Dr. Ben Carson

We used to characterize the Soviet Union as a godless, evil empire. Like many societies based on communism or socialism, the Soviets saw fit to minimize the importance of God and, in many cases, wreaked unimaginable persecution on religious people.

Why is faith in God anathema to such states? It's because they need to remove any authority other than themselves as the arbiter of right and wrong.

Interestingly, last year Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Euro-Atlantic countries, including the United States, of becoming godless and moving away from Christian values. Some may bristle at such an accusation, but when you consider that many Americans are hesitant even to mention God or Jesus in public, there may be some validity to his claim. We also casually have tossed out many of the principles espoused in the Bible and have concluded that there's no authority greater than man himself.

The separation clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is inappropriately applied to a host of situations that involve religion. By reinterpreting the law to mean separation of God and state, as opposed to the original intent of keeping the church from having undue influence over state affairs and keeping government from ruling the church, secular progressives have succeeded de facto in redefining part of the Constitution. Such success, however, can only be lasting if "we the people" continue to yield our values and beliefs in order to get along.

A number of years ago, some lawyers approached me to advise that we could not hang our "Think Big" banners in public schools. They claimed the "G" stood for God, and this would be tantamount to government endorsement of religion, which would be contrary to the First Amendment. I countered that the First Amendment also forbids government suppression of religious expression and suggested we pursue this argument at the U.S. Supreme Court.

This may have seemed like a bold and reckless statement, but it wasn't. I knew I would be going to the Supreme Court the next week to receive the Jefferson award and figured I would bring up this issue while I was there. And I did.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said we were nowhere near violating the First Amendment and that of course we could put up our banners in a public school without constitutional infringement. In this case, I did not back down in the face of bogus accusations, and we prevailed. We all must have the courage to fight for our beliefs, just as our predecessors fought for our future.