OUR GOD & OUR COUNTRY
BY DR. JAMES DOBSON
On April 9, 1996, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered an historic address at the invitation of the Mississippi College School of Law, a Baptist school. Though no printed texts are available and his remarks were not recorded electronically, excerpts of Justice Scalia’s speech were reported in the news media the following day and continue to reverberate throughout the
nation. Indeed, his speech generated a firestorm of criticism among indignant members of the liberal press. Like Vice President Dan Quayle’s controversial “Murphy Brown” speech in 1992, Justice Scalia had the audacity to be politically incorrect in the public square.
Scalia’s address dealt with the ridicule of Christians in the United States and the disdain in which their cherished beliefs are held by the cultural elite. Perhaps his comments on that day were motivated by cover stories in Time, I Newsweek’ and US News and World Report, I each questioning the historic validity of Jesus’ resurrection. Not surprisingly, those stories ran during or near Easter week, when Christians were celebrating the risen Savior.
Scalia’s speech was reported in this manner:
“Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modem society,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday, offering a rare glimpse of his private views. “We are fools for Christ’s sake,” the conservative jurist said. “We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world.”
Scalia said intellectuals through history have rejected miracles and the Easter story. “The wise do not investigate such silliness,” he said sarcastically. “They do not believe [in the resurrection of the dead.]” Scalia said it’s “irrational ” to reject miracles. “One can be sophisticated and believe in God. Reason and intellect are not to be laid aside where matters of religion are concerned.”‘
He [Scalia] took note … that the word “cretin,” or fool, is derived from the French word for “Christian.”
“To be honest about it, that is the view of Christians taken by modem society,” Mr. Scalia told 650 persons… “Surely those who adhere to all or most of these traditional Christian beliefs are to be regarded as simpleminded.”
“To many Americans,” he added sarcastically, “everything from the Easter morning to the Ascension had to be made up by the groveling enthusiasts [the disciples] as part of their plan to get themselves martyred.”
Only a few excerpts from Scalia’s speech have been published to date, but they were enough to bring down the roof. Prominent editorial writers, columnists and cultural elites were appalled at his audacity. They came after the justice with a vengeance, just as he knew they would, and just as they regularly castigate another conservative justice, notably Clarence Thomas.
Richard Cohen, reporter for The Washington Post, wrote, “I am less enamored of Scalia than some of my colleagues. I think this Supreme Court justice is a cheap shot artist…” Cohen went on to talk about Scalia’s “foolishness,” and concluded by writing, “Scalia’s remarks are jarring. Whatever his intentions, he showed himself to be a man who misjudges the nature and the motives of those who insist on a constitutional wall between church and state. It seems his mind is made up on such matters and anyone who thinks Scalia will give First Amendment issues a fair and reasoned hearing is, it seems, proceeding in a way Scalia would appreciate: solely on faith.”
Jamin B. Raskin, a professor of constitutional law at American University in Washington, D.C., said Scalia “stepped over the line of what is proper … we expect Supreme Court justices to be the most secular of our public servants. That is not to say that they can’t have religious beliefs. But for good reasons, we are uncomfortable about them flaunting those beliefs.”
That about says it all, doesn’t it? We can hear the mantra of the culturally elite within Raskin’s remark: It’s OK to have weird spiritual notions-as long as they don’t leak into the open where they can embarrass everybody. They must remain intensely private, like a bad case of hemorrhoids. The only person who’s supposed to know they’re there is the pathetic guy who suffers from them.
Elliot Mincberg, legal director for People for the American Way, also found Scalia’s words to be “troubling” because they so closely resemble those used by Christian political activists Pat Robertson and Patrick Buchanan. He wrote, “This is a disturbing view for a Supreme Court justice to have.”
Heaven forbid that a public servant should even sound like a conservative Christian. Please note that Mincberg’s comment reveals the very disdain which the justice was trying to describe.
