Thursday, July 31, 2008

More from Supreme Court: Christian Nation

Below is more quoted material from the U.S. Supreme Court's 1892 case Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (other parts of which are quoted elsewhere in this forum). The Court is simply coming to an obvious conclusion: that our nation has Christianity woven into its fabric. They are not saying that Christianity is our official religion. This passage comes right after they declare that the Christian religion is part of the common law of Pennsylvania. ("Common law" is typically not written into statute, but has come to be accepted by common practice.)

"If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, " In the name of God, amen"; the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business, and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe.

"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...We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth."

Read the whole decision here: U.S. Supreme Court Cases & Opinions

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thomas Cooley - Christianity and Common Law

Thomas M. Cooley wrote his General Principles of Constitutional Law in 1890. It said, in part:

"It was never intended by the Constitution that the government should be prohibited from recognizing religion, or that religious worship should never be provided for in cases where a proper recognition of Divine Providence in the working of government might seem to require it, and where it might be done without drawing an invidious distinction between religious beliefs, organizations, or sects. The Christian religion was always recognized in the administration of the common law of the land, the fundamental principles of that religion must continue to be recognized in the same cases and to the same extent as formerly."

See the Consitution Society website

And learn more about Thomas Cooley here...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Charter of Privileges of Pennsylvania (1701)

Charter of Privileges of Pennsylvania (1701) stated in part:

"BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge One almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World; and profess him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or super any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.

"AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively, he or they solemnly promising, when lawfully required, Allegiance to the King as Sovereign, and Fidelity to the Proprietary and Governor, and taking the Attests as now established by the Law made at New-Castle, in the Year One Thousand and Seven Hundred, entitled, An Act directing the Attests of several Officers and Ministers, as now amended and confirmed this present Assembly."

See also the Yale Law School Avalon Project

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alliance Defense Fund Offers to Help Churches

The Alliance Defense Fund is a non-profit group that is offering to fight in court for the First-Amendment rights of any church whose pastor speaks out on political matters. The IRS currently has a statute (501-C3) that threatens to take away the tax-exempt status of any church if a political opinion is offered from the pulpit. Many feel that this strips away First Amendment protections for a pastor's right to free speech. On the other hand, the Constitution does not in itself guarantee that a church will not be taxed, so it is an interesting issue.

However, on the whole I think the Alliance Defense Fund has a good point. Pastors are allowed to speak on virtually any issue except politics. For example, a pastor could speak out against the behavior of certain Hollywood personalities with no penalty, but speaking out about even a corrupt politician could get them in trouble.

Our county has a long history of church's speaking out on issues. Much of the drive to eliminate slavery came from the pulpit, for example.

What do you think? Feel free to submit a comment.

Here is the story:

Alliance Defense Fund to Defend Churches

Saturday, July 26, 2008

King James Bible in American History

The Library of Congress presented a lecture by Mark Noll on April 24, 2006 called "The King James Version of the Bible in American History." It was presented at the Library of Congress in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Their summary of the talk said:

"According to Noll, the King James version of the Bible has been ubiquitous in American history as the prime source of language for literature, politics and popular culture, as well as for religion. His lecture will sketch the dimensions of that broad presence, while also examining how this version of the Bible has functioned as a force for cohesion and a force for strife."

More at the Library of Congress website.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Liberty Window

According to the Library of Congress website:

At its initial meeting in September 1774 Congress invited the Reverend Jacob Duché (1738-1798), rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, to open its sessions with prayer. Duché ministered to Congress in an unofficial capacity until he was elected the body's first chaplain on July 9, 1776. He defected to the British the next year. Pictured here in the bottom stained-glass panel is the first prayer in Congress, delivered by Duché. The top part of this extraordinary stained glass window depicts the role of churchmen in compelling King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.

Stained glass and lead, from The Liberty Window, Christ Church, Philadelphia, after a painting by Harrison Tompkins Matteson, c. 1848
Courtesy of the Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Christ Church, Philadelphia (101)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Delaware-English Spelling Book

In 1776 David Zeisberger printed the Delaware-English Spelling Book. This was for the use of the pupils in Mission schools. Notable is the fact that the missions were funded by government sources. This book was the first Ohio spelling text.

According to the Library of Congress, "David Zeisberger (1721-1802) was a famous Moravian missionary who spent much of his life working with the Delaware Indians. His spelling book contains a "Short History of the Bible," in the English and Delaware languages..."

