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HomeIllinois NewsThorner & O'Neil: Returning nation to its roots supercedes all else

Thorner & O’Neil: Returning nation to its roots supercedes all else




By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O'Neil - 

Donald Trump's unprecedented victory will be discussed and debated for many years as experts ponder how an outspoken, brash, non-politician, 70 year old man won the presidency over Hillary Clinton, with all her experience, money,  media, and Hollywood elites’ support.

The polls claimed Hillary was all set to break that glass ceiling and her team was so confident in her winning they had her coronation all planned. To their credit, American voters were paying more attention to the facts than they were the media or latest poll results and decided to take a chance on Trump rather than elect the terribly “flawed” candidate who would continue the liberal direction in which Obama had taken America. The 2016 election was a rejection of Obama’s policies and Hillary’s arrogance, combined with the hope Donald Trump would/could keep his campaign promise to make America great again.

Voters expect Trump and his administration to make the needed course corrections. We may differ about which issue should receive the most immediate attention, but illegal immigration must be at the top of the list knowing his promise to “build the wall” was what first caught and held the public's attention. It may not need to be a physical wall, but voters confirmed we want and need the security that only a strong, effective, strictly enforced border policy can provide.  

There are many serious issues in America today, all of which need a great deal of attention; however, one in particular should take precedence as it could lay the groundwork to help resolve the many others. Our nation must return to the “roots” provided us by our forefathers. We have strayed from so many of the outstanding values that made us special, which caused us to be respected and thus great. All of us, but especially our elected officials, need to revisit those principles and be reminded of the following famous quote from Alexis de Tocqueville whose long visits within America and writing about what he witnessed prompted his country’s people to ask what made America so great.  His simple response is awesome, but it comes with a warning to us:  “America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” 

We may disagree on what made or makes America great, but hopefully we all agree that it is wise for our leaders to be very cautious when they initiate new laws and remove or revise established ones. It is particularly dangerous and foolish to reverse established laws that have proved profitable, especially when the revisions are untested and thus offer no proof of being superior. Unfortunately, people in power have ignored this wisdom and changed our established laws based more on personal preferences than facts. Our generation has witnessed the repercussions of those ill-devised decisions. 

Separation of Church and State: an ill-devised decision

Consider a liberal Supreme Court’s insistence upon a separation of church and state. Historic evidence and precedents were clearly ignored in that decision, such as proof that our forefathers strongly valued and thus intentionally inserted religion into their private and public lives. 

Evidence of this is found in early manuscripts, documents, and statements from these early leaders.  Proof can also be found in the preambles to most every state constitution as well as in Bible verses imprinted on and within federal buildings and monuments throughout our states and Washington D.C. An example is the Washington Monument in D.C. which honors our first President. It has two words written at the very top:  “Laus Deo”, purposely placed atop the highest monument that overlooks the capitol of the United States.   The words “Laus Deo” mean “Praise be to God” suggesting our founder, Washington, as well as those in other powerful positions, believed God played a major part in their lives, their successes, and even America’s amazing victory for independence against a British army that was considerably larger and much better equipped than ours. 

The Washington Monument is just one of many within our nation's capitol city and throughout America that has biblical inscriptions etched within or upon them. Together, they clearly testify that our forefathers believed God to be an integral part of our governing, people, and country.  The proof is overwhelming and yet the highest Court in our land ignored it and subsequent generations and courts have chosen not to challenge the flawed decision.      

Christianity and our Forefathers

Consider that most but not all of our forefathers were Christian, yet none advocated that every American need confess their faith or even be a member of a church. Compelling evidence proves our founding fathers believed the Bible to be essential for a just and harmonious society.  President Washington’s Farewell Address testifies to this with the powerful statement:  “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”  

Ben Franklin substantiated that belief when he warned the irreligious Thomas Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?”  We need only look at the World today for the answer to this question, as we see crime and depravity increase at about the same proportion that church attendance decreased. 