Then to the surprise of no one, Barry Lynn, of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, added his voice to the chorus. Lynn makes a living trying to censor conservative Christians who have the temerity to express their views in public. This is the man who testified on behalf of the ACLU during the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, on which I served, and unashamedly defended the sale and distribution of child pornography in the open marketplace. I hope you will remember what he stands for when you hear him complain to the media about Christians participating in any public forum. If you are a conservative believer, Lynn feels you should check in your constitutional rights at the door. Everyone else, including Barry himself, is entitled to freedom of speech.
With reference to Justice Scalia’s remarks, Lynn said, “[this] undermines public confidence in his objectivity [regarding religious controversies].”
Liberal members of the clergy also ganged up on Scalia. The executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., James Dunn (who is not supported by all Baptists), scoffed at the Justice’s claim that Christians are the subject of scorn and discrimination within the culture. He said:
This is becoming a modern myth that religion is somehow persecuted in American life. It’s a right-wing litmus test. If you don’t say religion is being beat up on, then you aren’t pitifully [sic] correct. Everyone is competing to see who can whine the loudest.
If the American people were as anti-religious as everyone says, then a Supreme Court justice wouldn’t have the right to run around saying things like that.”
During an appearance on CNN’s television program “Crossfire,” Dunn was asked if he believed in the miracles of which Scalia spoke. He replied, “Yeah, I believe in miracles. I believe in the essential miracle of incarnation, and after that, all the rest are downhill from there.”
Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Herblock featured this commentary on the speech in hundreds of the nation’s largest newspapers, read daily by millions of people.”
Herblock’s commentary, depicted here, is interesting in light of the symbolism in the U.S. Supreme Court building. Carved on one of its interior walls is a rendering of Moses holding the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written.” Oh well! Herblock was never accused of being fair or objective.
And so the rhetoric has flowed like hot lava for the past couple of months. To the political pundits and Washington insiders, it was unthinkable and dangerous for a Supreme Court justice to speak so openly of his faith and the plight of Christian people in this nation. Justice Scalia, they claim, has severely undermined the wall separating church and state.” And everyone knows our founding fathers would have blanched at the thought of government officials admitting they are Christians.
At least, that’s what People for the American Way and activists like Barry Lynn would have us believe-that our ancestors intentionally excluded God from every vestige of public life. But will that claim withstand the scrutiny of history’? Were Justice Scalia’s words so out of character from those of his predecessors?
Fortunately, the inspirational writings and speeches of our national heroes have been well documented down through history. Let’s take a moment to read what some of these great men had to say during their day in the limelight. I hope you will read these remarkable statements with care, each of which has been carefully documented and verified. You’ll hear within them the echoes of past generations-though long dead-as they tell us what they believed and why their convictions were vital to the well-being of the country. I was deeply moved as I read these expressions of faith, and I think you will be, too.
We’ll begin with statements made by former Supreme Court justices, since many of Scalia’s critics asserted that people in his exalted position have no right to “go public” with their faith. As Raskin asserted, a justice should be “the most secular of our public servants.” We’ll see just how “secular” (i.e., nonreligious) Scalia’s predecessors were.
