Prayer: Separation of Church and State
Much is being written today concerning the separation of church and state and how prayer shouldn’t be allowed in public places, under the guise that it might offend some one. The reason is often given that many if not all of our founding fathers never believed in God or the need for prayer. If one studies anything of our history during the formation of our country it is soon learned that this could not be farther from the truth.
The father of our country,George Washington expressed many times his belief in a supreme being and even stressed that divine intervention had been responsible for keeping him out of harm’s way.
The following is an excerpt from a speech Benjamin Franklin gave after the Continental Congress had reached a stalemate and couldn’t reach any agreement on how to proceed.
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other — our different sentiments on almost every question,several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is me thinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarceable to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers,Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.
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. 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 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 be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may here after this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move –that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
This along with several other instances clearly state the founding fathers had every intention of allowing one to participate in prayer in the public arena.
Not everyone agreed that prayer was important, however after prayer was offered, congress began to move forward with our new government.
From this excerpt we can see how important Franklin thought daily prayer was.
Offering a prayer in no way constitutes a government endorsing a particular religion or belief. If one doesn’t believe or participate all that needs to be done is to stand silent and be respectful until the prayer concludes. Nothing wrong with this. No one can force you to pray.
Thirteen of our founding fathers were masons, hence they had to profess a belief in a supreme being to be admitted to the lodge, many more held beliefs that were common to masonry, even though they themselves didn’t belong to the masonic order.
Many government buildings in our nations capitol display religious as well as masonic emblems, When George Washington dedicated the cornerstone to our capitol, he did it in masonic regalia.
A few years ago the Taliban went about the middle east removing all religious emblems from buildings and temples in that area, do we want to do the same in this country?
I think not. It’s time to put political correctness aside and return our thinking to a more common sense approach, something more in line with the ideals our country was founded on.