As an historian and a Christian, I am dumbfounded when I hear the founding fathers were NOT Christians, men of faith or that the United States were not founded on Judaeo-Christian values. People will go to any length to hide from the truth. As Winston Churchill once quipped "Truth is so powerful, it is surrounded by a bodyguard of lies." How prescient and wise that comment was in his time and still is today.
However, I wanted to write today, June 28, as it was on this day in 1787 when Ben Franklin delivered the longest speech he gave to the Constitutional Convention.
Since 1754 when he was the first person to utter "United States" he had a dream of UNITING the colonies into a single, harmonious nation. No small feat at the time when we were but fledgling colonies and still had a royal yoke upon us and a revolutionary war to fight against the mightiest Army and Navy at the time.
Fast forward to June 28, 1787. The Constitutional Convention was starting to fall apart as each colony had their own vision of what we should be and how to effect those ends (none felt uniting was the smart plan). After days of bickering, the common thread started to unravel and the hopes of a United States of America began to dim in the eyes of a seasoned and very mature Ben Franklin. At 81, he was easily the oldest, and you might argue the wisest, among a crowd of very smart and focused leaders. Which may explain why the his "long" speech was so concise yet so compelling and rooted in the Word.
Mr Franklin rose from his chair and and delivered the following speech to his colleagues:
"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 prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers were heard, and they were graciously answered.
"All of us engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending power Providence in our favor. And have we now forgotten this 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 the affairs of men. 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 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 without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel, and we shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages.
|Franklin is seen here in grey seated center, with a cane.|
"I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business."
14 sentences quoting 14 Biblical verses.
Considering Franklin was not one of the most spiritual of the founding fathers, I find it rather amazing that HE would invoke the Almighty to call the delegates to stop acting like idiots, remind them WHO got them to where they were in the first place, and seek His guidance in following the advice given in the Bible to have a republican form of government. (Exodus 18:21)
The Constitutional Convention suspended deliberation for 3 days of prayer and reflection. When they reconvened, egos and myopic agenda were left in the street and what was previously hailed as preposterous was now greeted with eager embracement by all delegates. Thus, the birth of our Constitutional Republic as we know it today.
The danger we as a nation face today, is as we allow egg-head academicians and people wise only in the world tell us how history "really" was when they have been educated with revisionist history, we move further and further from truth. Our children are inheriting a nation of liberty we are not able to adequately explain to them without the Bible and consequently have to apologize for.
As we permit this to happen, we fail to grasp the rarity and how unique our nation's foundation and the longevity of our Constitution is as we have celebrated 200+ years of a Constitutional Republic. We forget how this nation grew from a rag-tag group of farmers and business people to a super-power defeating foe in two consecutive world wars in only 150 years. Today, there are many people, even many proclaiming to be Christians, who decry the moniker of the U.S. being an exceptional nation for their understanding of the term has been grotesquely misconstrued and history taught to them with half-truths in the hopes of establishing social justice.
Ironically the Bible itself tells us about being servants to others, having social justice and how to run a nation all in the same pages.
*This article was inspired by David Barton, Founder of Wallbuilders, an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built