By Pat Boone
Originally published: Feb 9, 2005
You're looking at one fortunate guy.
I started to say "lucky" -- but I know it's not luck. For reasons only God can explain to me some day, I am blessed. I was born in America, to begin with.
Though I'm blessed to have been born to exceptional and loving parents, and have a great brother and two beautiful sisters -- if I had been born in Mongolia, or Yugoslavia or Pakistan, or indeed anywhere else in the world, my story would be vastly different.
A Blessed Nation
Above all other people on the face of the earth, we are the most blessed.
As you know, the first explorers and settlers who arrived here, welcomed by the Indians in most cases, were Christian people from various backgrounds and occupations, looking for a "promised land" where they could be free, and self-governed, make their own decisions about where they'd live, what they'd do and say, and above all be free to worship God as their consciences and their Bibles instructed them to do. They took enormous, almost incalculable risks, endured tremendous hardships, cut themselves off from everything in their past, and found their way through largely uncharted seas to a new land. And here, they founded a new society, a new Republic eventually, predicated upon -- and dedicated to preserving -- liberty
For over 200 years, our forbears fought numerous wars, shed blood on our soil and abroad, fought and argued and sacrificed, and many died, simply to defend and preserve our way of life, and its foundation -- liberty.
In short, America, as folks my age knew it, in our younger years, was the closest thing to an ideal society this world has ever known, and it was certainly the envy of the rest of the world. We all thought it would go on forever that way, didn't we?
Who could take away our liberty?
We were the strongest military power in the world, we were the richest nation in the world, one of the most populous, and we had proved again and again that we would successfully defend our rights against all opposition. Right?
How, then, have we become the generation that has begun to see our liberties lost, our cherished freedoms slipping away, our ideal society dissolving into humanistic, secularist contentious chaos?
Is it possible -- even thinkable -- that after enjoying 200 years of unbridled freedom we, in one or two generations, can throw away, or have wrenched from us, all our liberties? We can -- and it's happening!
A few years ago, Bill Clinton and Al Gore promised to "reinvent" the American form of government and to "redefine" what it means to be Americans in this century. And they set out vigorously to do it. Some of you remember as well as I, some of their earliest decisions and programs, sending shock waves through the military and through 260 million citizens!
Even before that, through the last two decades, laws that once provided order and restraint had been tossed out by high courts and local magistrates, often by fiat -- individual pronouncement. As a consequence, crime and every form of immorality rage across the land today. Pornography, not just in innocuous brown mailers, but in celebrated movies, whole TV channels, best-selling books and magazines -- and now on the Internet -- has been legitimized.
Bizarre, unnatural sexual practices are now protected, glamorized on award winning television shows and promoted as "rights".
The family, always the cherished cornerstone of our society, is being torn apart and "redefined" by the liberal policies of government and cynical arbitrary judges. We -- the richest nation on earth -- have the highest crime rate, the highest incidence of murder and robbery, and the greatest percentage of its citizens behind bars of any country! From coast to coast, we are threatened by the greatest siege of barbarism since the fall of Rome!
Millions of peace loving citizens, who don't even know how to shoot 'em, want guns. Drugs are everywhere, available instantly to school kids -- who are forbidden by their teachers to pray or do any schoolwork quoting the Bible. A people who always preached and practiced thrift and fiscal responsibility -- are buried under trillions of dollars of debt. An aroused citizenry, just a few years ago, elected a new Congressional majority to carry out a Contract with America -- and to this moment, that new majority has been so stymied by a liberal (largely non-elected) establishment -- that includes most of the media, special interests and in some cases the President and his advisors, that they appear stalled, confused and disheartened.
How has this happened?
The Greek philosopher Heraclites said, "A man's character is his fate."
In 1820 Alexis de Tocqueville, after a bloody French revolution that overthrew the government and the church and instituted a humanistic, atheistic regime, toured the United States and wrote a famous book. In it, he said, "America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
Here was an objective outsider, trying to understand the open and honest and contagiously optimistic American society, correctly identifying the source -- America's character.
Almost 40 years before, old Benjamin Franklin -- never labeled a religious fanatic by any means -- said in 1787:
"Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom; As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Yes, though ol' Ben Franklin, the author of POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC, and world-class inventor, was never a regular churchgoer (and was known to enjoy more than one glass of wine on occasion), he rose in the middle of a stalled Constitutional Convention in 1787 and called passionately for prayer! Our history books have somehow largely ignored this climactic moment, but it is a matter of record that the Convention which had been assembled to write our Constitution was terribly embroiled in bitter debates over states' rights and representation, and some delegates had actually left the Convention.
