A word to the unwise

The Founders of this nation wrote the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." in order to prevent the federal government from creating a state sponsored religion like the one which Great Britain had established. They were concerned with being told that they had to belong to a national church instead of the church or religious faith of their choice. They DID NOT write the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to eliminate the idea of God from our political system or censor the mention of God from public life! Clearly they were, for the most part, believers in a higher power, as is evidenced in the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 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."

The mere mention of God, or any allusion to the same on our money, in our respective oaths of public office, or in our common Pledge of Allegiance does NOT equate to an endorsement of any religion whatsoever, nor does it prejudice the beliefs of atheists. It is simply an acknowledgment of the fact that the people who founded this nation believed that human beings derive their rights from a higher power, call it God or whatever you like, and that because of this belief, no earthly authority could rightfully infringe upon those rights.

Just for those who never bothered to work this little detail out in their minds, I think it needs to be pointed out that God and religion are two separate things! God is not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu.

Furthermore, the Founders where not Christians, at least most of them weren't, and from what I've read, the majority of them seem to have been deists, although that is debatable. I would consider myself to be a deist in that I believe there is a Creator of everything, yet I follow no religion. I don't pretend to know what that entity I call God is, or what It wants. It's not relevant to this discussion what I do or not believe, anyway.

Others believe in God from the perspective of a particular religion. Still others do not believe there is a God. None of these perceptions matter when regarding my basic point, which is concerned with certain historical facts.

The first fact is that nearly all of the Founding Fathers, if not every one of them, believed that human beings owed their fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a higher power than any earthly authority. It was the basic premise upon which everything else they did, with regard to the founding of this nation and the development of our Constitution, was built. They didn't believe that we could righteously declare our independence from Great Britain unless we claimed certain unalienable rights. Those rights had to come from a higher power than the King of England or any government for them to have true weight in the people's minds.

It is also a fact that the vast majority of people in this country believe in God—given rights as well. Had the Founders not possessed the wisdom to further such a premise, they would have been hard—pressed to justify to the American people their righteous separation from England. The words "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" inspired people to support their cause, because they expressed in very simple and easy to understand terms the concept of the individual having certain powers beyond those afforded them by any government. Those powers needed to be attributed to something, and that something was God.

What needs to be understood is that such ideas were a novelty at that time. No group of people had ever declared that their rights as individuals outweighed the rights of the most powerful king on earth! It was an unprecedented claim and highly motivational. What the words "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" essentially means is that we, as individuals, are at least as important as any government, any religious organization or any king, not because we say so, but because God has ordained that we are all equal in his eyes and has empowered us to decide for ourselves how we will be governed. That's why ours was designed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is one which stresses the importance of self—rule.

The British did not believe that "all men are created equal". They believed that the royal blood—line was superior to other blood—lines, and that the king was the ultimate authority. The idea that a higher power endowed all men with equal authority to decide their own fates is what enabled our political system and our unique culture to be born.

When the Founding Fathers wrote that "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", they were concerned with the creation of a state sanctioned religious faith. That our government recognizes the historical significance of the belief that God endowed all of us with the very rights which allowed us to be a nation in the first place, does not equate to the establishment of any religion, nor does it prohibit the free exercise thereof. It is merely an acknowledgment of something that is still central to the American cultural ideal.
Mentioning God or acknowledging the idea of a higher power enforces nothing, nor does it infringe upon the rights of anyone. No individual is ever forced to say the word, and if they are, they have a right to a redress of that grievance under the law.

You may ask why it is necessary that our government recognize the concept of a higher power. My answer is simple. Like a common language and defined borders, the belief in God given rights distinguishes us as a nation. It is one of the few societal glues which binds us together as a people and as a country.

Edward L. Daley is the owner of the Daley Times—Post

The Founders of this nation wrote the words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." in order to prevent the federal government from creating a state sponsored religion like the one which Great Britain had established. They were concerned with being told that they had to belong to a national church instead of the church or religious faith of their choice. They DID NOT write the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to eliminate the idea of God from our political system or censor the mention of God from public life! Clearly they were, for the most part, believers in a higher power, as is evidenced in the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 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."

The mere mention of God, or any allusion to the same on our money, in our respective oaths of public office, or in our common Pledge of Allegiance does NOT equate to an endorsement of any religion whatsoever, nor does it prejudice the beliefs of atheists. It is simply an acknowledgment of the fact that the people who founded this nation believed that human beings derive their rights from a higher power, call it God or whatever you like, and that because of this belief, no earthly authority could rightfully infringe upon those rights.

Just for those who never bothered to work this little detail out in their minds, I think it needs to be pointed out that God and religion are two separate things! God is not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu.

Furthermore, the Founders where not Christians, at least most of them weren't, and from what I've read, the majority of them seem to have been deists, although that is debatable. I would consider myself to be a deist in that I believe there is a Creator of everything, yet I follow no religion. I don't pretend to know what that entity I call God is, or what It wants. It's not relevant to this discussion what I do or not believe, anyway.

Others believe in God from the perspective of a particular religion. Still others do not believe there is a God. None of these perceptions matter when regarding my basic point, which is concerned with certain historical facts.

The first fact is that nearly all of the Founding Fathers, if not every one of them, believed that human beings owed their fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a higher power than any earthly authority. It was the basic premise upon which everything else they did, with regard to the founding of this nation and the development of our Constitution, was built. They didn't believe that we could righteously declare our independence from Great Britain unless we claimed certain unalienable rights. Those rights had to come from a higher power than the King of England or any government for them to have true weight in the people's minds.

It is also a fact that the vast majority of people in this country believe in God—given rights as well. Had the Founders not possessed the wisdom to further such a premise, they would have been hard—pressed to justify to the American people their righteous separation from England. The words "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" inspired people to support their cause, because they expressed in very simple and easy to understand terms the concept of the individual having certain powers beyond those afforded them by any government. Those powers needed to be attributed to something, and that something was God.

What needs to be understood is that such ideas were a novelty at that time. No group of people had ever declared that their rights as individuals outweighed the rights of the most powerful king on earth! It was an unprecedented claim and highly motivational. What the words "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" essentially means is that we, as individuals, are at least as important as any government, any religious organization or any king, not because we say so, but because God has ordained that we are all equal in his eyes and has empowered us to decide for ourselves how we will be governed. That's why ours was designed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is one which stresses the importance of self—rule.

The British did not believe that "all men are created equal". They believed that the royal blood—line was superior to other blood—lines, and that the king was the ultimate authority. The idea that a higher power endowed all men with equal authority to decide their own fates is what enabled our political system and our unique culture to be born.

When the Founding Fathers wrote that "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", they were concerned with the creation of a state sanctioned religious faith. That our government recognizes the historical significance of the belief that God endowed all of us with the very rights which allowed us to be a nation in the first place, does not equate to the establishment of any religion, nor does it prohibit the free exercise thereof. It is merely an acknowledgment of something that is still central to the American cultural ideal.
Mentioning God or acknowledging the idea of a higher power enforces nothing, nor does it infringe upon the rights of anyone. No individual is ever forced to say the word, and if they are, they have a right to a redress of that grievance under the law.

You may ask why it is necessary that our government recognize the concept of a higher power. My answer is simple. Like a common language and defined borders, the belief in God given rights distinguishes us as a nation. It is one of the few societal glues which binds us together as a people and as a country.

Edward L. Daley is the owner of the Daley Times—Post