Tim Throckmorton: Starting off on the right foot!
It was Founding Father George Mason, who helped write the Constitution in 1787 and aided in crafting the original Constitution of Virginia back in 1776, who said, “The only way you preserve good government is by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
In other words, going back to fundamental principles reveals what the foundation is so that we can build properly on it.
When we do in our nation we see that America has great footing!
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, while visiting America in 1831, wrote, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests – and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public-school system, and in her institutions of higher learning – and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”
Speaking of being good… or not!
Christopher Bedford in The Federalist last week wrote, “In 1790, mobs looted and pillaged Paris’s treasured Notre Dame. To the revolutionaries, the cathedral symbolized everything that was wrong with France’s history and society — a history of kings, tradition and religion, and a society beset by royal injustice and systemic inequality.”
Over the next three years, the 12th-century church’s riches and artifacts were stripped, stolen, and destroyed, their remnants hidden by the faithful and sold off by the faithless.
Statues of the Virgin Mary were removed and statues to the Goddess of Liberty took their place on desecrated altars… As the destruction of religious art unfurled, priests who did not swear allegiance to the new order and those who aided them were sentenced to death… In the Place de Louis XV, the large statue of the square’s namesake was torn down and the plaza renamed Place de la Revolution.
A guillotine was raised, and the “liberated” space would see the execution of more than 1,200 prisoners, from King Louis XVI and his wife to the executions’ ringleader himself, Maximilien Robespierre.”
Interesting and a bit familiar, isn’t it?
The Declaration of Independence we celebrate this week was the brave beginning of our great nation as committed and courageous men pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honors to begin this new birth of freedom.
James Madison, looking back, observed, “The real wonder is that the Constitutional Convention overcame so many difficulties. And overcome them with as much agreement was unprecedented as it was unexpected.”
Listen to this, he said “It’s impossible for the pious man not to recognize in the Constitutional Convention a finger of that almighty hand which was so frequently extended to us in the critical stages of the revolution.”
Notice the reference to the finger of God.
George Washington wrote to his friend the Marquis de Lafayette saying, “We’ve done, as to my sentiments, with respect to the new constitution, it appears to me little short of a miracle. It demonstrates is visibly the finger of Providence as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”
Notice, again, the attention to God’s obvious involvement.
William Bennet recently observed in the phenomenon of refusing to stand for our National Anthem, “These men were never taught the stories of bravery, courage and heroism from our nation’s great history! This is in no way excuses their behavior; however, it does shed light on a generation who seems to know nothing of our grand history. The story of George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge, Col. Joshua Chamberlin and the 20th Maine at Gettysburg or, as the president said, the boys at Normandy.
Let me tell you it’s hard not to shed a tear when you hear the music of our anthem begin after you’ve spent time looking into the eyes of a World War II veteran and heard their stories of landing on Guadalcanal, or hearing a Vietnam helicopter pilot tell you the names of their personal friends who never came back.”
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic aptly traces our story, In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free.”
In his letter to Abigail Adam, dated July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.
It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
Let’s celebrate the birth of America!
Better yet, let’s put our best foot forward!
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council.
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