Crisis at the Constitutional Convention
The contemporary enemies of Christianity and our great nation often lean to a revisionist history in order to promote the endemic gerrymanders that seek to cause the ultimate demise of both. Why is it that so many should endeavor to bury the foundation stones of our nation beneath the graveyard created in the image of an autonomous mankind? Perhaps the words of a devout and prominent secular humanist educator, John J. Dunphy will enlighten us:
“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith; a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’ will be finally achieved.” John J. Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age,” The Humanist (January/February 1983), 26
From this rhetoric, it is not hard to see that a revisionist history is required to distance an unknowing population from the very Providence that gives life and breath to our sinews. As a product of the public school system, I had come to believe that our forefathers were not Christians but deists. According to Noah Webster a deist is: “One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion, but follows the light of nature and reason as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.”
Now let us consider the words of one of these “deists” as he endeavors to help his fellow countrymen find a way around an impasse that was, in a very real sense, about to sink the ship of state before it was launched. History tells us that in the morning hours of June 28, 1787, Dr. Ben Franklin gave the following address to the Continental Congress:
“Mr. President—The slow progress we have made, after four or five weeks’ close attendance and continual reasoning with each other—our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many nays as yeas—is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have viewed modern states all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it. ’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate circumstance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.” (The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States; Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, LL.D.)
Dr. Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. is known to have held many unorthodox religious views throughout his life. However, his quotation of Psalm 127 and overt statement that “God governs in the affairs of men,” and his paraphrase of the Savior’s words from Matthew 10:29, leads me to believe that his faith journey had arrived and his beliefs had matured to the point where he believed in more that some impersonal, far-away God. Rather, his assertions were to the contrary that the Lord Jesus Christ intervenes in the affairs of men.
I would assert the the "the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbor’" has not been achieved! "Resplendent" is not the term I would use to describe what has been broadcast on the nightly news. Pehaps a better term would be "adokimon." (reprobate)