What better place to start than with the words of the first chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable John Jay, who had also served as governor of New York. He wrote:
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty… of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.-1816
In 1892, Justice David Brewer, writing for the majority in the case of the Church of the Holy Trinity vs. the United States, said this:
This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this a formation … We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth … These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.-1892
Justice William 0. Douglas wrote succinctly:
We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.-1952
One of our more liberal Supreme Court chief justices, Earl Warren, left no doubt about what he believed in a 1954 speech reported in Time magazine. I consider this quote to be breathtaking, considering how recently it was made and that it was uttered by a chief justice who is not remembered as a conservative jurist. This is what he said:
I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia or to the Charier of New England or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut … the same objective is present … a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it.- freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people … I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.-1954
There have been other strong statements of faith by justices of the Supreme Court, but in the interest of time and space, let’s turn now to what our presidents have said about their beliefs down through the ages. We’ll begin, appropriately, with our first president, George Washington, writing a prayer addressed to “O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ.” He concluded with these words:
… Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy word … Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life. Bless, 0 Lord, all the people of this land -1752″
John Adams, our first vice president and second president, wrote:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.- 1798
Thomas Jefferson, our third president and one of the principle framers of the Constitution-a man who, revisionists tell us, wanted a “wall of separation” to protect the government from people of faith-wrote the words that now appear on his memorial in Washington, D.C.:
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?- 1781
Our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said this:
No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible. -circa 1812
Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the Foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?-1837
Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, made this statement:
Sir, I am in the hands of a merciful God. I have full confidence in his goodness and mercy … The Bible is true … I have tried to conform to its spirit as near as possible. Upon that sacred volume I rest my hope for eternal salvation, through the merits and blood of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.-1845
The Christian writings and pronouncements of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, would fill an entire book. The following statement was made when Lincoln assumed leadership over a nation on the brink of war:
Unless the great God who assisted [President Washington], shall be with me and aid me, I must fail. But if the same omniscient mind, and Almighty arm, that directed and protected him, shall guide and support me, I shall not fail … Let us pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now.-1861
I must include another quote from Lincoln that is one of my favorites:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and, forgiveness.-1863
Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, wrote this:
In this actual world, a churchless community a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down-grade.-1917
Here are the words of Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president and governor of New Jersey:
America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture.” 1911
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, said this about America’s founding fathers:
They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self-government. They were an inspired body of men. It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness … Who can fail to see it in the hand of Destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?-1923
Franklin Roosevelt prayed this prayer on a national radio hookup on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as our troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France:
Almighty God … with Thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogance. Lead us to the saving of our country. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen. -1944
Harry Truman, our 33rd president, wasn’t known to be a deeply committed believer. Nevertheless, he understood the spiritual heritage of this nation:
If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear… That is a supreme opportunity for the church to continue to fulfill its mission on earth. The Protestant church, the Catholic church, and the Jewish synagogue-bound together in the American unity of brotherhood-must provide the shock forces to accomplish this moral and spiritual awakening. No other agency can do it. Unless it is done, we are headed for the disaster we would deserve. Oh, for an Isaiah or a St. Paul to reawaken a sick world to its moral responsibilities.-1946
Gerald Ford, our 38th president, quoted a 1955 speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 5, 1974:
Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first-the most basic-expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.-1974
Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, gave a speech in which he included this statement:
The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom and open-mindedness. Question: isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives.-1984
Those were some of the expressions of faith offered by our chief executives through nearly 220 years of American history, not just from the founding fathers. The motto “In God We Trust” was adopted by Congress as recently as 1956. Hundreds of other quotes exist in the record, including brilliant statements by military heroes, authors and patriots such as Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry and Robert E. Lee. I can’t read their writings without marveling at the spiritual heritage that has been handed down to us through the ages. But these statements of faith also evoke a certain sadness over what is happening to our great country today.
We are witnessing an unprecedented campaign to secularize our society and “de-moralize” our institutions from the top down. The effort, now in its fourth decade, has been enormously successful. Most forms of prayer have been declared unconstitutional in the nation’s schools, even that which is student initiated. The Ten Commandments have been prohibited on school bulletin boards. Secular universities are blatantly hostile to Christian precepts, and the media screams “Foul!” whenever someone like Justice Scalia speaks openly of his beliefs. In this wonderful land of the free we have gagged and bound all of our public officials, our teachers, our elected representatives and our judges. Since we have effectively censored these and their expressions of faith in public life, the predictable is happening: a generation of young people is growing up with very little understanding of the spiritual principles on which our country was founded. And we wonder why so many of them can kill, steal, take drugs and engage in promiscuous sex with no pangs of conscience. We have taught them that right and wrong are arbitrary-subjective–changing. They learned their lessons well.
