Tag: creator

One Nation, Under God

By David Barton

Despite America’s great diversity, nothing unifies Americans more than their support for public acknowledgments of God. Consider:

  • 93% want “In God we Trust” to remain on coins and currency 2
  • 90% support keeping “under God” in the Pledge 3
  • 84% support references to God in schools, government buildings, and public settings 4
  • 82% support voluntary school prayer 5
  • 76% support Ten Commandments displays on public property 6

There are few other subjects on which over three-fourths of Americans consistently agree; and while the Left complains that religious expressions are divisive, the evidence proves otherwise; religious expressions have unified Americans from the beginning.

In fact, at the first-ever meeting of Congress in 1774 when it was suggested that Congress open with prayer, some delegates predicted that the act would be divisive, 7 but John Adams reported exactly the opposite, noting that “it has had an excellent effect upon everybody here.” 8 Several Supreme Court Justices still believe that such acts are unifying, noting:

[T]he founders of our Republic knew…that nothing, absolutely nothing, is so inclined to foster among religious believers of various faiths a toleration – no, an affection – for one another than voluntarily joining in prayer together to God Whom they all worship and seek. 9

Yet the public acknowledgement of God was more than just a pleasant practice in early America; it actually formed the basis of our government philosophy – a philosophy set forth in eighty-four simple words in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government. 10

Thus, five immutable principles constitute the heart and soul of American government:

1. Government acknowledges that there is a Creator
2. Government acknowledges that the Creator gives specific inalienable rights to man
3. Government acknowledges that it exists to protect God-given rights
4. Government acknowledges that below the level of God-given rights, government powers are to be operated only with the permission of citizens – i.e., with the “consent of the governed”
5. If government fails to meet the four standards above, the people have an inalienable right to abolish that government and institute a new one that does observe the four criteria above.

Significantly, without a public and official recognition of God, there is no hope of limited government, for rights come only from God or from man. If rights come from God, then we can require man to protect those rights – as we did in the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. But if our rights come from man, then man is permitted to regulate or abolish those rights, and government’s power over our lives therefore becomes absolute and unlimited, as has been the growing trend since the 1990s.

The Founders understood that irrevocable limitations can be placed on government only when God is recognized as the source of our rights; they also understood that if we became complacent in our recognition of God as the center of our lives and government, then we would lose our liberties. As Thomas Jefferson warned:

[C]an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? – that they are not to be violated but with His wrath? 11

According to Jefferson, the only “firm basis” of our national liberties is a “conviction in the minds of the people” that our liberties are from God and that government cannot intrude into those liberties without incurring God’s wrath.

President George Washington likewise admonished:

[I]t is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. 12

President John Adams similarly urged:

[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him. 13

And Samuel Adams agreed, reminding Americans:

May every citizen . . . have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, “Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed” [I Samuel 2:30]. 14

To restore honor and restore America, we first must restore God to His rightful place in our own lives and thinking. We must then reintroduce those original principles back into the public arena, thus restoring the foundation on which our Declaration and Constitution were built and the only foundation which allows them to operate as intended.

It is time for us to re-embrace the truth of President Reagan’s warning that:

If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under. 15

 


Endnotes

1. This is an op-ed article that David Barton wrote for a national website. (Return)

2. Dana Blanton, “FOX Poll: Courts Driving Religion Out of Public Life; Christianity Under Attack,” Fox News, December 1, 2005 (November 29-30, 2005 poll results) (at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,177355,00.html).(Return)

3. Dana Blanton, “FOX Poll: Courts Driving Religion Out of Public Life; Christianity Under Attack,” Fox News, December 1, 2005 (November 29-30, 2005 poll results) (at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,177355,00.html).(Return)

4. See, “Vast Majority in U.S. Support ‘Under God’,” CNN, June 29, 2002 (at: http://articles.cnn.com/2002-06-29/us/poll.pledge_1_newsweek-poll-christian-nation-religion?_s=PM:US); Howard Fineman, “One Nation, Under… Who?” The Daily Beast, July 7, 2002 (at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2002/07/07/one-nation-under-who.html).(Return)

5. Dana Blanton, “FOX Poll: Courts Driving Religion Out of Public Life; Christianity Under Attack,” Fox News, December 1, 2005 (November 29-30, 2005 poll results) (at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,177355,00.html).(Return)

6. Dana Blanton, “FOX Poll: Courts Driving Religion Out of Public Life; Christianity Under Attack,” Fox News, December 1, 2005 (November 29-30, 2005 poll results) (at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,177355,00.html).(Return)

7. John Adams, Abigail Adams, Letters of John Adams Addressed to His Wife, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), Vol. I, pp. 23-24, to Abigail Adams on September 16, 1774. See also Journals of the Continental Congress (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1904), Vol. I, pp. 26-27, September 6-7, 1774. (Return)