Although our forefathers did not believe Christianity should be forced upon our citizens, they fully understood human nature and thus the advantages to society of Christianity being practiced and fully supported by its leaders to help prevent crime and chaos.

Historian Larry Schweikart’s research work substantiated this as well.  He confirmed that the founding documents of every one of the original thirteen colonies reveal them to be awash in the concepts of Christianity and God. Our early textbooks were written using Scriptures from the Bible, and our first American universities were chartered to teach the Christian doctrine. Students could not even enter Harvard, Yale, or Princeton without agreeing to follow the "Westminster Confession”, which listed strict rules of biblical based behavior.  In 1844, the Supreme Court challenged the idea of using Bible verses to teach English and morality in public school.  That and three other similar court cases resulted in verdicts that upheld the use of the Bible in public schools.  This begs the question how and why a subsequent Supreme Court ignored such precedents and have not since been legally challenged.

Supreme Court precedent uphold Bible use in public schools

One of those Supreme Court cases, Vidal verses Gerard, regarded a Philadelphia school that wanted to teach morals without using the Bible. The Court decision proclaimed:  "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principals of morality be learned so clearly or perfectly as from the New Testament?”  Thus the court concluded and confirmed that reading the New Testament in schools is not only acceptable but preferable.

In another challenge the court ruled and confirmed the former conclusion saying: "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind, and it is impossible that it should be otherwise: and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian."  The court quoted 87 different historical precedents to back up this decision, stated by the Founding Fathers, Acts of the Founding Fathers, and Acts of Congress.

Noah Webster, writing in the History of the United States, 1833, stated "the moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and law…All the miseries and evils which man suffer from:  vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”  Webster, one of the most respected scholars of his time, also made this statement on July 4, 1800 during an oration at Hanover, New Jersey:

To preserve the government we must also preserve morals.  Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper. 

If the above facts are not convincing enough that our forefathers believed it essential that our schools introduce and teach Bible scriptures in our schools, consider that the National Education Association (NEA), founded in 1892, stated the following in their published record: "…if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.”  

1962 ushered in a major change in Christianity and its role

Scholars and historians differ as to when and exactly what began the major change in America’s culture regarding Christianity and its role in our country. Some point to the year 1962 as the start, when the U.S. Supreme Court ignored established laws and former decisions on the subject to decide a similar case by ruling on the questionable basis that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment indicated that the government could no longer sponsor a prayer and require schoolchildren to say it.  This was considered a serious mistake by many law experts, including Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, a wise man and a visionary, who voiced this powerful dissent:    

With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an ‘official religion’ is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.  

While it is easy to understand why a Court would want to protect a student who preferred not to recite a prayer,  it is nevertheless questionable why a court would deny historical precedence and thus forbid prayers that the vast majority of students and parents prefer. This Court denied precedent, the opinion of other Justices, and the majority of citizens to render the unpopular decision.

It is important to consider that evidence gathered since that Court decision indicates Justice Stewart was correct. Our schools, society, even new laws reflect what our forefathers predicted: a decline in the principles that made us great. Even  Supreme Court justices are saying that we appear to be descending into tyranny. 

There will always be the temptation to change an established law to satisfy a specific and immediate concern. An example is the recent crowds protesting against what they perceive as police brutality.  However, changing or making new laws should always be a carefully studied process in which those in authority consider potential unintended consequences which could ultimately cause more harm than good.

A Word to the Wise

American citizens just elected a new President who in turn will select a new administration. There is no doubt these newly elected officials will make specific changes.  We can hope and pray they are positive ones. America’s past indicates our successes were mostly seen when men and women relied on God and His Word for guidance.  That should be our prayer for the Trump team, now tasked with the job to keep America strong. 

They would be wise to closely examine the words and intent of our amazing Constitution and Bill of Rights because these documents were not meant to be “living” and “changing” documents.  No indeed, these historical documents contain the wisdom of centuries which deserve and must be passed on to future generations for the continued success of our great country. 

May God bless our new President and his administration with wisdom and discernment that will ultimately benefit all our people and hopefully the World.  


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