Having turned the culture upside-down, the secularists appear now to have agreed upon three specific mechanisms to complete the task of immobilizing and silencing conservative Christians. You can find evidence of these strategies in your own communities and schools.
1. The first goal is to deny our Judeo-Christian roots and rewrite our historical record. Children in public schools, for example, have never heard the expressions of faith cited in this letter. They celebrate the pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving each November on this continent, but are not told to whom those early settlers were thankful. God has been excised from that story-and every other account of devotion to or dependence on Him.” It’s as though our ancestors were entirely pagan in their beliefs. As the quotations above have shown, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Fortunately, those who would rid us of our spiritual heritage have an impossible task on their hands. To sanitize our history, it would be necessary to expunge all official records, bum old textbooks, close the Library of Congress, destroy the existing diaries and letters and sandblast half the buildings in Washington, D.C. And still the evidences of our faith would exist. An image of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives; our coins proclaim, “In God We Trust”; our Pledge of Allegiance declares that we are “one nation, under God”; our Declaration of Independence asserts that we are “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights;” the oath of office for the presidency ends with the phrase, “so help me God”; and on it goes.
Given this vast volume of historical evidence, it is utterly foolish to deny that we have been, from the beginning, a people of faith whose government is built wholly on a Judeo-Christian foundation. Yet those of our people who do not study history can be duped into believing anything. Indeed, that is what is happening to adults who are too busy to care and to a younger generation absorbed with video games, television, movies, rock music, and the Internet.
2. The second objective of the revisionists is to convince the American people that Christians, specifically those with conservative inclinations, are in violation of the Constitution whenever they advocate their views beyond the front doors of their sanctuaries. Liberal activists would have us believe our founding fathers were terrified at the prospect of Christians participating in the political process. This led them, we’re told, to protect the government from religious meddling. But no such provision appears in the Constitution or any of the foundational documents. The principle of separation of church and state is found only in one of Jefferson’s letters,” and referred, not to the exclusion of religious people from government, but to the protection of religion from governmental interference. Now Jefferson’s personal comment in that private letter, which was never endorsed or ratified by Congress or the electorate, has been twisted in its meaning and given the weight of constitutional law.
Listen to the rhetoric of those who seek to suppress Christian participation in government. It has become more oppressive and extreme year by year.
Rep. Vic Fazio, D-Calif., said at the National Press Club, 1994: “[The religious right] are demanding their rightful seat at the table, and that is what the American people fear the most.” (Can you imagine our audacity-wanting a place at the table of democracy?)
Fazio, referring to evangelical activists as “the fire-breathing Christian Radical Right,” said it wants “to carry views that are distinctly religious over into government and try to impose those as laws … These are the kinds of things that trouble people who believe in the Constitution.”” (By the way, when liberals work for what they believe, they are never accused of “imposing” their will on others. Only when Christians tamper with public policy is this charge made.)
So alarmed was Rep. Fazio by active Christians that he allegedly formed the “Radical Right Task Force,” to focus on “how we can dissuade … churches from getting involved in partisan politics.”‘ Maybe Fazio would sleep better if he was reminded that the IRS already prevents churches from engaging in “partisan politics”-i.e., endorsing candidates and political parties. So what is his “task force” really trying to do?
President Bill Clinton also spoke out against what he called “the extreme conservative movement in America.”” He said he disliked calling them “religious conservatives,” which he considered a misnomer.” Instead, he used the term “radical night.
In 1994, Mr. Clinton represented the United States at the 50th anniversary remembrance of the Normandy invasion in France. He said of that occasion, “It occurred to me that those people [the men who risked their lives on those bloody beaches] did not die so the American people could indulge themselves in the luxury of cynicism.”
