Because it seems the county that I reside is not the only one (*see link at bottom of post)… here is a response I prepared and read at a town hall meeting last month with the names and location deleted:
“Here we are today to discuss … decision to post signs in all … classrooms stating students are not required to state the Pledge of Allegiance. From my understanding this came about because a parent complained and stated the ACLU had been contacted. So, as with the case of prayer, … acquiesced under threat of lawsuit. A simple recitation of Florida law that states no student is compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance would have sufficed, but again, his reaction was one of capitulation. Just as the case with teachers praying at functions off school grounds, this one is steeped in ignorance of the law and our founding principles.
Due to time constraints, I will begin with the Declaration of Independence of 1776, with Thomas Jefferson’s words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men…”
The truths Jefferson spoke of were self-evident, needing no explanation and that rights are granted by our Creator and government is the protector of those rights. In a commentary written by Jefferson regarding the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence, he wrote,
“…we cooked up a resolution… for appointing the 1st day of June… for a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to implore heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war, to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights…”
After the drafting of the Constitution, of which George Washington was the presiding officer, it was written by John Adams that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
One of the first acts George Washington performed after being sworn in as the first President of the United States was to pray.
After the Bill of Rights was ratified and George Washington left office, he presented his Farewell Address to the nation which read in part,
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligations desert the paths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric.”
Abraham Lincoln, 67 years later, addressed the nation on Nov. 19 1863, stating in part, “that this nation, under God…”
There was a time in this country when politician and layman alike acknowledged God; even for those who did not believe, there was an acknowledgment that this nation was built on the principles that liberty, freedom, and rights come from God, not government.
The argument that “In God We Trust” wasn’t used until the 1950s is a lie that has permeated the fabric of our educational institutions, courts and political institutions. The words “In God We Trust” are inscribed in the House and Senate Chambers; the Great Seal of the United States has inscribed the Latin phrase Annuit Coeptis, meaning “God has smiled on our undertaking”; coins from the 1880s and beyond have the words “In God We Trust” inscribed as well as paper currency from at least the early 1900s. Well before 1956.
The reminder is not that each person must adhere to a certain religion or believe in God. The reminder is that our rights come from our Creator and government is to be the protector of those rights.
The wall of separation of church and state is a concocted idea from a 1947 Supreme Court Ruling in Everson v. Board of Education Ewing. While the Supreme Court upheld the board of education’s practice of reimbursing parents for money expended for bus transportation to take their children to school, even religious schools, the justices wrote in the majority opinion “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable.”
In 1962, the Supreme Court erased almost 200 years of precedent when it declared the recitation of prayer, even with a neutral deity, unconstitutional for violating the separation of church and state.
The phrase itself originates from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Association, a group of Baptists, who were concerned the government would legislate their religion. Jefferson wrote the First Amendment guaranteed them their right and government could not infringe on that, writing there is a separation of church and state. The restriction was placed on government drafting laws infringing upon a person’s ability to practice their religion, or no religion, even in the public sphere. It was not a restriction on the people and it did not mean that we should refuse to acknowledge that we are “One nation under God” and it is “Providence,” “Almighty,” “Our Creator,” “Higher Being,” “God” who endows us with our rights – not the government.
My words here are not to advocate for a state-religion, but to remind those who are listening that we are one nation under God. No one is required to recite those words, but for our …, who is the leader of our education system in … to have such a lack of knowledge and to continually acquiesce to the demands of those who are offended by our very history is deplorable.
Feel free to argue and stand against our history, but at least know our history.
I will close with Thomas Jefferson’s words, “On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.””