Congressmen to Introduce Bill Recognizing Nation’s Judeo-Christian Heritage
May 7, 2009 - 9:03 PMThe United States was built upon prayer and Judeo-Christian principles -- and Americans need to know that fact, according to the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus.
So says the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, which is introducing legislation -- “America's Spiritual Heritage Resolution” – to recognize the role that prayer and spirituality have played in the nation's history.
It would also designate the first week in May as "American Religious History Week."
“In that resolution, we affirm the importance of the history of faith across the country,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), the caucus co-chairman, said during a news conference held in conjunction with Thursday’s National Day of Prayer event on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), co-sponsor of the bill, said the resolution was the brainchild of the bipartisan coalition of members of Congress, which comes together in the U.S. Capitol each week “to pray for wisdom for that week.”
“We meet right off the House floor to pray for wisdom,” McIntyre said. “As we realized more and more the great spiritual heritage that this country has that surrounds us in the buildings and the monuments (in Washington), we think it’s high time that we affirm the great spiritual heritage of our nation, and what better time to do it than in the first week of May, when we celebrate the National Day of Prayer.”
From the very beginning of the country, our Founding Fathers were open about the religious underpinnings of society, McIntyre said.
“Before they went out and announced that they had done away with the Articles of Confederation and had written an entirely new document for our country, Ben Franklin stood up and he called the assembly of delegates to prayer and said, ‘Scripture teachers us that the sparrow can’t fall to the ground without his notice. Is it likely that an empire will rise without His aid?’ If we don’t go to prayer, he said, ‘We will be no more successful than the builders of Babylon.’”
“Folks don’t know Ben Franklin said that,” McIntyre said. “We have Founding Fathers who knew the importance that this is a nation founded upon principles that we ought to affirm, and we ought to celebrate and we ought to recognize and we ought to educate.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), said there is even evidence of the nation’s Christian heritage in the House chamber.
“There is carved in stone above the Speaker’s rostrum in the House of Representatives across the street (in the Capitol), ‘In God We Trust,’” Lamborn said. “That’s not just a slogan. That’s the embodiment of what’s made our country great.”
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference, said prayer was “nothing new in America.”
“On the first day of the Revolutionary War, that preceded the Declaration of Independence, the first general order that General Washington issued included these words – he said, ‘The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary, but especially so in times of public distress and danger.’
“These are challenging times in the life of our nation," Pence said. "We face dangers abroad. We face economic turmoil at home. Maybe never before in our recent history have we stood more in the need of prayer as a nation than we do today."
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), meanwhile, told reporters that “many of the things that we’re doing right now in this country are things that lead to the loss of a country.”
Gohmert issued a challenge to historians.
“You show me a country that ever met its demise while, as a nation, it was honoring the one True God. You won’t find it,” Gohmert said. “Let’s keep this country alive.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a physician, said God has his own "prescription" for curing the nation's ills -- but Americans seem to have things backwards when it comes to God.
“Politicians end speeches often by saying, ‘God Bless America.’ They have it wrong. It should be, ‘America, Bless God.’”
The bill’s 24 cosponsors include Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.); Jim Jordan (R-Ohio); Walter Jones (R-N.C.); John Kline (R-Minn.); Trent Franks (R-Ariz.); Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).