For the first 150 years of America’s existence, no one questioned the axiom America is a Christian nation. This did not mean that everyone was a Christian or that the nation officially sanctioned any denomination or religious sect. It meant, instead, that the nation’s laws and institutions were founded on Christian principles and values. This fact was stated by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1892 in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States. After examining thousands of historical documents, the nation’s highest Court unanimously declared,
There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation . . .. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 6-7).
The Christian mindset of America’s Founders was verified in a ten-year project to discover where they got their ideas for America’s founding documents. The study found that, by far, the single most cited authority in their writings was the Bible. It is, therefore, not surprising that the first English Bible printed in the United States contained a recommendation from the U.S. Congress. Published in 1782 by Robert Aitken, the Congressional recommendation reads in part,
Being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 15).
These facts, no doubt, provided a basis for a 1982 article in Newsweek entitled “How the Bible Made America.” It contained this insightful statement:
For centuries [the Bible] has exerted an unrivaled influence on American culture, politics and social life. Now historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model of society, a beacon to the world (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 7).
This reality of America being a Christian nation was expressed in American culture by Bible reading and prayer being common occurrences in all kinds of public settings. Until the 1960s, it was common for school days, school activities, sporting events, city council meetings, and other public events to open with prayer. Displays of Bible verses, crosses, and the Ten Commandments were common on public property, including courtrooms. It was normal for a baccalaureate sermon by a local pastor to be part of public-school graduation exercises.
The Attack on Public Displays of Faith
The nation was shocked, therefore, when, in two Supreme Court rulings, Engel vs Vitale (1962) and Abington School vs Schempp (1963) the nation’s highest court banned school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in the public schools of America. This ruling was based on a contorted and novel interpretation of that part of the First Amendment that reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof.”
The plaintiffs in these suits argued that school-sponsored prayer violated the so-called “establishment clause” of the First Amendment and amounted to an establishment of religion by the federal government. A very liberal court accepted this argument and opened the floodgates for anti-Christian activism.
Since that time, lawsuits filed by atheist and secularist organizations have resulted in the removal of crosses, Ten Commandment displays, and other Christian expressions from public property. School children can no longer sing Joy to the World or Silent Night at Christmas because of the Christian content. As part of this crusade to de-Christianize America, the secularists insist on calling a Christmas Tree a Holiday Tree and referring to the Christmas Holiday as The Winter Holiday.
Veterans groups and military chaplains have been told they cannot pray in the Name of Jesus. A high school coach was told he can no longer kneel to pray at the end of football games, and a high school band in Mississippi was ordered by a judge to remove How Great Thou Art from the repertoire of music that they play at football games and other school events. On April 6, 2009, President Barak Obama announced to a Turkish audience, “America is not a Christian nation.” His audacious statement showed the extent to which the crusade to de-Christianize America had arrived.
The Attack on America’s Christian Heritage
Nations derive their sense of identity from their history. If you want to destroy a culture, you begin by rewriting and reinterpreting their history. This is what Karl Marx was referring to when he said, “People without a heritage are easily persuaded.”
The attack on America’s Christian culture is happening, not only in the attack on public symbols of faith, but in the rewriting of American history textbooks that are used in public schools and colleges. Students are now taught that the Pilgrims came to America for monetary purposes and the Founders were a collection of wealthy, evil, white slave-owners.
The educational elite know that if they can control the narrative of America’s past, they can also control her future. They know the truth of George Orwell’s statement, “Whoever controls the past, controls the future.”
The 1726 Project
Recovering the truth about America’s history for this generation is, therefore, critical. A few years ago, Ronald M. Mann, Deputy Director of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, warned,
Unless the people of this nation take seriously the storm flags waving, we are doomed to repeat the past mistakes of those who refused to pay attention to history and end up in the graveyard of fallen nations (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the AmericanRepublic, 3).
Along those same lines, Carl Sandburg, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, wrote,
When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 11).
Recovering our Christian heritage for this generation is of utmost importance. This is why I have written and just published 1726: The Year that Defined America. It is also why I have launched the “1726 Project.” Beginning in 1726, a great spiritual tsunami began that eventually engulfed all of Colonial America in a flood of religious fervor.
This Great Awakening, as it has been called, not only renewed the Christian vision of the Pilgrims, it gave birth to an anti-slavery movement that eventually brought about the end of slavery on this continent. It also had a direct bearing on the founding of the United States of America. 1726 was, in fact, the year that defined America. This is the heritage we must not allow to be lost or stolen.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. In this book, Dr. Hyatt documents how the Great Awakening in Colonial America had a direct bearing on both the founding of the United State and the ending of slavery on this continent. He has founded the “1726 Project” to spread this strategic and timely message across the land.