See Library of Congress - A Delaware-English Spelling Book

Monday, July 21, 2008

Christianizing the Delawares (1787)

According to the U.S. Library of Congress website, here is one of many ways the early government supported religion:

Christianizing the Delawares
In this resolution, Congress makes public lands available to a group for religious purposes. Responding to a plea from Bishop John Ettwein (1721-1802), Congress voted that 10,000 acres on the Muskingum River in the present state of Ohio "be set apart and the property thereof be vested in the Moravian Brethren . . . or a society of the said Brethren for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity." The Delaware Indians were the intended beneficiaries of this Congressional resolution.

Library of Congress - Religion and the Congress of the Confederation
Records of the Continental Congress in the Constitutional Convention, July 27, 1787
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. (119)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Benjamin Franklin - Know the Rights God Gave Us

Benjamin Franklin is recognized as one of our Founding Fathers. He was one of the more liberal among that group, but he knew that Jefferson was right when he talked about men being endowed by their Creator with rights. Franklin said:

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know the price of the rights which God has given them, cannot be enslaved."

Walker P. Whitman, A Christian History of the American Republic: A Textbook for Secondary Schools, (Boston: Green Leaf Press, 1939,1948), 97.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chief Justice William Rehnquist - Wall of Separation

In Rehnquist's dissent in the case of Wallace v. Jaffree; 472 U.S. 38, 107 (1984), he summed up his feelings about our current use of Jefferson's metaphor "Wall of separation between church and state."

Whether due to its lack of historical support or its practical unworkability, the Everson "wall" has proved all but useless as a guide to sound constitutional adjudication. It illustrates only too well the wisdom of Benjamin Cardozo's observation that "[metaphors] in law are to be narrowly watched, for starting as devices to liberate thought, they end often by enslaving it." Berkey v. Third Avenue R. Co., 244 N. Y. 84, 94, 155 N. E. 58, 61 (1926).

But the greatest injury of the "wall" notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights. The "crucible of litigation," ante, at 52, is well adapted to adjudicating factual disputes on the basis of testimony presented in court, but no amount of repetition of historical errors in judicial opinions can make the errors true. The "wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned

See Touro Law

Friday, July 18, 2008

Textbooks Leave Out Religious Contributions to History

In the Alabama case Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County (1987), the subject of school text books and history books was discussed. Expert testimony was given that our public school text books today leave out many significant events because of their religious connection.

The virtually unanimous conclusion of the numerous witnesses, both expert and lay, party and non-party, was that textbooks in the fields examined were poor from an educational perspective. Mere rotten and inadequate textbooks, however, have not yet been determined to violate any constitutional provision, much less the religion clauses. The Court points this out to demonstrate the predicament confronting the people who must select textbooks. As to the history books, Dr. Smith and Dr. Vitz testified that all of them omitted numerous significant facts about religion and religious contributions to American history. Their expert opinion was that religion was so deliberately underemphasized and ignored that theistic religions were effectively discriminated against and made to seem irrelevant and unimportant within the context of American history. Some of the books were worse than others, according to Dr. Smith, but none were good. His opinion was that, except for one text, each of the books reviewed conveyed an historical picture biased against theistic religions.

See Excerpts from Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, 655 F.Supp. 939 (S.D. Ala. 1987)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Quincy Adams - Christian Foundations of U.S. Government

John Quincy Adams gave his perspective on the influence of Christianity on our government.

"The Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth and laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity."

(John Quincy Adams, 1837. An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at their Request on the 61st Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

President William Jefferson Clinton on Separation of Church and State

Most of the quotes I use on this site are from the Founders, but consider the words of a more recent president (one who is not thought of as a right-wing conservative), taken from three different occasions:

"It appears that some school officials, teachers, and parents have assumed that religious expression of any type is either inappropriate or forbidden altogether in public schools; however, nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religion-free zones." (July 13, 1995.)

"I want to say to you is that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson did not intend to drive a stake in the heart of religion and to drive it out of our public life. What they intended to do was to set up a system so that we could bring religion into our public life and into our private life without any of us telling the other what to do." (Presidential speech at James Madison High School. Vienna, VA.)

"Sometimes I think the environment in which we operate is entirely too secular. The fact that we have freedom of religion doesn't mean we need to try to have freedom from religion." ("President Sides with Religious Right on Tithing Case." The Morning Edition. Washington, D.C. National Public Radio. Sept. 24, 1994. Transcript #1444-12. Page 4.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jefferson Explains the First Amendment - Kentucky Resolutions

Thomas Jefferson's metaphor "separation of church and state" is often used to justify eliminating any religious actions or even recognition by and governing body. But if one looks at Jefferson's opinions and deeds, one will see that he believed, as did the Founders who wrote the First Amendment, that it provided a limitation only on the Federal Government (and even then, not the kind of limitations that we think we understand today). Consider Jefferson's own words in his draft of the Kentucky Resolutions:

"Resolved, That it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the Constitution, that 'the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;' and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the States or the people..."

