A Christian Nation from Day One
In an excellent piece on American Thinker, entitled “The Lost Holiday,” Craig Seibert reminds us that the first president of the United States was sworn in on April 30, 1789, 225 years ago this week. That was the day our constitutional republic was inaugurated, its first official day of existence.
This was the day everything had been pointing to since the Continental Congress first met in 1774 to deal with our relationship with the Crown. The Declaration of Independence, the war we were forced to fight against King George to defend our independence and national sovereignty, the failed experiment with the Articles of Confederation, all had led to this day.
This was the day the government the Founders gave to America — “A Republic, if you can keep it” — was introduced to the world.
As we watch the events of that day unfold, there can be one and only one conclusion: this was a Christian nation from day one.
On that inauguration day, all the church bells in New York City (where the ceremony was held) tolled at 9:00 A.M. to call the citizens of our new nation to prayer. According to New York newspapers, when the people heard the tolling of the bells, they were to “go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government…to the holy protection and blessing of the Most High.”
Then at 12:30 P.M. Washington took the oath of office in the presence of tens of thousands of witnesses. After making his solemn promise to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” Washington added the immortal words, “So help me God,” and bent down to kiss the Bible on which his hand had rested during the oath.
After invoking God’s help and kissing the Bible, Washington gave his inaugural address, but made his first official act as the first president of the United States a solemn prayer.
It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being Who rules over the universe, Who presides in the councils of nations, and Whose providential aids can supply every human defect — that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.
Then, after invoking God’s help, kissing the Bible, and praying to God on behalf of the nation, Washington led the entire Congress to St. Paul’s Church for a worship service which included Scripture reading, prayers, hymns and a sermon by the Episcopal Bishop of New York, the Senate chaplain.
According to the Congressional Record, the prayers offered during this service were taken from Psalms 144-150, and the Scripture readings and sermon text was drawn from Acts, 1 Kings and Third John.
(As an aside, St. Paul’s still stands right where it has always stood, where the base of the twin towers used to be, having by God’s providence escaped destruction and damage on 9/11.)
Now fast forward to today and imagine for a moment that you have been transported to a new nation inaugurating its brand new form of political governance. Imagine as the day begins you and everyone else hears every minaret in the region sounding the Muslim call to prayer. Then picture the faithful by the tens of thousands rolling out their prayer mats in their homes, their businesses and in the main streets of the city, and getting down on their knees and faces to implore the favor of Allah.
Then as you watch the installation ceremony, imagine that the new political leader spontaneously invokes the aid of Allah after taking his oath of office, and kisses the Holy Koran on which he had taken his oath. Then imagine that his first act as the newly christened leader is to offer a fervent prayer dedicating this new nation to Allah.
Then picture every political leader in this new nation immediately going to the nearest mosque, where they intone Islamic prayers, read numerous passages from the Koran, and listen as an imam implores those in attendance to follow Allah in wholehearted faith and obedience.
What would you call that nation? You would call it a Muslim nation, a Muslim nation from its first day of existence. What else could it possibly be?
I rest my case.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
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