Friday, June 25, 2010

The General Principles of Christianity by David Barton

In that work, he declared: Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohamed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.

But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament. All its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society and the safety and well being of civil government.

Numerous religions did exist in America at the time of the Founders; and the Founders understood the potential value of any major religion to a society; but they specifically preferred Christianity a fact John Adams made clear in a letter to Thomas Jefferson: Who composed that army of fine young fellows that was then before my eyes? There were among them Roman Catholics, English Episcopalians, Scotch and American Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Anabaptists, German Lutherans, German Calvinists, Universalists, Arians, Priestleyans, Socinians, Independents, Congregationalists, Horse Protestants and House Protestants, Deists and Atheists, and Protestants “qui ne croyent rein.” Very few, however, of several of these species; nevertheless, all educated in the general principles of Christianity. Could my answer be understood by any candid reader or hearer, to recommend to all the others the general principles, institutions, or systems of education of the Roman Catholics? Or those of the Quakers? Or those of the Presbyterians? Or those of the Methodists? Or those of the Moravians? Or those of the Universalists? Or those of the Philosophers? No. The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.

Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God I could therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles. Today, we might accurately describe the “general principles of Christianity” as the “Judeo-Christian Ethic” since the Founders showed great attachment to the “Hebrews” (see chapter 8 for detailed information of the Founders’ views on this group).

Friday, June 18, 2010

An Overview of the First Amendment by David Barton

The prominent characteristic of the emerging national government during and after the American Revolution was the strong ardor of the people and the states to protect their traditional powers and rights from the national government. History and experience had both proved that centralized government power could be a source of tyranny and abuse, so under early national government (such as the Articles of Confederation), policies were enacted not by the concurrence of a simple majority but rather by a three-fourths supermajority, thus allowing states easily to block the action of the entire national government if they believed their own rights or powers were being infringed.

From this backdrop, delegates were selected from the individual states and sent to a national gathering in Philadelphia in 1787. That assembly (now called the Constitutional Convention) produced a new federal government, but it also generated an element of strong opposition. Several delegates, believing that the Constitution contained insufficient barriers to prevent the federal government from usurping state authority in a number of areas, refused to sign the document.

This group (known as the “Anti-Federalists” and led by delegates such as George Mason, Luther Martin, John Francis Mercer, and Elbridge Gerry and joined by prominent Founding Fathers such as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry), warned Americans that unless specific amendments were added to the Constitution to limit the powers of the new federal government, it might invade and usurp the rights of states, communities, and individuals.

For example, Samuel Adams warned: I mean to let you know how deeply I am impressed with a sense of the importance of Amendments, that the good people may clearly see the distinction for there is a distinction between the federal powers vested in Congress and the sovereign authority belonging to the several states, which is the Palladium the protector of the private and personal rights of the citizens. When the states assembled conventions to ratify the new federal Constitution, those conventions resounded loudly with the Anti-Federalist arguments.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Republican Party by David Barton

Also well documented is the fact that African Americans made their earliest and some of their most significant political and civil rights gains while affiliated with the Republican Party and that progress is still continuing in this generation.

Consider the Texas election in which African American Ron Kirk, former mayor of Dallas, was running for a U. S. Senate seat. When Kirk lost that election, voices across the nation asserted that the South was still too racist to elect a minority on a statewide ballot. What they failed to mention was that in that same election, three African Americans were elected to statewide offices on the very same statewide ballot as Kirk but those three were elected as Republicans rather than Democrats. Apparently, Texas became the first State in American history to elect three black Americans to statewide office, but since they were all Republicans, that story simply was not reported. In that same election cycle, black Americans were elected to statewide office in other States as well, including a black Lieutenant Governor in Ohio and another in Maryland both as Republicans.

An important point is illustrated by these recent elections: in Democratically controlled States, rarely are African Americans elected statewide; And most African American Democratic Members of Congress usually are elected only from minority districts that is, Democratic districts where minority voters make the majority rather than where there is a Democratic majority of white voters. On the other hand, African American Republicans are usually elected statewide in Republican States or in congressional districts with large white majorities such as when J. C. Watts was elected to Congress as a Republican in a district with only 9 percent African American voters.

Perhaps this explains why Frederick Douglass, a century ago, reminded black Americans: “For colored voters, the Republican Party is the ship, all else is the sea.” 463 The political history of African Americans has often proved Douglass right.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Most Successful Ministers by David Barton

The accounts of lynchings are not just the lore of ancient American history. Many alive today still vividly remember those horrid occurrences, and many were personally and directly impacted by lynchings. One such individual is the Rev. Charles Jackson of Houston.

The Rev. Jackson is well known across the nation as one of our most successful ministers. He was the first pastor in America – of any color – to be televised nationally from the pulpit on a weekly basis. He also built a large successful mega-church in Houston: the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church with more than 5,000 families. Pastor Jackson has preached across the world, started hundreds of churches in America and abroad, written more than a dozen books, and traveled to foreign nations in company with a U. S. President. He was also the first black man in the modern era to be invited to attend a service in a major white church in South Africa and to be invited before the South African Parliament.

Despite his current renown, the Rev. Jackson’s beginnings were very humble. He was raised in east Texas, eight miles from the nearest city. His mother would walk those eight miles into town at the beginning of each week and would remain in town, working for one dollar a week; and then she would walk home for 1921 report on democrat pro-lynching filibuster Rev. Charles “c. l.” Jackson the weekends. One night, a terrified young black man came running up to their house; a mob was after him, seeking to lynch him. Pastor Jackson’s grandfather grabbed his shotgun and went out on the front porch to await the mob and defend the young man. The young man tried to dissuade him, warning that if he tried to help, the mob not only would kill the young man but also would likely burn down the house on top of the family. To spare the family that was trying to help him, the young man fled into the woods; the mob soon caught and lynched him, hanging him from a bridge. Pastor Jackson’s aunt was also taken by a mob, raped, and then murdered. The crowd refused to allow the family to reclaim the body. Understandably, these events etched vivid, indelible pictures in the mind of Pastor Jackson’s mother who had witnessed the lynch mob and whose own sister had been raped and murdered by a mob.

Mrs. Jackson later became pregnant but did not know at that time whether her unborn child was a boy or a girl. Nevertheless, she faithfully prayed over that unborn child each day as she walked the eight miles to and from town each weekend. That unborn child for whom she faithfully prayed was the Rev. Charles Jackson.

Considering how the Rev. Jackson turned out, his mother must have prayed powerful words in those daily prayers over him – look how successful he has been and how many hundreds of thousands of lives he has touched. So what was the daily prayer that she prayed over him? She simply prayed, “Lord, if this baby be a boy, don’t let him hang from a bridge.” Quite a sobering prayer. And even though the father of one of Pastor Jackson’s own staff members was lynched from that same bridge as recently as 1973, fortunately, the prayer prayed by Pastor Jackson’s mother is no longer prayed in America today.