8. John Adams, Abigail Adams, Letters of John Adams Addressed to His Wife, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), Vol. I, pp. 23-24, to Abigail Adams on September 16, 1774. (Return)

9. Lee v. Weisman, 120 L. Ed. 2d 467, 519 (1992) (Scalia, J., dissenting). (Return)

10. The Declaration of Independence. (Return)

11. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, pp. 236-237. (Return)

12. Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (London: Henry Colburn, 1839), Vol. II, p. 302, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789. (Return)

13. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 169, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on March 23, 1798. (Return)

14. Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), Vol. IV, p. 189, article signed “Vindex” originally published in the Boston Gazette on June 12, 1780. (Return)

15. Ronald Reagan, “Remarks at a Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas,” The American Presidency Project, August 23, 1984 (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=40282). (Return)

Courtesy of http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=99351

Christian Biochemist: First ‘Synthetic Cell’ Strengthens Case for Design

A biochemistry expert at the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe is among those hailing the recent creation of the first-ever “synthetic cell,” though not for the same reasons as most.

  • bacterial cell with a synthetic genome
    These are images of M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 and WT M. mycoides.
“From an apologetics standpoint, this is exciting work that I’m happy to see pursued and would like to see even more effort devoted toward this because it’s giving us a very powerful case for [Intelligent] Design,” said Dr. Fazle Rana on Friday, referring to the idea that holds certain aspects of nature are so complex that they could not have come about by evolution alone but instead point to an intelligent designer.

“In fact, I even would go so far as to say that this is even a brand new class of arguments for Design,” he added during RTB’s flagship podcast.

On Thursday, a group of scientists announced that it had successfully replaced all of the natural DNA inside a cell with laboratory-synthesized DNA, creating the first-ever “synthetic cell.”

The team, led by Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute, presented its findings in an article published on the website of the journal Science, run by the non-profit American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

In the study, the scientists explained how they synthesized the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasm mycoides with four bottles of chemicals and transplanted it into another type of bacteria, Mycoplasm capricolum, which is closely related to M. mycoides.

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made,” said Venter, calling the cell synthetic because it was completely derived from a synthetic chromosome created on a chemical synthesizer with information in a computer.

“This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do,” Venter added. “We have a wide range of applications [in mind].”

In his comments Friday, Rana similarly noted that the applications are “limitless” as is “the potential for good.”

But the Christian biochemist seemed more excited about the new set of arguments that have been made available to Design proponents through advances such Venter’s.

“This is a third approach that says, ‘We think that life is the work of a designer because we know from empirical experience now that to make life requires ingenuity, careful planning, careful manipulation of chemicals in the lab under exacting conditions in order to generate lifeforms,'” Rana said.

“I think it shows conclusively in the most compelling way possible that life requires a mind,” he added.

As for fears that bioterrorists could get a hold of the new methodology and do something damaging with it, Rana said such a possibility “is a long way off.”

“To get this to work is so non-trivial. I can’t imagine somebody in their garage cooking up a dangerous organism,” he stated.

Others in the faith community, however, are not so confident.

While the announcement by Venter’s team raised the prospect of a number of benefits, such as the ability to accelerate vaccine development, it also raised potential societal and ethical concerns.

“Pretending to be God and parroting His power of creation is an enormous risk that can plunge men into a barbarity,” Bishop Domenico Mogavero told Italian newspaper La Stampa, adding that scientists “should never forget that there is only one creator: God.”

Monsignor Rino Fisichella, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, meanwhile told The Associated Press that recently revealed work was a “great scientific discovery.”

“If we ascertain that it is for the good of all, of the environment and man in it, we’ll keep the same judgment,” he said.

But Fisichella added, “If, on the other hand, the use of this discovery should turn against the dignity of and respect for human life, then our judgment would change.”

Presently, aside from working on ways to speed up vaccine production, researchers are planning to design algae that can capture carbon dioxide and make new hydrocarbons that could go into refineries. Making new chemicals or food ingredients and cleaning up water are other possible benefits, according to Venter.

In light of the latest advance, President Obama has called upon his recently-created Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to consider the implications of the advance and report back to him within six months.

Obama encouraged the commission to consult with a range of constituencies – including scientific and medical communities, faith communities, and business and nonprofit organizations – stating that it is “vital that we as a society consider, in a thoughtful manner, the significance of this kind of scientific development.”

“With the Commission’s collective expertise in the areas of science, policy, and ethical and religious values, I am confident that it will carry out this responsibility with the care and attention it deserves,” the president concluded in a letter Thursday to commission chair Amy Gutmann.

Obama had signed an Executive Order creating the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues late last November. The commission was created to advise the president on bioethical issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.

Courtesy of  http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100523/christian-biochemist-first-synthetic-cell-strengthens-case-for-design/index.html