Such was our founder’s belief in the preeminence of God that when the First Continental Congress convened in 1774, Massachusetts delegate Thomas Cushing suggested to the assembly that together they pray for divine guidance and protection. The historical events that would forever change the world were preparing to unfold: war loomed on the horizon; the Declaration of Independence would be signed, and a nation “conceived in liberty” would be born. In this moment, men of varied religious beliefs -- Presbyterians, Episcopalians, some Quakers, others Baptists or Congregationalists – were led in prayer by an Episcopal priest in an appeal to the almighty that was described as “extraordinary…filling the bosom of every man present.”
It would not be the last time the founders appealed to the Almighty God.
James Madison acknowledged God’s favor in our founding in Federalist 37 referring to “a finger of that almighty hand, which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” I dare say that men like Madison and Cushing would not recognize the America of today, filled with politicians afraid to confess their faith or educators fearful of offending the sensibilities of their students with any mention of God.
Math teacher Brad Johnson of Westview High School of the Poway School District in San Diego, California, is a case in point.
In 2007, Westview Principal Dawn Kastner ordered Johnson to remove banners hanging in his classroom because they contained the words “God” and “Creator.” According to media reports the banners, which had hung in his classroom for 25 years, measured approximately 7 feet long by 2 feet wide and carried the phrases: "In God We Trust," "One Nation Under God," "God Bless America," "God Shed His Grace on Thee" and "All Men Are Created Equal, They are Endowed by Their Creator."
Kastner objected to the banners, claiming that they promoted a Judeo-Christian viewpoint and might make some students feel uncomfortable. The school district agreed. Oddly enough neither Kastner nor school district officials were concerned with posters hanging in other classrooms containing Buddhist, Islamic, and Tibetan prayers or those containing anti-religious messages that might make Christians uncomfortable. What remains unclear is why those that preach diversity and tolerance seem incapable of practicing those same virtues when it comes to Christians and the role of Christian faith in our American history.
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