"God governs in the affairs of men"
James Madison records that 81 year old Ben Franklin, the Governor of Pennsylvania, and greatly respected by all present, rose to speak in this moment of crisis. In hushed silence, he reminded the delegates that when the 13 colonies had been threatened with tragedy and extinction in their war with Great Britain, just a few years earlier, "We had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.
"To that kind of Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.
"And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
"I therefore, beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."
"The Doctor sat down; and never did I behold a countenance at once so dignified and delighted as was that of Washington at the close of the address; nor were the members of the convention generally less affected. The words of the venerable Franklin fell upon our ears with a weight and authority, even greater than we may suppose an oracle to have had in a Roman senate!"
Following Franklin's historical address, James Madison moved, seconded by Roger Sherman of Connecticut, that Dr. Franklin's appeal for prayer be enacted. Edmund Jennings Randolph of Virginia further moved:
"That a sermon be preached at the request of the convention on the 4th of July, the anniversary of Independence; and thenceforward prayers be used in ye Convention every morning."
Things they never told you
Did you know that prayers have opened both houses of Congress ever since, to this very day?
Does that surprise you?
Haven't we been told that our forefathers weren't especially "religious" and that they wanted to establish a secular republic -- that would of course, allow "religious" people to worship if they wanted to? And what about that "separation of church and state"?
Yes, what about that "separation of church and state"? Didn't that originate with Thomas Jefferson?
Yes, it did, and though Thomas Jefferson wrote not only the Declaration of Independence but contributed in no small measure to the Constitution itself, the words "separation of church and state" are found nowhere in either document. But the principle Jefferson meant to convey in that five word term was expressed beautifully and completely in the First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion -- nor restricting the free exercise thereof."
Later, in a letter he wrote to a church in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802, President Jefferson assured the Baptists that America would not become a Church of England state, and that government would keep its hands off all religious expression. Is that the way we hear it quoted today? Of course not.
Few know, or certainly want to bring it to our attention, that while President, Thomas Jefferson and Congress appropriated tax payer funds for the building of more churches and payment to preachers who would "teach the Gospel" to the Indians! Taxpayer funding to preach the gospel! And further, while he was president, Thomas Jefferson often attended church on Sundays in Washington at the largest meeting place in the country -- the Hall of Congress itself! On Sundays, Congress itself was a church!. Clearly Jefferson's wall was meant to be one dimensional, restricting any attempt by government to suppress or direct the people's expressions of faith.
A Christian Coalition Takeover?
Many today are expressing concerns that a Christian Coalition is "seizing control" of school boards and local governments, trying to "force their views" on an unsuspecting public. It seems to have escaped their attention that The Christian Coalition is made up of the very type people that wrote the Constitution itself!
It may surprise you that early America, colonial and constitutional was 98% Christian! The other 2% was Jewish. And so this "Christian Coalition" put the Star of David and the Menorah on our currency. That's how biased they were.
I'll say it again. The Constitution itself was written by a Christian coalition! Further, the Constitution of the State of Delaware, following up on the expressed intentions of the writers of that document, required all office holders to swear in public their faith in God, in Christ, in the Holy Ghost and to acknowledge the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures! This is what our founding fathers, the framers of the Constitution, intended to preserve for us today! Were these men -- and their spiritual descendants -- unworthy of our trust?
Or have we become unworthy of theirs?
For 150 years, that old Constitution and its Amendments served us well, preserved a healthy and moral society that made us unique in human history. And as late as 1931 the U. S. Supreme Court declared in a decision, "We are a Christian people".
What was that about a "secular" society?
And were we intended to keep God out of the affairs of state? Listen again to the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident -- that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Wait a minute! These guys are reflecting their personal religious faith in a governmental document! And they're claiming that a Creator God is the actual source of all our inalienable rights! Why, that's -- downright unconstitutional, isn't it?
No -- that is the Constitution! A great Chief Justice once said, "The Declaration is the promise, the Constitution its fulfillment". Not only is the whole Constitution constructed on Judeo/Christian Bible principles, but one of the three main contributors to the substance of the Constitution, was John Jay. He became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose duty was to interpret and underscore the original intentions of the founding fathers. He said, "This document has created a Christian society; its citizens would be well advised to select Christians to represent them." Do you suppose People For The American Way and the ACLU have missed that?