I added the boldface to the above quote. Note that Jefferson is clearly saying that limits placed by the First Amendment are on the Federal Government, NOT the state (or by implication, local) governments.

See the Yale Law School Avalon Project, Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions: October - 1798

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Image of a Cross on a License Plate

In this article from July 13, 2008, published on
Separation of Church and the DMV

the author criticizes the unanimous vote by the South Carolina legislature to allow an optional license plate with a cross, a church window, and the words "I believe" on it. To summarize the article's opinion using one of its own sentences, "Those kinds of messages are precisely what the First Amendment's Establishment Clause prevents."

If one looks at the actions of the Founders who wrote the First Amendment and ratified it, many actions point to the fact that they had a much different perspective on the meaning of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." It is doubtful the leaders at the time would have considered a symbolic license plate design akin to establishing a religion.

Consider the following, which is quoted from the Library of Congress web site:

(Article about the Proposed Seal for the United States)
On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams "to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America." Franklin's proposal adapted the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea. Jefferson first recommended the "Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by Day, and a Pillar of Fire by night. . . ." He then embraced Franklin's proposal and rewrote it. Jefferson's revision of Franklin's proposal was presented by the committee to Congress on August 20. Although not accepted these drafts reveal the religious temper of the Revolutionary period. Franklin and Jefferson were among the most theologically liberal of the Founders, yet they used biblical imagery for this important task.

It should be noted that Jefferson is the one usually being quoted when "separation of church and state" is raised. Study of Jefferson's action as President and governor of Virginia can reveal that we mis-use his metaphor today. Consider the opinion of former Chief Justice Renquist:

"there is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation. ... The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging, and it should be frankly and explicitly abandoned. ... History must judge whether it was the Father of our country, Washington, plus the majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate who were correct in their understanding of the First Amendment, or whether it is a majority of the Court today."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Early America - Morality in the Navy

In my previous post I mentioned the Library of Congress, which has some excellent exhibits on early America. The first dealt with the Army; this one is about the Navy:

Congress particularly feared the navy as a source of moral corruption and demanded that skippers of American ships make their men behave. The first article in Rules and Regulations of the Navy (below), adopted on November 28, 1775, ordered all commanders "to be very vigilant . . . to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices." The second article required those same commanders "to take care, that divine services be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays." Article 3 prescribed punishments for swearers and blasphemers: officers were to be fined and common sailors were to be forced "to wear a wooden collar or some other shameful badge of distinction."

See the L.O.C. article Religion and the Congress of the Confederation 1774-89

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Early America - Morality in the Army

The Library of Congress has some excellent exhibits on early America, including images of the original hand-written documents. One can learn there many of the connections between our Founders' religious background and the early foundations of our government. Consider this quote:

Congress was apprehensive about the moral condition of the American army and navy and took steps to see that Christian morality prevailed in both organizations. In the Articles of War, seen below, governing the conduct of the Continental Army (seen above) (adopted, June 30, 1775; revised, September 20, 1776), Congress devoted three of the four articles in the first section to the religious nurture of the troops. Article 2 "earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers to attend divine services." Punishment was prescribed for those who behaved "indecently or irreverently" in churches, including courts-martial, fines and imprisonments. Chaplains who deserted their troops were to be court-martialed.

See the L.O.C. article Religion and the Congress of the Confederation 1774-89

Friday, July 11, 2008

Early Congress and Chaplains

According to the U.S. Library of Congress, our Founders came up with the idea of appointing chaplains of different denominations to avoid the impression that the Federal Government was favoring one branch of Christianity over another. The story goes:

On October 1, 1777, after Jacob Duché, Congress's first chaplain, defected to the British, Congress appointed joint chaplains: William White (1748-1836), Duché's successor at Christ Church, Philadelphia, and George Duffield (1732-1790), pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. By appointing chaplains of different denominations, Congress expressed a revolutionary egalitarianism in religion and its desire to prevent any single denomination from monopolizing government patronage. This policy was followed by the first Congress under the Constitution which on April 15, 1789, adopted a joint resolution requiring that the practice be continued.

