Friday, May 1, 2009

No Separation of Church and the Nation

In April, 1884, The North American review published an article titled "The Development of Religious Freedom." It covered a great deal of history, and in one section talked about religion in the United States of America.

Starting on page 349 we find the following (emphasis added):

"The United States present a new phase in the history of the relation of the two powers.

"This separation between church and state is not to be understood as a separation of the nation from Christianity, for the state represents, in America, only the temporal interests of the people. The independent churches care for the religious and moral interests; and the people are religious and Christian as much as any other, and express their sentiments in different ways,by the voluntary support of their numerous churches, by benevolent organizations of every kind, by attendance upon public worship and respect for the ministry (who are second to none in dignity and influence), by a strict observance of Sunday (which is not equaled elsewhere, except in Scotland), by constant zeal for home and foreign missions, by reverence for the Bible, by a steady stream of edifying books, tracts, and periodicals, and by their public morals. Congress nominates chaplains of different confessions and opens every sitting with prayer. The President appoints chaplains for the army and navy. Fast-days have been frequently observed in particular emergencies, as in 1849, during the cholera; in 1865, on the assassination of President Lincoln; and in 1881, on the death of President Garfield. A Thanksgiving-day is yearly celebrated in November in all the States, on the proclamation of the President and the concurrent action of the different governors. Indeed, religion, it may be justly claimed, has all the more hold upon the American character, just because it is left to the personal conviction and free choice of every man.

"Religion thrives best in the atmosphere of freedom. This is the lesson of American Church history."

Read the entire article on the Library of Congress website

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