Think about that comment for a moment. Who in government is qualified to evaluate our private attitudes and determine which of them is and is not appropriate? I submit that those brave men in Normandy did give their lives to preserve for us the luxury of thinking and saying whatever seems right to us-even if our ideas appear unacceptable to those in power. That is known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH, and it is gloriously protected in the Bill of Rights. Yes, it even includes that which is deemed by some to be “cynical.”
It’s not just politicians who would limit the participation in government of those with whom they disagree:
Educational seminars have been held at taxpayers’ expense all across the nation to disseminate ways schools can combat the influence of conservative Christian parents.
Every year, the American Library Association publishes a list, eagerly awaited by the media, that cites “censorship” episodes in the past 12 months. The vast majority of the examples given represent concerns expressed by parents about what their own children are reading and seeing. That, they say, is censorship.”
In May 1989, the American Bar Association conducted a seminar in San Francisco devoted to the topic, “Expanding Use of Tort Law Against Religions.” Workshops were also offered on the “Liability of Clergy as Spiritual Counselors’ ” “Liability of Religious Bodies and Affiliated Entities,” and this one, which best illustrates the ABA’s agenda: “Toil Law as an Ideological Weapon.”
Barry Lynn, alarmed at the audacity of conservative Christians, said about the threat we pose: “We mainstream Americans have been asleep at the switch, and we need to become better organized, phone radio talk shows to complain about intolerant views and incorrect information …”
Jim Wallis of Sojourners said, “I want to say to the Religious Right: Stop talking about making this a Christian nation.”
In the May 20, 1996, edition of Christianity Today, senior editor Edward C. Dobson (no relation) published an article entitled, “Taking Politics Out of the Sanctuary.” In it he offers the rhetoric heard commonly today among pastors and theologians who seek to disengage the church from the culture in which it exists. Like others who have made this case, the author draws no distinction between political issues, such as the election of candidates to public office, and the profound moral issues that are debated in the political arena. He categorically states, “We should keep the church out of partisan politics and political action.”” I wonder if Edward Dobson would consider the murdering of seven pound babies, 80 percent delivered, to be a partisan and political issue? I wonder if he would perceive physician-assisted suicide, voluntary and involuntary, to be partisan and political? I wonder if there is anything occurring in public policy that he would consider of relevance to the church?
Thank God when slavery was rampant in the 19th century, some pastors and their congregations had the courage to confront this, the most partisan and political issue in American history.
Rev. Charles Finney, the 19th century evangelist, understood the vital role of the church in influencing public policy. He wrote in the early 1800s: “The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics … God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the church will take right ground.”
If I appear to be overreacting to the efforts to censor people of faith, be assured that hundreds of others have also expressed concern about what is happening. A lead editorial in the Virginian-Pilot read, “Me critics, Democrats and Republicans alike, seem to be implying that religious conservatives have no right to participate in the political process. This is utterly in opposition to the American tradition of political and religious tolerance and open participation. It is cynical at best and bigotry at worst. Honorable people have an obligation to say so.”
The Wall Street Journal put it this way, “Mere is something, it must be said, wonderful in the spectacle of all these defenders of democracy and pluralism now busy alerting the nation to the menace of the ‘Christian right.’ For the menace, in their descriptions, all comes down to the same remarkable charge: namely that Evangelicals and other Christians have committed the crime of getting into politics to make their views heard. In the strange view of the defenders of ‘pluralism,’ getting into public politics is equal to ‘extremism.'”
Don Feder, a syndicated columnist who happens to be Jewish, recently wrote a wonderfully supportive piece on this subject. He said, “The secularists worry about Christians–Christians clinging to their morality, Christians publicly displaying their symbols, Christians objecting to unequal treatment by public institutions, Christians intruding in the political arena (as the founders did). As those issues that divide us most deeply (abortion, gay rights, public subsidies for smut masquerading as art, school brainwashing) all have a spiritual dimension, Christian-bashing is bound to increase.”