See the Library of Congress Article

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Constitution and Religion

Many have said that the Constitution did not want to encourage any religion at all (or sanction it) - otherwise the document would have actually talked about such things specifically. However, on the Library of Congress site we find the following:

That religion was not otherwise addressed in the Constitution did not make it an "irreligious" document any more than the Articles of Confederation was an "irreligious" document. The Constitution dealt with the church precisely as the Articles had, thereby maintaining, at the national level, the religious status quo. In neither document did the people yield any explicit power to act in the field of religion. But the absence of expressed powers did not prevent either the Continental-Confederation Congress or the Congress under the Constitution from sponsoring a program to support general, nonsectarian religion.

See Religion and the Federal Government (Library of Congress)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - Nation Under God

Lincoln's Gettysburg address coined the phrase "nation under God." Various drafts exist of the address, and the earlier ones do not have this phrase. This causes some to argue that the phrase was added after Lincoln returned to Washington (suggesting the words were encouraged by Secretary of War Stanton).

However, several reporters present for the speech telegraphed the text to their papers on the day the Address was given, and the words "under God" were included. The only source for the reporters was Lincoln's delivery of the speech.

Gettysburg Address and "Under God"

Here is the speech:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lincoln - Second Inaugural Address

President Abraham Linconln's second inaugural address consisted of only 703 words, yet it contained numerous references to God plus scripture references. The text is shown below:

Fellow Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war - seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'. With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Library of Congress Image of Addresss

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jefferson Memorial Speaks of God

If you visit the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., look at the words inscribed inside the dome:

"for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."


Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Messages Religion in Our Early National Government, part 3

The Library of Congress has some interesting articles about our history. The following quote if from Religion and the Founding of the American Republic and comes right before several reproductions showing how our early faith and government were intertwined.

The first national government of the United States, was convinced that the "public prosperity" of a society depended on the vitality of its religion. Nothing less than a "spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens," Congress declared to the American people, would "make us a holy, that so we may be a happy people."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Religion in Our Early National Government, part 2

From the Library of Congress:

"Congress appointed chaplains for itself and the armed forces, sponsored the publication of a Bible, imposed Christian morality on the armed forces, and granted public lands to promote Christianity among the Indians. National days of thanksgiving and of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" were proclaimed by Congress at least twice a year throughout the war. Congress was guided by "covenant theology," a Reformation doctrine especially dear to New England Puritans, which held that God bound himself in an agreement with a nation and its people. This agreement stipulated that they "should be prosperous or afflicted, according as their general Obedience or Disobedience thereto appears." Wars and revolutions were, accordingly, considered afflictions, as divine punishments for sin, from which a nation could rescue itself by repentance and reformation."

See: IV. Religion and the Congress of the Confederation, 1774-89

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Religion in Our Early National Government, part 1

According to the Library of Congress there was considerable friendliness between religion and our early national government:

"The Continental-Confederation Congress, a legislative body that governed the United States from 1774 to 1789, contained an extraordinary number of deeply religious men. The amount of energy that Congress invested in encouraging the practice of religion in the new nation exceeded that expended by any subsequent American national government. Although the Articles of Confederation did not officially authorize Congress to concern itself with religion, the citizenry did not object to such activities. This lack of objection suggests that both the legislators and the public considered it appropriate for the national government to promote a nondenominational, nonpolemical Christianity."

See Religion and the Congress of the Confederation, 1774-89

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Flag Bows to Christianity??

In 1923 our current U.S. Flag Code was developed by representatives of the Army, Navy and other groups. Most adults familiar with such things know that the U.S. flag is to flown above any other flag on the same mast or pole... EXCEPT for this provision in the Flag Code, where the church pennant may fly above the Stars and Stripes:

Sec. 7. Position and manner of display

"(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the
same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America,
except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when
the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services
for the personnel of the Navy. ..."

Source: United States Government Printing Office

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Micah Mandate, from Theodore Roosevelt

At the start of World War I, Theodore Roosevelt was no longer President. But the country and our soldiers still respected him and he was asked to draft the inscription that would be printed inside Bibles given to every U.S. soldier. It was called the "Micah Mandate."

"The teaching of the New Testament is foreshadowed in Micah's verse, "What more doth the Lord require of thee than to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Do justice; and therefore fight valiantly against those that stand for the reign of Moloch and Beelzebulb on this earth. Love mercy; treat your enemies well; succor the afflicted; treat every woman as if she were your sister; care for the little children; and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly; you will do so if you study the life and teachings of the Savior, walking in His steps. And remember; the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul. No abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our own spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which gives its outward expression in a morality like unto that preached by the seers and prophets of God when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future."

Read more at American Vision and U.S. Army Chaplain's Corner