Sunday, September 9, 2012

George Washington's Moral Fiber

Ever since President Obama declared that America was no longer a Christian nation there's been a bit of an uproar.  Some claim we are a Christian nation and others claim that was never the intention of the  'Founding Fathers.'  The history classes I've taken didn't really prepare to say much about it either way because honestly, I didn't know and finding out what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and others had to say themselves hadn't made it to the top of my very very long TO DO list.  Then today, in Stake Conference, L. Tom Perry quoted George Washington.  It was too quick for me to write the quote down so I came home and googled it and learned that Mr. Washington actually had quite a lot to say.

Some of the most relevant and compelling quotes, in my opinion, are:

"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

"Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

"The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves."

"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God."

"Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected."

"Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals."

"We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it's surest support."

As Americans, we do not have a national religion.  Indeed, our Constitution prohibits it and promises us freedom of religion - the right to choose how and where we worship.  But a look at the principles underlying the country's formation and the ideals (while often not perfectly lived) of the men who took on that important job shows a commitment to the tenets common to all sects of Christianity and most other religious and philosophical schools of thought:  to act in all things and at all times with integrity and compassion and to treat others the way you wish to be treated.

So why are we having this huge debate on morality?  Have we as a people really degenerated so far that we have to question integrity, compassion, kindness and commitment?  Where is the glue that holds us united?

Sometimes I am truly frightened for the future of the United States of America.

1 comment:

Rey Thompson said...

Well thought and written! I often wonder if we are so self involved that we forget about our human family - the one God wants back.