Articles Freedom of Religion

Published on September 4th, 2013 | by Gary DeMar

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Persistent atheists come out of the woodwork…again

There’s one thing that can be said about liberals. They are persistent. They never surrender. They never give up. They work hard to wear down the opposition. Case in point.

“Two secularist organizations are working together to end legislative prayer before city council meetings in a northern California municipality.”

“For years, Chico city council members have invited local religious leaders from various faiths to lead invocations prior to official city council gatherings.”

While I’m all for prayers; it would be nice if the council members actually paid attention to the fact that God exists and there are laws to be acknowledged and obeyed.

A prayer isn’t a magical incantation absolving those who pray from the built-in moral standards that make our world work.

But back to the complaint lodged by the two secularist organizations.

“However, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) — a Wisconsin-based, church-state separatist group — and the Butte County Coalition of Reason (BCCR) — a local atheist organization — are pushing to have the prayer tradition stopped. After learning of the regular invocations, an FFRF attorney sent a letter on June 27th to the Chico mayor, asserting that the prayers ‘are a repudiation of our secular history,’ and that the ‘best solution is for the Council to drop these prayers altogether.’”

The phrase “a repudiation of our secular history” made me laugh. In terms of America’s founding history, there is no such thing. Even Thomas Jefferson, the patron saint of secular groups like FFRF, cannot be called as a witness to their cause: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” (Found on the third panel of the Jefferson Memorial.)

One of the first orders of business of the first Congress was to appoint chaplains. Bishop Samuel Provost and Reverend William Linn became 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. (Not that it does much good. See my point made above.)

The inauguration of George Washington was followed by “divine services” held in St. Paul’s Chapel in New York, “performed by the Chaplain of Congress.”(1)

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.”(2)Endnotes:

  1. Anson Phelps Stokes and Leo Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States, one-volume ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 87.()
  2. Quoted in Stokes and Pfeffer, Church and State in the United States, 87.()
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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



5 Responses to Persistent atheists come out of the woodwork…again

  1. Ducky says:

    I think this whole thing is a lack of private property versus too much government owned land issue. That and atheists are such statists. The whole point of from religion is to control people’s arguments of when and where. The only ways you can control it is by either ridding freedoms altogether and invade people’s homes, or have government, in being so-called neutral, dictate who and what can be said in given destinations and times on public property.

    With a few exceptions of some, in no way, would atheists think about solving the from religion issue by advocating to Christians that the state has too much property, and it ought to be sold off. Then, neither would Christians, but they’re not the ones squabbling to the state about other people’s religious public display. So, with all of their crying about Christians speaking their minds in public, they’re doing nothing but pointing out, unknowingly, that the state has too much property and assets, including public schools. Yet, the state is their god because it’s their mediator and provider; they rely on the state to own public land and institutions.

  2. From the Midwest says:

    Mr. DeMar,

    Do you really believe that Liberals (whatever that word means or does not mean these days, to include the word “conservative”) will win their war against religion in these United States? I doubt it!! However, let’s be realistic. O.K.? The U.S. may well have been a Christian nation up to some point in its history. That is certainly not true anymore. On the contrary, you very well know that we now have all sorts of religions permitted in the United States, and of course they are hardly Christian.

    Ironically, the last Republican candidate for President was a “Mormon” (Latter-day Saints) which has traditionally been considered cultic and heretical by mainline Christians such as your own Presbyterian Church, plus the Baptists and others. And yet many so called real Americans and true patriots who claim to be Christians (other than LDS, Ha!) fell all over each other scrambling to the polls to vote for him and his Roman Catholic running mate who likes Ayn Rand who was a declared atheist. So where ever did our Christian country go??!!!

    How about Spain in the Southwest 100 years before the Calvinists and others landed on our east coast? How about some real Christian names such as The Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico? Corpus Christi, Texas. Las Cruces? Santa Fe (Holy Faith)? Try names like that for a real Christian country. My point here is that Spain had it right when they started colonizing this land which is now our land since the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The Spanish at the time never permitted any other religion except Roman Catholic Christianity, nor did they tolerate atheists.

    If you want to keep crying that the “Liberals” are destroying the country and all that, you need to repoint your finger at those “founding fathers” who permitted freedom of religion, thus opening that “Pandora’s Box” to all sorts of non-Christian religions, to include atheism, which is in itself a religion. Anyway, thanks for the article.

    • Greg B says:

      The Founding Fathers put freedom of religion in the Constitution because they wanted to avoid the destructive religious wars which had so devastated Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was not because they were indifferent to religion.

      • Tony says:

        well thats the price that comes with christianity isnt it?, there is a reason why all those chrisitan countries made it illegal to not be christian or even illegal to join another christian church

      • From the Midwest says:

        I have heard this “argument” before. I am well aware of the religious wars to which you refer, especially the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. However, the founding fathers were in error not to establish Christianity as the OFFICIAL religion of the United States. Failure to do so has led to other religions (who are basically anti-Christian) to believe that they can say and do anything against the Christian religion with impunity. This is a disaster. The basic beliefs of Christianity will always be under attack in this country precisely because the founding fathers failed to establish it as the official religion of the United States. This does NOT mean a state church, but Christianity as the OFFICIAL religion. In this regard, perhaps the founders were “indifferent” to religion in the sense that they ignored the importance of Christianity in this nation.

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