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A Matter of Ultimate Importance

Dear Editor,

The Wisconsin-based “Freedom From Religion Foundation” embodies a profound oxymoron in that it presumes to dictate public policy thus making itself the ultimate authority for everyone.

This foundation confuses the tenets of the French Revolution based on atheism with the American Revolution based on the sovereignty of the Triune God as the Creator, Supreme Judge, and Protector of nations whose sanction our founders sought. The French Revolution’s radical egalitarianism promoted by increasing violence culminated in Napoleon’s authoritative rule and devastating war that was the very antithesis of the American Revolution where the “Rule of Law under God” characterized a restrained government initiated against the supreme world power of the day to secure the God-given Inalienable Rights of the individual to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness that entails the cultivation of virtue and the accruing of physical and intellectual property.”

These facts define “American Exceptionalism.”

The definition of religion as being “the authority or authorities one looks to define and answer questions of ultimate importance” enables meaningful, rational discussion in the public forum. It dispels the false thinking that separates citizens into religious and non-religious categories.

All people are religious. Both revolutions are confirmations of the fact that “religion and politics do mix!” The resulting mixture may foster abundant life or abundant misery and death. The atheist is a god unto himself, herself, or any other self-proclaimed entity as the case may be. Karl Marx was the god of communism. Adolph Hitler was the god of Nazism — a particular form of fascism. Robespierre was the god of secularism.

The founders of America were all sinners who appealed to a wise, merciful God to sanction the founding of this nation. The very nature of God’s paradigm of freedom allows for a multitude of religious authorities to put forth the grounds for faith or belief in them respectively with well-documented consequences. The founders of this nation clearly believed in the one true God of all.

In the subsequent Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin urged its members to appeal to God for critical guidance in forming the new government to protect the hard won successes on the battlefield. Some excerpts from Franklin’s counsel include:

1) “In this Situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find Political Truth, how has it happened, sir, that we have not, hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the father of lights to illuminate our understandings?” 2) “I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that God governs in the Affairs of Men!” 3) “We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writing that ‘except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” 4) “Prayers during the war were heard. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?” Note that George Washington as president of the convention is the “Sir” Franklin addressed.

In his book, “Reading the Bible with the Founders,” Daniel Driesbach notes that “no book figured more prominently than the Bible in the political thought of these patriots we call the founders.” According to Driesbach, Deuteronomy is the most cited book, nearly twice as many citations as John Locke with quotes from Montesquieu and the Apostle Paul following.

“Remembrance and Reminding” are fundamental to growth as well as to decay, to life as well as to death, to individuals as well as to nations.”

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was one of the first pieces of legislation passed by Congress and signed by George Washington who presided over the Constitutional Convention. It contained the following provision: “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Educational institutions wherein honest comparison and contrast occurs avoid being bastions of propaganda.

Competition between religions in world history is common. Gods and their citizens vie for power. — Psalms 82, Jn 10:31-39

Religious and political leaders consult each other for foul or noble purposes but the fact remains that only the one true God prevails as the Supreme Judge of the world. — Jn 19:1-19, 30, 8:28-29, Rom 3:3-4

The members of the Wheeling City Council have been presented a teachable moment by the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” wherein the history of our nation’s founding in The Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention may be affirmed as expressing the reality by which governance couched in prayer to the one true God best occurs.

William M. Yavelak

Belmont

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