Tag Archives: George Washington

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1789

No political correctness here. The First paragraph expresses the Founder’s attitude toward separation of Church and State.

Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then 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; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

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America’s Sacred Texts

By Jerry McDaniel

After several years spent studying American History and our founding documents, I came to the conclusion that the Founding Fathers left us a perfect plan for governing a free people. Most, if not all the major domestic crises faced by America since its founding could have been avoided had the leaders at the time, followed the precepts of our founding documents. Unfortunately, while the Founders gave us a perfect plan, that plan has never been administered by perfect men. The verdict of history and the Bible is that there are no perfect men, which brings us to the central question. If there are no perfect men, and yet we have a perfect plan of governance, how did we get it?

To appreciate fully the wisdom of the Founder’s plan it is necessary to view it as a single document consisting of three parts. (1) The Declaration of Independence gives the justification for our existence as a separate and independent people and the principles to enable us to govern ourselves successfully. (2) The Constitution presents the plan for governing, embodying those principles, and strengthening the whole while protecting the liberty and independence of all its parts. (3) The Bill of Rights clarifies and amplifies the intent of the Founders for particular elements of the plan.

These three parts of the Founder’s plan, collectively represent the most perfect and complete plan of government ever devised. Since its inception in March,1789 there have been many attempts to improve on the original as our political leaders moved away from its direction and chafed at the restrictions the plan placed on their ambitions. In each attempt to “update” the original, history has shown the effort to be of dubious benefit, with the unintended consequences sometimes far outweighing the intended improvements. For example, there have been seventeen Amendments to the Constitution since the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Most of those have produced marginal benefits with negligible damage to the original plan. Others have been used by revisionists to alter drastically the original plan, to the detriment of the American people and liberty, Amendments 12, 14, 16 and 17, are good examples.

The unity, cohesiveness, and durability of the Founder’s plan is even more remarkable when we consider the diversity of personalities, occupations, education, and interests of the hundreds of people who contributed to its formulation, including the Second Continental Congress, the Philadelphia Convention, and thirteen State Ratifying Conventions. One explanation can be found in the closing paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”. This phrase is much more than a rhetorical device to add solemnity to the document. It expresses the heartfelt faith of virtually all the Founding Fathers.

In our desire to view ourselves as a secular society ruled by a secular government, we overlook and often deny the most fundamental attribute of our national character; we are a religious people. According to a 2007 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 78.4% of all American Adults identify themselves as Christian. 4.7% identify as being affiliated with other than Christian religions and another 5.8% identify as being religious but not affiliated with any particular religious group. 88.9% of all American Adults consider themselves “religious”.  Admittedly, many of those who identify themselves as Christians are not “practicing” Christians, and many more would not meet the Biblical definition of Christian. However, that does not change the fact that we are a Christian nation and have been since our founding.

That is not to say that all the Founding Fathers would be considered as orthodox Christians by today’s doctrinal standards. It is fashionable in today’s secular America to discount the religious influence on the founding of America by pointing out inconstancies between the views of many of the more prominent Founders and what we might consider to be a proper Christian worldview. In doing so, we deny ourselves some of the most valuable lessons of history. There was a wide variety of beliefs then, just as there is now. The Framers that crafted our founding documents were members of Quaker, Anglican, Baptist, Congregationalist, and other Christian disciplines, and yet, there were certain beliefs they all held in common. Two of the most important religious characteristics of the Founders were their reverence for the Holy Bible and their faith in the Providence of God. They perhaps possessed the highest degree of Bible literacy of any group of political leaders before or since. The political speech of that era is replete with biblical references.

