Even God can’t alter the past, but politicians sure try to change history. Our Declaration of Independence bases our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on our Creator. Fifty-two of the fifty-five Founding Fathers who worked on the Constitution were active members of an orthodox Christian faith. They’d be shocked at the attempts to banish God from the public square. Presidents like Washington, Adams, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Reagan, and Bush had no trouble affirming our nation’s Christian underpinnings.
John Adams noted the importance of faith in maintaining a just and civil society: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, repeatedly affirmed the importance of Christianity: “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. …Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Secular relativism may rebel at such statements today, but as Feodor Dostoevski warned, "Without God, all things are permissible." America’s moral compass has been largely built on the Judeo-Christian view of right and wrong. While protecting the rights of citizens of other faiths, we should never be ashamed to affirm the central role Christianity has played in making America what it is today.
The next time President Obama welcomes Muslim leaders, I’d hope he’d change the script in his tele-prompter: “Just as you value your Muslim heritage and faith, we as Americans celebrate our Judeo-Christian heritage. For our rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness come not from Presidents or legislators, but from God. It’s our Christian values that have driven us to extend those freedoms to others, even if it means sending our young men and women to defend Muslim citizens in Bosnia and to free Muslims from tyranny in Iraq. It’s that same freedom in America that allows our Muslim citizens to freely exercise their faith without fear of persecution. We are not at war with Islam; we ask you to not be at war with Christians or Jews. We want to work with you and other responsible members of the international community to extend religious freedom to citizens throughout the world.”
We deserve presidents who are proud of our country. As a Christian himself, I’d hope that President Obama could both affirm his own faith and proudly honor America’s Christian majority for supporting equal rights for other faiths. Diplomacy requires gentleness and respect; it doesn’t require discounting our own history and core values.
As for the demise of the Christian faith, I’d put my bet on God sticking around longer than any magazine or newspaper!