I. OUR GREAT HERITAGE: GOD
A HERITAGE PICTORIAL
The graphics shown below are only a small pictorial sample showing the great spiritual heritage and reverence for God which the nation has inherited from its ancestors of the Revolutionary War period and later.
Americans are inherently a religious people, with over 300,000 churches in the nation and as many pastors and religious staff members. This heritage goes back beyond the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution to our very first settlers, the Pilgrims, who came to America for religious reasons in 1620. Carvings, art, and sculpture on our governmental buildings speak graphically of that religious heritage.
Some examples of this religious heritage are the following:
20,000 COPIES OF THE HOLY BIBLE WERE PURCHASED ABROAD ON ORDER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS IN 1777
IN 1781, THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS GAVE ITS APPROVAL FOR THE PUBLISHING IN AMERICA OF THE "BIBLE OF THE REVOLUTION"
BRONZE PLAQUE IN DIRKSEN OFFICE BUILDING, U.S. SENATE
STATUE AT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN WASHINGTON D.C. OF MOSES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WITH THE 10 COMMANDMENTS IN HEBREW
I recently sent a copy of this photograph of this statue of Moses with the 10 Commandments in Hebrew to Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. Judge Moore was being challenged in the State superior courts in Alabama for posting the 10 Commandments in his own courtroom. I pointed out how incongruous it was to have the ACLU (who brought the suit) challenging Judge Moore's right to have the 10 Commandments posted in his own courtroom when the U.S. Supreme Court has the same 10 Commandments in Hebrew in this statue at the U.S. Supreme Court. Further, Judge Moore was advised that it is reported that the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has the 10 Commandments posted in English behind his seat in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Alabama Supreme Court recently made a decision stating that Judge Moore could post the 10 Commandments in his courtroom. We make no claim that our message to him had anything to do with the decision but we are glad to see reason and justice prevail.
PRAYER WINDOW IN U.S. CAPITOL PICTURING GEORGE WASHINGTON IN PRAYER
ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S PROCLAMATION FOR A NATIONAL DAY OF FASTING, HUMILIATION AND PRAYER APRIL 30, 1863
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION OCTOBER 3, 1789
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God,
"to obey His will and 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 16 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 tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled 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 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 states, 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 sovereign 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 3rd day of October A.D. 1789.
"(signed) Go. Washington."
The above is a most remarkable document and speaks of the role of religion not only in the private life of our leaders in 1789 but also the continuing and vital place of religion in their public life as well.
Among the most famous of paintings, that of Jan Bruegel the Elder, of God's creation of the earth
Jan Bruegel (1568-1625) was Court Painter to the Regents of the Court of Southern Netherlands after 1610 and was the son of the most famous Northern painter of the mid-16th Century, Peter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish painter.