It is popular for historians to point to the writers of the Enlightenment Era such as John Locke or Montesquieu as providing the guiding principles behind our founding documents. The truth is that political writings of the time contain far more references to Biblical sources than to Enlightenment sources. In fact, Professor Daniel Dreisbach, an historian with American University claims there are more references to the book of Deuteronomy alone, found in the political writings of the Founders, than all of the Enlightenment writers combined. The Bible formed such a large part of the Founders thinking that they routinely referenced it in their speeches and correspondence without attribution, assuming that their audience would automatically recognize the reference. A classic example of this can be found in a speech by Benjamin Franklin to the Philadelphia Convention on June 28, 1787.

“…[T]he longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.”

In this short paragraph, there are at least three distinct biblical references, Psalm, 127, Matthew 10:29, and Genesis 11:8-10. Franklin also refers here, to the Providence of God in the “affairs of men”, as does George Washington in a letter to Brig. General Thomas Nelson in August 1788,

“The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”

This was written just before the Presidential election of 1788 and after the completion of the Constitution. It is evident that he was referring to the Divine Hand of God in the Revolutionary War and the events following, including the Confederation and the outcome of the Philadelphia Convention. James Madison had the same thoughts in mind when he wrote Federalist 37. In discussing the difficulties of the Convention in reconciling the differing ideas, opinions and interests of so diverse a group, Madison wrote,

“It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

I agree with Franklin, Washington and Madison in their conclusions that the plan of government set forth in our founding documents bears clear evidence of the providence of God in its creation. Lest I be misunderstood, let me point out that the Divine Providence of our founding is different from the inspiration of Scripture. In inspiration, God deals with individuals directly so that each book of the Bible has a single author. With Providence God works “behind the scenes” so to speak, using multitudes of people and events, often seemingly unrelated, to bring about His will. Providence can only be seen through the lens of hindsight. It is only through observing the formation and progress of our nation in history, that we can appreciate the Providence of God and that we can confidently declare our founding documents to be America’s Sacred Texts.

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California’s Big Chance

California once again has the chance to become a national leader instead of a national joke.

When Californians go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be voting on a ballot initiative to reform the primary election process in California.  The initiative, Proposition 14, will change the way candidates are selected to appear on the primary ballot and voters will be able to vote for any candidate they choose without regard to the party affiliations of either the candidate or the voter.

Supporters of the measure argue that it will lead to the election of more moderate candidates, ending the legislative deadlock caused by radical partisanship. Opponents argue that it will have the opposite effect, leading to domination of the voting process by “fat cats” and special corporate interest groups. The outcome Tuesday is far from certain, but in my opinion, it is an idea whose time has come and deserves to be considered by other states as well.

One of the major problems today is the domination of government and politics by “political bosses”. Loyalty to the “Party” has replaced loyalty to the Constitution and the people in the minds of too many elected officials. More often than not, it is the party establishment that determines the choices we have when we go to the polls in November. John McCain and Mark Kirk are two prime examples. Proposition 14 may not solve the problem, but it will help somewhat in breaking the hold political parties have gotten over the election process.

George Washington, in his farewell address warned about the dangers of “factions”.  Perhaps it was the two parties organized during his first term in office that he had in mind when he prepared his speech. The first political party was formed to strengthen the power of the central government and was soon followed by a second in opposition to it. Both parties faded away during the thirty-year dominance of republicans throughout the administrations of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and J.Q. Adams only to be brought back with a vengeance by Andrew Jackson and the institutionalizing of the spoils system establishing party loyalty above merit.

Under Prop. 14 political parties would not nominate candidates, although they could still endorse, support or oppose candidates. All qualified candidates, regardless of party, would appear on a single ballot with the top two vote getters for each office advancing to the general election. Whether the candidate’s party affiliation would also appear on the ballot would be left to the discretion of the candidate. In theory, voters could vote for the one they believed was the best candidate for the job, regardless of party.

Needless to say, both parties are vehemently opposed to Prop. 14 which is perhaps the best proof of its merit.  If approved it would greatly diminish the influence and power of political parties over the legislative process. The end result would be that elected officials would once again be more beholden to their constituents than their party leadership. It seems to me that the proposition would result in more partisanship rather than less. However, the partisanship would be based on issues rather than party loyalty, which is a good thing. Candidates would be trying to stake out a constituency for specific issues and not necessarily following the party line.