3. Speaking of Christian-bashing, the third strategy of the secularists is to embarrass, insult, shout down and mischaracterize conservative Christians, hoping to intimidate them into silence. The names “radical right,” “far right” “extreme right” and “Christian night” are part of the effort to marginalize and demoralize those with traditional views. (When is the last time you heard homosexual activists or abortionists referred to as the “Radical Left?”)
A classic example of this strategy occurred after the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995. Unbelievably, the media and some politicians immediately blamed the blast on people of faith, especially those who fight for the unborn child. Michael Lind, writing in The Washington Post, made that forced connection between the bombers and pro-lifers. He wrote, “The story of Oklahoma City and the militias should not make us forget that the main form of political terrorism in the United States is perpetuated by right wing opponents of abortion.”
Reporter Bruce Morton wrote, “What do you suppose the odds are that when they finally know who did it, they will say, ‘Well, I was following God’s will.”
Eleanor Clift, the ultra-leftist reporter for Newsweek, said with characteristic venom, “[The bombers came from] a loose cabal of gun extremists, religious extremists, and many of them act under the umbrella of religion, so it is going to raise some religious issues.”
Talk about arrogance and bias in the media! These and other “reporters” blamed Christians for blowing-up 168 people, many of them children, with no basis of fact. There has never been a scrap of evidence to link the bombing with the pro-life cause, with religious movements of any stripe, or even with political conservatives. As far as we know, it was the work of a couple of hate-filled murderers who acted alone and for reasons that have not yet been revealed. Imagine the outrage-the riots, the intervention by the Department of Justice-that would have occurred if the media had categorically blamed the bombing on Jews, on African-Americans, on Native Americans, on union members, on environmentalists, on abortionists, on feminists or on homosexuals! What a political explosion would have erupted! Only Christians as a people could have been tried and convicted by the liberal press in the absence of remote evidence or even the suggestion of complicity. Such is the climate in America, 1996.
This effort to demonize evangelicals should illustrate just how far those in the media will go to silence and paralyze Christians who dare to express their beliefs in public. Anyone who advocates a position that contradicts what is politically correct invites censorship of the most intimidating form. Ask Justice Scalia about that.
I thank God that our laws still protect those who speak for the unborn child and defend the principles of righteousness. Stephen Carter, Yale professor and author of the book, The Culture of Disbelief, said: “Religious people are as fully members of American society as anyone else, as are people who are not religious … If you want to disagree with them, disagree with them. If you want to argue against them, do that. But don’t ever suggest that, because they are a religious people, they somehow have less right to be in the public square than other people do.”
The Supreme Court made that point even more emphatically in the case of McDaniel vs. Paty. This landmark ruling should be especially encouraging to Christians who have been duped into believing that they have no right to advocate their views. Let me quote from that 1978 decision:
The Establishment Clause does not license government to treat religion, and those who teach or practice it, simply by virtue of their status as such, as subversive of American ideals and therefore subject to unique disabilities … In short, government may not as a goal promote “safe-thinking” with respect to religion and fence out from political participation those, such as ministers, whom it regards as over-involved in religion. Religionists no less than members of any other group enjoy the full measure of protection afforded speech, association, and political activity generally. The Establishment Clause, properly understood, is a shield against any attempt by government to inhibit religion … it may not be used as a sword to justify repression of religion or its adherents from any aspect of public life.
It couldn’t have been said much more clearly. Nothing short of tyranny can take away our right to be heard, to campaign for what we believe, to participate in the political process, and to oppose that which we see as wrong or immoral. We will not be intimidated or censored. I urge you to continue working for the values to which you are committed, whether popular or not. Don’t let anyone, Christian or pagan, deny you your night to voice your opinions.
