Todd Starnes, host of FOX News & Commentary, covers high profile stories from Wall Street to the White House on hundreds of stations around the country. He is also a contributor to FOX Nation and The Strategy Room on FOXNews.com and a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Storytelling. His previous book was They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick. Starnes lives in New York City.
As dawn breaks over the eastern seaboard and the morning sun begins to spill its light across the waters of the Atlantic, there stands a monument of marble and granite rising high above our nation's capital. The beacon rises more than 555 feet and provides a perfect panoramic of the sixty-nine square miles that comprise the District of Columbia. To the north is the White House; to the south, the Jefferson Memorial; to the west the Lincoln Memorial; and to the east, the Capitol. But no building is as tall as the obelisk.
At its pinnacle is a capstone made of aluminum. It was the intention of her architect, Robert Mills, to carve tributes on all four sides of the capstone; but the message he carved on the eastern side of the monument holds the most importance. The words have weathered time and turmoil, war and peace. To this day the seven letters Mr. Mills carved into the aluminum capstone remain.
When morning comes to America, the first rays of light illuminate the capstone and Mr. Mill's testimony for the ages. The obelisk may celebrate a man, but it gives glory to a higher power— Laus Deo—praise be to God.
I thought about the Washington Monument awhile back when I heard the president of the United States deliver a stunning message to the nation and to the world. President Obama set the record straight on the campaign trail. "America is no longer just a Christian nation," he told the Christian Broadcasting Network.
It would not be the last time he made such a declaration. "I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam," he told a French television station in 2009. "And one of the points I want to make is, that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."
Did you catch that? The president said we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. Wait just a second— I thought the president said the United States was a secular nation? Obama reiterated his position in Turkey, where 98 percent of the nation is Muslim. The president, standing on foreign soil, declared the United States is not a Christian nation.
"I've said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation," he said. "We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values." The American public, though, disagrees with the president. A Gallup survey found that 78 percent of Americans consider themselves Christian. To be sure, the president has his defenders. Among them is Michael Lind, the editor of New American Contract. In a column that appeared in Salon.com, he writes: "President Obama, then, is right. The American republic, as distinct from the American population, is not post-Christian because it was never Christian. In the president's words: 'We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.' And for that we should thank the gods. All 20 of them."
For what it's worth, John Adams, the second president of the United States, was pretty clear which of the "gods" to thank. "July 4th ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty," he wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress.
Obama's declaration stands in stark contrast to comments once made by former President Ronald Reagan. "The Founding Fathers believed faith in God was the key to our being a good people and America's becoming a great nation," he said.
And during a National Prayer Breakfast, Reagan did not hesitate to lay out the source of our nation's success. "I also believe this blessed land was set apart in a very special way, a country created by men and women who came here not in search of gold, but in search of God," he said. "They would be free people, living under the law with faith in their Maker and their future. Sometimes it seems we've strayed from that noble beginning, from our conviction that standards of right and wrong do exist and must be lived up to." Not a Christian nation? Tell that to the men who wrote our 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.
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to George Washington. He used fifty-four biblical terms to describe God in his various writings. "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian," he once wrote.
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court. "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers," he wrote.
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to James Madison, our fourth president and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. "A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven," he once wrote. Not a Christian nation? Tell that to Daniel Webster who once argued before the Supreme Court in favor of teaching religious instruction to children. "What is an oath? [I]t is founded on a degree of consciousness that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues or punish our vices . . . [O]ur system of oaths in all our courts, by which we hold liberty and property and all our rights, are founded on or rest on Christianity and a religious belief."
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to Patrick Henry, the voice of liberty. "Being a Christian . . . is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast," he once said.
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to the father of the American Revolution—Samuel Adams. "I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace," he declared in a Fast Day Proclamation in 1797.
Not a Christian nation? Tell that to Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the father of public schools under the Constitution. "The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible," he wrote.
Secular humanists may one day be successful in the religious cleansing of American history. There may come a time when Christian values will be banished from the marketplace of ideas and expelled from our public schools. On the horizon a day fast approaches when Americans could pay a price for following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
And while the winds of change may sweep across the nation's capital, there stands a beacon of hope—a reminder that this nation of immigrants was built not on sinking sand but on a firm foundation, girded by Almighty God. And unless someone has a really tall ladder and a blowtorch, the first rays of morning light will shine down upon these United States of America, illuminating an eternal truth and a grateful nation's prayer. Praise be to God!
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