Proposition 14 does not effect the candidates for President and Vice President but it would effect the candidates for the Senate and House and all elected state offices. If successful, it could later be expanded to include the selection of electors without violating the Constitution.

You can read more on Prop 14 HERE and HERE

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Blueprint for Revolution

minute-man-2-lithoIn just four short months, President Barack Obama has unofficially suspended the Constitution and the rule of law.  Without the authorization of Congress or the consent of the people, he has nationalized America’s premier industrial business and placed generations of citizens yet unborn under the burden of unsupportable debt.  In the process, he has declared de facto war on capitalism.

Adhering to the philosophy of Saul Alinsky and Karl Marx and following the lead of Hugo Chavez, he seems to be on a path that will place him in complete control of the government within a very short time.  By appointing a series of Czars, with unprecedented powers reporting only to him, above the heads of Cabinet departments authorized by Congress, he has effectively taken control of the key government bureaucracies, most of which are unconstitutional to begin with.

George Washington, in 1796 warned of the danger of a charismatic leader getting control of a dominant political party in a time of crisis, and using his position as a springboard to despotism, to the detriment of liberty and freedom.  With uncanny accuracy, he described the ascension of  Barack Obama.

The election of Obama to the office of President is shaping up to be the most colossal mistake ever made by the American electorate in the history of our nation.  There are three seemingly insurmountable obstacles to correcting that mistake; (1) the unsupportable optimism of the American people that refuses to believe any President could ever aspire to a position of totalitarian power, (2) seventy-five years of conditioning by the incremental advances of liberalism that prepared us to accept totalitarianism without being aware of it, and (3) the blasé temperament of the average citizen that keeps them in ignorance of political reality.

We can accept the yoke of socialist tyranny, or we can cast off that yoke before it becomes so entrenched it cannot be removed without armed revolution.  Based on the speed with which Obama has moved to consolidate his power during his first months in office, waiting until 2012 or 2014 to take decisive action will condemn future generations to a wretchedness never before experienced in our history. Fortunately for us, the Founding Fathers left us the means of correcting our mistakes in choosing leaders, without the use of violence or resorting to arms.

Success depends on the American people deciding they value their liberties more than the idle promises of socialism.  Reversing the damage administration policies have already done, and will continue to do, to our economy and our freedom will require elected representatives with a level of patriotism not seen since the Continental Congress of 1776.  It will require the replacement of most of our elected officials, including those who “bring home the bacon” to our own communities.

The first step is to elect only candidates with a clear understanding of and fidelity to the Constitution.  In addition, they must have the courage to stand in opposition to those who insist on ignoring or violating the Constitution even when it seems politically unpopular to do so.  If we are to turn control of Congress back to the people, we must reject any elected official of whichever party, that has shown an ignorance of the Constitution or a willingness to ignore it in order to support unconstitutional policies for political expediency.  The 2010 elections are critical to our future as a free republic.

The second step is to establish a very real threat of recall for any elected or appointed official who violates his or her oath of office by violating or ignoring the requirements of the Constitution by usurping authority not delegated to them by the Constitution.  Many states have provisions for recall in their constitutions.  The Founders incorporated a similar provision in the Constitution, although it remains unrecognized by the average citizen and unacknowledged by the average politician.  The recall provision in the Constitution by which officials may be removed from office is seldom used other than in partisan political squabbles between the two parties.  However, that does not mean it is not a valid instrument for enforcing fidelity to the Constitution. The authority for recall is found in Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution,

“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Politicians have done a good job of misleading the American people into believing the grounds for impeachment is limited to criminal activities such as treason, bribery and other forms of corruption.  They are able to do this because few citizens understand the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  However, those who debated and eventually agreed on the wording of the Constitution were quite familiar with the phrase.

