Sunday Rising – Part 1

TimeWatch Editorial
February 08, 2017

David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage. WallBuilders is a name taken from the Old Testament writings of Nehemiah, who led a grassroots movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore its strength and honor. In the same way, WallBuilders seeks to energize the grassroots today to become involved in strengthening their communities, states, and nation. On his website, David Barton authored an article which asks the question “Is America a Christian Nation?” The article argues that America is indeed a Christian Nation, because as Barton quotes Constitutional law Professor Edward Mansfield (1801-1880) when he said:

In every country, the morals of a people – whatever they may be – take their form and spirit from their religion. For example, the marriage of brothers and sisters was permitted among the Egyptians because such had been the precedent set by their gods, Isis and Osiris. So, too, the classic nations celebrated the drunken rites of Bacchus. Thus, too, the Turk has become lazy and inert because dependent upon Fate, as taught by the Koran. And when in recent times there arose a nation [i.e., France] whose philosophers [e.g. Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Helvetius, etc.] discovered there was no God and no religion, the nation was thrown into that dismal case in which there was no law and no morals. . . . In the United States, Christianity is the original, spontaneous, and national religion.Edward Mansfield, American Education, Its Principle and Elements (New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1851), p. 43.

Now of course the early beginning of the United States rests upon the fact that the Pilgrims who first arrived were seeking a “Church without a Pope and a State without a King.” That rather famous phrase can be found in the book, Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, on page 296, describing the early experiences of the founders in chapter 16, The Pilgrim Fathers.

“The Bible was held as the foundation of faith, the source of wisdom, and the charter of liberty. Its principles were diligently taught in the home, in the school, and in the church, and its fruits were manifest in thrift, intelligence, purity, and temperance. One might be for years a dweller in the Puritan settlements, and not “see a drunkard, nor hear an oath, nor meet a beggar.” It was demonstrated that the principles of the Bible are the surest safeguards of national greatness. The feeble and isolated colonies grew to a confederation of powerful States, and the world marked with wonder the peace and prosperity of “a church without a pope, and a State without a king.” Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, on page 296

But there were those who were not satisfied with the fact that America was built upon the basis of liberty of conscience. They were desirous of seeing the country defined specifically as a Christian nation. Note the following.

“In February 1863, during the American Civil War , a coalition of eleven Protestant denominations from seven northern states gathered to discuss the state of the nation. Seeing the Civil War as God's punishment for the omission of God from the Constitution, they discussed a proposed amendment to alter the wording of the Preamble to acknowledge God. The idea that civil governments derive their legitimacy from God, and Jesus in particular, was alleged to be based on Biblical passages such as Psalm 2 and Romans 13. The original draft of the amendment, by Pennsylvania attorney John Alexander” Rediff.com- Christian Amendment.

This is what John Alexander recommended concerning how to amend the Constitution. The proposed changes are highlighted.

“We, the people of the United States (recognizing the being and attributes of Almighty God, the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, the law of God as the paramount rule, and Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior and Lord of all), in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The NRA (National Reform Association) and the Christian Amendment

By January 27, 1864 The National Reform Association sent a recommended Constitutional Amendment “to acknowledge God's divine authority and, in doing so, establish a Christian basis for popular government in America.”


NATIONAL REFORM ASSOCIATION

MEMORIAL TO CONGRESS

ALLEGHENY, PENNSYLVANIA, JANUARY 27, 1864

To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled:

We, citizens of the United States, respectfully ask your honorable bodies to adopt measures for amending the Constitution of the United States, so as to read, in substance, as follows:

We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, his revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government, and in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the inalienable rights and the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to ourselves, our posterity, and all the people, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation. [1st Edition] Compiled and Annotated by William Addison Blakely, Of the Chicago Bar. (1890). Page 341

So it was that in 1864, the attempt was made to include in the Constitution, the literal reference to The Lord Jesus Christ as Ruler of the Nations. This attempt also included the establishment of a National Sunday Law. Notice what William Addison Blakely says in his “American State Papers Beating on Sunday Legislation.” Listen to this:

“At a national convention of this association held in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, January 27, 1864, the above memorial to Congress was adopted, and a resolution passed that it be " circulated throughout the United States for signatures," and that a large delegation be appointed " to visit Washington, and urge the proposed amendment on the attention of President Lincoln." and " endeavor to get a special message to Congress on the subject, and to lay the Memorial before Congress." While this effort did not succeed, persistently from year to year the association has kept holding its conventions, scattering its literature, disseminating its views, and seeking to overturn one of the great fundamental principles upon which the national government was founded, that of religious freedom, or the separation of church and state.” American State Papers Bearing on Sunday Legislation. [1st Edition] Compiled and Annotated by William Addison Blakely, Of the Chicago Bar. (1890). Page 341

To this day the effort continues. Even though it is not as above board as it was, the intention remains the same. We will continue to look at this in our next editorial.

Cameron A. Bowen

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