Jerry Newcombe of Coral Ridge Ministries displayed all the rationality one would expect of someone from that organization when he was on the Wallbuilders radio show recently. First, he distorts George Washington’s beliefs:
Newcombe: I think about that statement from George Washington, clearly in the context when he’s talking about Christianity when he uses the word ‘religion,’ and he says, what, of all that habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. He goes, in vain would that person be able to call himself a patriot who in anyway would subvert those great pillars of human happiness. So in other words, Washington was saying that it’s unpatriotic to undue these pillars.
Well that is exactly what these groups like the ACLU and People For the American Way, and so forth, with all their lawsuits, Freedom From Religion Foundation, whatever, with all their lawsuits. ‘Oh my goodness, this person said a prayer, a principal, oh heavens!’ Not only fire them but send them to prison, there have actually been attempts where they actually try to put people in prison for saying a prayer because they’re a public official.
But in fact, Washington surely did not mean Christianity when he said religion. As Jon Rowe and I — and many prominent scholars — have documented, Washington was a universalist. That’s why he virtually never spoke about Jesus or Christianity specifically. It’s why he could use “God” and “the Great Spirit” interchangeably in his letters.
And even if Washington was right that undermining religion made one unpatriotic, why would one presume that getting rid of official government prayers would undermine religion? Jefferson and Madison argued strongly that keeping the government out of religion was good for religion, not bad for it.
But he was just getting warmed up, along with the host of the show:
Green: And it’s just as dangerous I think, especially in this environment with the Tea Party and everything and everybody’s getting involved and studying the constitution and whatnot, but there’s a strong libertarian bent that also leaves out religion and morality and doesn’t want God to come back into the equation, and I’m somewhat libertarian in many ways, but look, Washington said you cannot be a patriot and leave those things out so don’t leave that out. Don’t go to this, this kind of conservative version of the ACLU where we don’t want God in the equation at all, we just don’t want the government spending money, because that’s just as dangerous, isn’t it?
Newcombe: Well I don’t know if it’s just as dangerous, yeah, in the long run, yes, it is, in the long run it is. In fact, as D. James Kennedy once pointed out, in 1935, what was the most educated nation on earth? The answer was Germany. But that didn’t prevent Auschwitz from taking place. So there is such a thing as education, where if it’s devoid of God, it is dangerous.
Bear in mind that the Supreme Court only took government-composed and mandated prayer out of schools. There are literally thousand and thousands of student Bible clubs and prayer groups that meet on school grounds and pray every single day, as they have every legal right to do — and not only does that evil ACLU not object to such groups, they have defended their right to meet on school grounds in court.
Now ask yourself this: what could possibly be more fascist than forcing school children to recite government-composed prayers?