Time To Speak.

To the founders of the American nation, the biblical world was not something remote and foreign. The Bible was not merely revered; it was an integral and essential part of everyday life. People settling their new land of America called it their Canaan. They named their children Joseph and Samuel and Daniel, Sarah and Hannah and Abigail.

So deep went this identification, that in nineteenth-century New England the master novelist Herman Melville commented: “We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people, the Israel of our time. We bear the Ark of the liberties of the world.” 

Through the 17th and 18th centuries, Hebrew was the language of learned men, and higher education required a knowledge of it. Commencement addresses at Harvard University were for long delivered in Hebrew, and Yale University designed its official seal to depict the breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest.  The ceiling of the U.S. Supreme Court Chamber is painted with a depiction of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
 
Both Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin advocated that the seal of their newly-proclaimed nation depict a scene of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, the archetypal ascent to liberty. That did not come to pass, but the Children of Israel supplied the motto for the American Liberty Bell: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land Unto all the inhabitants thereof” ­– Leviticus 25:10. (That ideal has come full circle: Israelis have placed a replica of the Bell in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem.) 
 
The polity of the United States drew some of its principles from the parliamentary institutions of England, but others have more in common with the polity of biblical Israel:
– A nation based on confederation of distinct geo-political entities — whether tribes or colonies or states.
– A nation wherein all citizens are equal without distinctions of class or property. (This goal was long impeded by slavery and its aftermath of discrimination and repression.)
– A government that rules by consent of the governed, with strict limits on its power and protection of the rights of the citizens.
– A government in which the people choose those who will represent them and rule on their behalf, and who — as in biblical Israel — must be residents of the communities they represent.

It was The Founding Fathers’ faith that led them to build the foundations of this great land.  Let’s celebrate their faith this July 4th!

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Responses

  1. Oh please. If religion, and specifically the Abrahamic deity was so important to these guys, why is he mentioned exactly zero times in the Constitution? A bit strange if what you say is true, isn’t it, for them to completely omit what you think they considered most important?

    Thomas Jefferson the main author of the Declaration of Independence and major contributor in the writing of the Constitution made his own version of the Bible, the Jefferson Bible in which he literally sliced out with a razor blade all mention of miracles.

    I think you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

  2. I think there are some who do not know what they are talking about. Here is a quote from the President, “we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
    The problem comes from revisionist history that seems to do all it can to refute and negate the importance of our Christian heritage and to redefine tolerance with the goal to accept all manner of behavior that would be abhorrent to those Christian ideals. It is abundantly clear what ideals the founding fathers held dear because they are clearly evident from their legacy.

    • Well said.


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