Well, unless I intend to turn this letter into a book, I must bring it to a close. I know it is too long. But how could I have edited this message of such importance to our nation and to the followers of Jesus Christ? We live in a representative form of government wherein we are its leaders. Abraham Lincoln said America is a nation governed “of the people, by the people, and for the people””-and that includes people of faith. It also means every citizen has a responsibility to participate in the decisions that are made and to use his or her influence for that which is moral and just. When full-term healthy babies can be delivered partially and then brutally murdered with scissors and a suction device, it is our responsibility to fight for their lives. When teenagers are given immoral advice and condoms paid for with our tax dollars, we are obligated to object. When “physician assisted suicide” is legalized by reformist judges accountable to no one, we must seek to overturn their rulings. And when courageous men like Justice Antonin Scalia speak openly about their Christian beliefs, we must defend their right to do so. The revisionists must not prevail in their efforts to make this a post-Christian nation that abandons its precious heritage. With God’s help, they will not succeed!
I’ll end with the words of my friend Chuck Colson, when he received the Templeton Prize in 1993. He said:
On this, at least, we must agree: the right … to state [our] faith without fear-is the first human tight. Religious liberty is the essence of human dignity… It is a sad fact that religious oppression is often practiced by religious groups. Sad-and inexcusable. A believer may risk prison for his own religious beliefs, but he may never build prisons for those of other beliefs. It is our obligation, [what ever faith communities we represent], to bring back a renewed passion for religious liberty to every nation from which we came. It is our duty to create a cultural environment where conscience can flourish.”
Blessings to you all. Please let us hear from you.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
1. Van Biema, David, “The Gospel Truth?,” Time, April 8, 1996. p. 52
2. Woodward, Kenneth, “Rethinking the Resurrection,” Newsweek April 8, 1996, p.60
3. Sheler, Jeffrey, “In Search of Jesus,” U. S. News and World Report, April 8. 1996, p. 46
4. Mauro, Tony and Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, “Justice Scalia Says Religion, Reason Do Mix,” USA Today April 10. 1996@ p. IA
5. Pruden, Wesley, “A Kick in the Pants for the ‘Fool for Christ,”‘ Washington Times, April 12, 1996. p. A4
6. Chandler, Clay, “Scalia’s Religion Remarks: Just a Matter of Free Speech?,” The Washington Post, April 15, 1996, p. F7
7. Cohen, Richard, “Justice Scalia and the ‘Worldly Wise,”‘ The Washington Post, April 12. 1996, p. A25
8. Chandler, op. cit.
9. Chandler, op. cit.
10. Sheler, Jeffrey, “Faith: Who Judges Its Public Propriety?” U.S. News and World Report, April 22, 1996
11. Biskupic, Joan, “Scalia Makes the Case for Christianity: Justice Proclaims Belief in Miracles,” The Washington Post. April 10. 1996, p. I A
12. Crossfire, Cable News Network, April 10. 1996
13. Copyright 1996 by Herblock in The Washington Post
14. Lynch v. Donnelley, 465 U.S. 688,677 (1984)
15. Germond, Jack W. and Jules Witcover, “The Scalia Speech: Raw Meat for the Religious Right.”- The Baltimore sun, April 17, 1996, p. 15A
16. Johnston, Henry P., ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay (New York: G.P Putnam & Sons, 1893, vol. 4), p. 393
17. Church of the Holy Trinity vs. the United States. 1430 U.S. 457 or 465-471
18. Zorach vs. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 at 313 (1952)
19, “Breakfast at Washington,” Time, February 14, 1954, p. 49
20. Burk, W. Herbert, Washington’s Papers, (Norristown, PA: Published for the benefit of the Washington Memorial Chapel, 1907), pp. 87-95
21. Adams, Charles Francis, ed., The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1954), IX, p. 229
22. Padover, Saul K. ed., The Complete Jefferson, Query XVII (New York: Tudor Publishing, 1943), p. 677
23. Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and its Teachings, (Auburn, N.Y.: James M. Alden, 1850), p. 119
