Friday, December 5, 2008

Founders Friday

"Be Thou present, O God of Wisdom, and direct the counsel of this Honorable Assembly; enable them to settle all things on the best and surest foundation; that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that Order, Harmony, and Peace may be effectually restored, and that Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety, prevail and flourish among the people. preserve the health of their bodies and the vigor of their minds, shower down on them, and the millions they represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy son and our Saviour. Amen"

The prayer of Reverend Jacob Duche's at the outset of the 1st continental Congress, 1774.


  1. Certainly the founders did not feel that praying in the name of Jesus to kick off congressional meetings was tantamount to establishing a state religion.

  2. Not the other anonDecember 5, 2008 at 4:28 PM

    Perhaps their conclusion was correct, but only for their time. Things are different now.

    What would you conclude if a session of congress were opened today by praying to someone other than God -- like a potted tree that was invited to bless the session?

    In some ways, I find it odd that prayer, iconography, inscriptions, etc. are not considered instituting a state religion, but the removal of those things or inclusion of those things, but of a different type, causes an outcry about losing a Judeo-Christian heritage.

    Losing the state-sanctioned expression of that heritage is a symptom of a larger problem. What is the significance of forcing those state-sanctioned traditions, if the people are largely non-Christian?

  3. Truthfully, it would bother me if a session of congress were opened with prayer to another deity.

    However, that is not the same as saying it would violate the constitution.

  4. No one said anything about forcing traditions. The issue is not if congress should begin with prayer in the name of Jesus Christ or not. The issue is that the founding fathers practiced their christianity and their faith played a big role in how they governed. They didn't seem to think that by acting on their faith was contary to their principle of separation of church and state.

    The problem today is that when a governing official makes a decision base upon his/her faith in God, he/she is attacked and accused of forcing a religious belief on the people.

    The founding fathers created a way for the people to have a say in how they were ruled. What a man believes, whether he is Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheistic, or Polytheistic, will affect the way he governs. A person who is elected should have the freedom to practice his/her belief system without controversy. Elected officials who practice their faith are not the same as those who force their faith on others.

  5. Not the other anonDecember 8, 2008 at 3:35 PM

    "The problem today is that when a governing official makes a decision base upon his/her faith in God, he/she is attacked and accused of forcing a religious belief on the people."

    -- No one that I've heard say anything against this sort of thing is saying that the leader should be forced to make some other decision, just that the leader is using poor judgment. I talk to plenty of liberals everyday at the lunch table. . .