Islam is antithetical to Christianity and the founding of the United States. Anyone who is curious about America’s history should know this. But because of our government schools and the claim of religious neutrality (atheism), most public (government) school students have never been introduced to America’s Christian history. What follows is a small slice of that history.
The first order of business of the newly formed first United States Congress was to appoint chaplains. The Right Reverend Bishop Samuel Provost and the Reverend William Linn became publicly paid chaplains of the Senate and House respectively. Since then, both the Senate and the House have continued regularly to open their sessions with prayer. Nearly all of the fifty states make some provision in their meetings for opening prayers or devotions from guest chaplains. Few if any saw this as a violation of the First Amendment.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath of office with his hand on an open Bible. After taking the oath, he added, “I swear, so help me God.” Following Washington’s example, presidents still invoke God’s name in their swearing-in ceremony.
The inauguration was followed by “divine services” held in St. Paul’s Chapel, “performed by the Chaplain of Congress.” The first Congress that convened after the adoption of the Constitution requested of the President that the people of the United States observe a day of thanksgiving and prayer:
“That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”
After the resolution’s adoption, Washington then issued a proclamation setting aside November 26, 1789, as a national day of thanksgiving, calling everyone to “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
Prayers in Congress, the appointment of chaplains, and the call for days of prayers and thanksgiving do not stand alone in the historical record. The evidence is overwhelming that America has in the past always linked good government to religion – and, in particular, to Christianity…
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