April 30, 2012
Last week, Congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.) offered a prayer to open a meeting of his House Armed Services Subcommittee. It was a personal prayer in which the Congressman asked for divine guidance and for a spirit of conciliation among Members during sometimes rancorous proceedings. He closed by saying he offered the prayer in the name of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Uh oh! That was enough to excite the rancor of the atheizers. These are those self-appointed defenders of the constitutional separation of church and state who race to the microphones and into court to protest any mention of God, or parish the thought, Jesus in a public context.
They will doubtless be wounded and think themselves unjustly treated to be called atheizers. But is that not the effect of what they advocate? Do they not complain of any public expression of Christian faith? They say they are all for religious liberty, and many of them vigorously claim to be Christians themselves.
They simply want to have freedom of expression and freedom of worship confined to the home and churches. Away from public view. Just like it was guaranteed in the old Soviet Constitution.
One of the atheizers leaders is Rev. Barry Lynn. He heads something called Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Americans, it seems, were mostly united before the atheizers began their agitation. Since then, there has been no end of Americans disunited.
Rev. Lynn is not letting Mr. Akin get away with referring to You Know Who as his personal Savior. Thats too cute by half, said Mr. Lynn.
Mr. Lynn is always provocative. He got me thinking. I wonder if President Washington was also too cute by half. Its true that President Washington did not mention the name of Jesus in his Inaugural Address on this day in New York City in 1789.
Perhaps George Washington figured that since he was taking the Oath of Office as prescribed in the newly adopted Constitution, it would be unnecessary. He did add to the words prescribed in the Constitution these four wordsSo Help Me God.
Washington was acutely aware that everything he did and said would form a precedent for future presidents. He was also acutely careful to respect the traditions and beliefs of his fellow citizens of the new republic.
After taking the oath, in the presence of a cloud of witnesses, and asking Gods help in fulfilling his constitutional duties as the first president, Washington kissed the Bible.
Did you notice that part, Barry Lynn? George Washington actually kissed the Bible. On federal property. And in the middle of an official federal proceeding, not unlike a congressional hearing.
And before the atheizers come back with their rejoinderbut Washington never mentioned Jesuslets see what President Washington did next. He proceeded inside to deliver his first Inaugural Address to Members of the new federal Congress, diplomats, and invited guests in the Senate chamber.
From there, President Washington led the assembly to St. Pauls Church in Lower Manhattan, where the Chaplain of the Senate led them in a worship service. The Rev. Dr. Prevost also served as Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York.
Imagine that, Mr. Lynn! On that day inManhattanwere assembled hundreds of those who had drafted, approved, and then ratified the new Constitution. No one, according to the historical account, jumped up to protest the oath, or the kissing of the Bible by the newly intalled president. No one seems to have run out of St.Pauls offended at hearing the name of Jesus.
Can Barry Lynn or any of the other atheizers show us where and when the Constitution that Washingtonvowed to preserve, protect, and defend has been amended to make references to God or Jesus Christ unconstitutional?
If the atheizers now believe we should banish all references to God and all mention of Jesus from public life, they have a right in this free republic to advocate for this change. They have a right to offer an amendment to the Constitution to bring about the naked public square they seem to crave. Maybe their friends in the Anti-Christian Litigation Unit will draft their amendment for them.
But until they amend George Washingtons Constitution, I believe Congressman Todd Akin was not too cute by half. I believe he was acute. Mr. Akin was as acute as George Washington was in acknowledging publicly his dependence on the Lord for guidance, and in expressing his gratitude for the blessings of liberty. Thank you, Congressman Akin.