24. Adams’, John Quincy, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4,1837, (Newburyport: Morass and Brewster, 1837)
25. Remini, Robert V., Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy 1833-1845, (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), vol. M, p. 186
26. Basler, Roy P., ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), vol. IV, p. 191
27. Stokes, Anson Phelps, Church and State in the United States, (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950), vol. III, p. 186
28. Ladies Home Journal, October 1917, p. 12 as cited in Albert Bushnell Hart and Herbert Ronald Ferleger, Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia, (New York: Roosevelt Memorial Association, 1941), p. 77
29. Lundin, Roger and Mark A. Noll, eds., Voices from the Heart: Four Centuries of American Piety, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), p. 235
30. Coolidge, Calvin, The Price of Freedom: Speeches and Addresses (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924), pp. 351-353, as cited in The Annals of America (Chicago: Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1976), vol. 14, pp. 410-411
31. Cassette Recording obtained from Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, N.Y,, June 6. 1944
32. Stokes, op. cit. vol. M, pp. 712-13
33. Ford, Gerald R., “National Day of Prayer, 1974,” Proclamation 4338, December 5, 1974
34. New York Times, “Remarks by President at Prayer Breakfast,” August 24, 1984, p. A I 1
35. Silk, Mark, Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989), p. 99
36. See for instance, Vitz, Paul, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in our Children’s Textbooks, (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1986)
37. Jefferson, Thomas, A letter to Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen S. Nelson: A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut, January 1, 1 802, as cited in Norman Cousins, In God We Trust (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1958), p. 135
38. “God as a Wedge Issue,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, June 24, 1994, p. A12
39. The Charleston Gazette, June 23, 1994, p. 5C
40. “Secular Holy War,” World, August 27,1994, p. 8
41. Shirk, Martha, and Jo Mannies, “Rightests: Clinton Attack Will Backfire: Democratic Leaders Welcome His Remarks,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 26, 1994, p. IA
43. Levins, Harry, “Clinton, Limbaugh Swap Slaps on KMOX,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 25, 1994, p. IA
44. See for instance, “Responding Democratically to Religious Agendas, Right Wing Pressure Groups, and School Reform,” Denver, CO., May 3-5, 1993
45. American Library Association, “Banned Books Week,” September 23-30, 1995
46. Dobson, Dr. James C. and Gary L. Bauer, Children at Risk (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), p. 23
47. “Religious Fundamentalism Carries Dangerous Seeds, Says Barry Lynn,” Ethnic NewsWatch, November 10, 1995
48. Martin, Clare, “Crossing Paths: Christian Alternative in Politics Explored,” Denver Post, May 2, 1995
49. Dobson, Rev. Edward, ‘Taking Politics Out of the Sanctuary,” Christianity Today, May 20, 1996, p. 16
50. Finney, Charles G., Revival Lectures, (reprinted Old Tappen, N.J.: Fleming Revell Co., 1970), Lecture XV, pp. 336-337
51. Nor ,folk Virginian-Pilot, June 24, 1994, op. cit
52. ‘Those Troublesome Christians,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 1994, p. A 12
53. Feder, Don, “Soulless Waging War on Christians,” Boston Herald, April 8, 1996, p. 19
54. Lind, Michael, “Understanding Oklahoma: Scofflaw Conservatism: Beyond the Hyperbole, Ideas Have Consequences,” The Washington Post, April 30, 1995, p. CI
55. Chavez, Linda, “Laying Blame in all the Wrong Places,” Denver Post, May 2, 1995, p. B7.
56. Chavez, op. cit.
57. Crossfire, April 10, 1996, op. cit
58. McDaniel vs. Paty, 435 U.S. 618 at 641. 1978
59. Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
60. Colson, Chuck, “The Enduring Revolution,” Templeton Address Delivered at the University of Chicago, September 2, 1993
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY FOCUS ON THE FAMILY, 1996, PAGES 1-12. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.