And what does the First Amendment to our Constitution say? I don't mean just the first part of it, that you so often hear quoted, but all of it? "Congress shall enact no laws establishing religion -- nor restricting the free exercise thereof"! Wonder why there�s so much emphasis these days on the first part of that Amendment, and almost no mention of the second half?
Well, many today are saying, "If you let 'those Christians' have their way, they'll force their puritanical views on all of us, and we won't be a free society anymore." Wrong! The historical record proves exactly the reverse: the application of Judeo/Christian principles in the laws and policies of this nation actually provided unprecedented freedom for people of all faiths -- and no faith, as well. Contrast that with the example of one atheistic woman, Madalyn Murray O'Hare, and her successful campaign to take away from a 95% majority of Americans the right to express their faith openly, in any public place! That's oppression of the majority, and a real subversion of intended freedom. It's a democracy turned upside down and backwards.
If ol' Ben Franklin could come back from the grave, he'd love to get his hands on the judge that rendered that decision, perverting and misusing the Constitution that Franklin himself prayed over.
People, this is our national, spiritual, philosophical DNA -- it's our character -- it's our identity -- it was never supposed to change. But in the last 30 years, some political "scientists" have been doing genetic engineering, tampering, changing, altering our national character. And -- as de Tocqueville prophesied, "If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
How is liberty lost?
Two ways -- abuse and apathy.
We've talked plenty about abuse. The freedoms of press and speech have been so mercilessly stretched, taken advantage of, and misapplied that they now protect pornography, blasphemy, sedition, libel and slander, virtually every distortion man is capable of, and all claim the Constitution as their "protector". Currently, media moguls are berating the duly elected conservative Congress for threatening to "take away necessary funding for the Arts -- slaughtering our culture in the name of financial responsibility."
WRONG! These men and women need to realize it's they who are "slaughtering our culture" and causing the threatened withdrawal of taxpayer funding because they have so abused our liberties that we don't recognize them anymore, and aren't sure we want them.
The guarantee of "inalienable rights" was perverted by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which in turn has led to nearly 60 million child deaths in America since the decision. What started as apparent concern for a rape or incest victim, or a mother whose life was threatened, has been warped and misused into literal wholesale slaughter on the altar of expediency.
Freedom of religion has been distorted into freedom from religion. In our own governmental Department of Transportation there are several authorized gay and lesbian groups that meet regularly on government property, and under government auspices. But a Christian club that wanted the same freedom has been denied the same rights, because they wouldn't subscribe to the official government policy that homosexuality is an acceptable and alternative lifestyle, and wouldn't allow practicing homosexuals to be part of their membership. In other words, one group has rights -- the other doesn't!
Liberty has been wrenched into grotesque license. That's what abuse does, inevitably, and that's why Ben Franklin said, "As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." When we lose our character, our spiritual DNA, we will inevitably lose our freedom.
The other enemy is apathy.
Did you know that less than 52% of the registered Christian voters voted in 1992? There were even smaller percentages of other ethnic and racial groups, but morally committed Christians could easily have made the difference in the future of America simply by voting!
But there is abroad in the land a sense of helplessness, a futility, of "que sera sera", and "whatever will be, will be."
Our people are losing heart, losing resolve, losing hope -- and that too is a result of our changing DNA, and the flagrant abuse of our liberties.
What can we do?
Can lost liberty be regained? YES IT CAN!
First of all, CARE! Be informed, inform yourself about our origins, the intentions of our forefathers, and then rededicate yourself and your family to being Americans like Jefferson and Madison and Adams, and openly exhorting your neighbors to do the same.
ACT! Get involved in local school boards, write your representatives and senators, and even judges and mayors and governors frequently, and let them know what you think, and that you're watching what they do! And at the very least, VOTE in every election, no matter how inconsequential you may think it is. Countless Americans died to preserve that privilege for you -- don't throw it away as if it had no value to you.
And finally, though most importantly, PRAY! Thundering through history, come the unrepealed words of the promise God gave to Solomon, "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land." II Chron. 7:14)
I was privileged, along with Vonette Bright and Shirley Dobson, and a number of others, including Rabbis and various ministers, to be a leader in the group that convinced Ronald Reagan to sign into law the National Day of Prayer. That's the first Thursday of May every year, but one day a year is not enough! You and I must pray, every day, privately and publicly, that God will restore our liberty, rebuild our national character, and that His will will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
We need to repent, personally and nationally, and cry FREEDOM, in His name. For "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is -- liberty."
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