American Concrete


When it comes to the topic of our nation’s Christian heritage, you have two main schools of thought:

  • The liberal mindset that insists our forefathers viewed religion as something to be negotiated as an administrative duty
  • The Conservative Christian platform that maintains an aggressive acknowledgement and pursuit of God’s Assistance characterized the collective perspective of the founding fathers

Much of the controversy stems from a ruling given by the Supreme Court in 1947 and the way they interpreted a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut in 1802. They declared that Jefferson’s usage of the term “the separation of church and state” constituted “the authoritative declaration of the scope and effect” of the First Amendment.1 Since then, that ruling has become the standard by which all public expressions of religious convictions have been measured, leading to an ever increasing limitation being put on the acknowledgement of God in governmental agencies as well as an ever lengthening shadow of doubt being cast on our nation’s religious heritage.

The debate is, at times, passionate and you’ve got buffoons on both sides of the aisle. The venom and the inaccuracies can culminate in a spectacle that can make it difficult to know which argument is correct.  But there is a bottom line that transcends the way in which a solitary statement can be potentially dissected to the point where its meaning becomes illusive. That bottom line is to consider, not only the comment that was made, but also:

  • the context of that comment
  • the character of the person speaking
  • the cultural backdrop that made what that person said both relevant and influential

In other words, rather than just scrutinizing what was said, look at also why it was said, to whom was the person speaking and who was it that made the comment. At that point, you’ve got a full color, three dimensional rendering of what was stated as opposed to an intentionally cropped, black and white snapshot.

Using that kind of approach, let’s take a look at Thomas Jefferson and his exchange with the Danbury Baptists.

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Twenty Five Inconvenient Realities

The Separation of Church and State is a phrase often used by people who want to insist that Christianity had no real role in our nation’s founding – cerntainly nothing that had any significant influence on those that articulated our cause, created our Constitution and fought the battles that culminated in the surrender of Great Britain.

You see this in comments like what you see below from the “Freedom From Religion” website:

The Christian Right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States, as part of their campaign to force their religion on others who ask merely to be left alone. According to this Orwellian revision, the Founding Fathers of this country were pious Christians who wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, with laws that favored Christians and Christianity.

Not true! The early presidents and patriots were generally Deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the absurdities of the Old and New Testaments.

You have to be very selective in the information you use to validate such a statement. At the same time, you have to be willfully oblivious to the specific references to God and Christ that punctuate the relevant events and documentation that established the United States.

Below is a brief yet potent list:

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