Ilona Nickels, of C-Span gives us some insight into the meaning of the phrase.

“High crimes and misdemeanors” entered the text of the Constitution due to George Mason and James Madison. Mason had argued that the reasons given for impeachment — treason and bribery — were not enough. He worried that other “great and dangerous offenses” might not be covered, and suggested adding the word “maladministration.” Madison argued that term was too vague, so Mason then proposed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a phrase well known in English common law. In 18th century language, a “misdemeanor” meant “mis-demeanor,” or bad behavior (neglect of duty and corruption were given as examples), while “high crimes” was roughly equivalent to “great offenses.”

In 1974 during the “Watergate Scandal” of Richard Nixon, the House Judiciary Committee identified three categories in which Congress had issued articles of impeachment in the past:  “(1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.”

The sole purpose of impeachment is for the removal from office of officials who fail to fulfill their oath of office or effectively execute their duties.  That impeachment is unrelated to criminal activity is further indicated by the clause in Article 1, Section 3,

“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

In the next election, voters need to execute a wholesale replacement of elected officials in both parties, to be followed by holding those elected accountable for enforcing adherence to the Constitution.  Fidelity to the Constitution is not a political question; it is a question of freedom.  Those who argue that the meaning of the Constitution is a matter of interpretation are being intellectually dishonest and endeavoring to advance their own agenda ahead of the welfare of the American people.

The Obama Troika

minute-man-2-lithoAs Congress and the Obama Administration continues to ramp up their war on Capitalism and the U.S. Constitution, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he is prepared to fast-track Obama’s socialized healthcare plans by using a parliamentary maneuver that would preclude a Republican filibuster.

At the present time, according to AP, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is attempting to write a bipartisan health care bill with his committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Baucus has said he doesn’t want to resort to reconciliation, the term used for the maneuver that would neutralize a Republican filibuster threat. “We have to give this bipartisan effort of Sen. Baucus a shot,” Senator Reid commented to AP, indicating if it fails he is prepared to go ahead with “reconciliation.”

This comes on the heels of this week’s Senate bill SERVE and the House bill GIVE that has already cleared the House and is now under consideration by the Senate.  It also coincides with the reconstituting of Obama’s “grassroots” network that helped propel him into the White House.

As the mass media marvels at the speed with which Obama has been able to rush his agenda through Congress in just a little over two months, I am reminded of a quote from the Book of Revelation, “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea; for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  Rev. 12:12.

No, I am not saying that Obama is the devil or the Anti-Christ, as has been suggested by some.  I am just pointing out that Obama and his minions are under tremendous time pressure to get his agenda passed before enough of the American people notice what he is doing and devise a way to stop him.  It is difficult for most of us to believe that our elected leaders would deliberately set out to destroy our way of life, but we are left with an undeniable choice.  Either the policies of Obama and the Democrat/socialists in Congress represent a deliberate plan or the greatest level of incompetence ever imposed on the American people.

George Washington warned us, with uncanny accuracy, in 1796 of the danger in allowing political parties to gain too much power over the government.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

We are not yet a dictatorship, although Obama’s governing style seems to be patterned more after Hugo Chavez than Thomas Jefferson. However, we are no longer a representative, constitutional republic.  Instead, we are governed by a triumvirate consisting of one elected official and two unelected.  In case you haven’t yet noticed, since Obama and the 111th Congress were sworn in, all major decisions and policies are decided by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in conjunction with President Obama.

Nancy Pelosi was elected by the people in the eighth congressional district of California which has a population of only 640,000.  Harry Reid was elected by the people of Nevada with a population of only 2,500,000.  The combined population of America represented by Pelosi and Reid is less than 3% of the total population.  The number of citizens who actually cast votes for them is less than 1%, yet they make arbitrary decisions on a daily basis that effect the lives of all Americans, and they are able to do it with no threat of being held accountable by the voters.

Somehow, I don’t think this is what the Founders had in mind when they were crafting the Constitution.