A while ago I borrowed a devotional that I had bought for Tim and started reading it every morning in addition to my regular Bible studies. It's call In God We Still Trust and it was written by Dr. Richard G. Lee. I have been enjoying the history and true story of what the Founding Fathers and other patriots and leaders throughout our nation's history really thought and intended.
It's been very timely this year and encouraging as I hear more and more people pronouncing we are not a Christian nation, that separation of church and state means no religious influence in the government. I've always known that wasn't so, but it's awesome to have facts and quotes from those men that prove it.
Today's was such an eye-opener for me, a bit of history I never knew before. I thought I'd share it with you.
Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. - Hebrews 10:25
On December 4, 1800, Congress approved the use of the Capitol building for religious services, and this practice lasted until well after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Even after dozens of churches were established in the city, religious services continued at the Capitol.
Thomas Jefferson, who recommended "a wall of separation between church and state" attended church services in the House of Representatives. Throughout his presidency (1801-1809), he permitted voluntary and nondiscriminatory church services in executive branch buildings. (Preachers from every Protestant denomination appeared, and Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) Apparently, Jefferson's concern for "separation" meant he opposed an official state-sponsored church, rather than excluding religion from government.
Jefferson's successor, James Madison, also attended church at the Capitol, as did many more presidents through Abraham Lincoln. It was also common for many members of Congress to attend those services, and often the floor of the House was filled. From 1807 to 1857, interdenominational services--overseen by chaplains appointed by the House and Senate--were held in what is now Statuary Hall.
In addition to this service, several individual churches met in the Capital each week for their own services. Church services were also held in the Supreme Court Chamber as well as the Senate Chamber.
That sure doesn't sound like those early leaders wanted to keep religion out of the government to me. I do love that Jefferson, whose quote about separation is much quoted by the left, supported and participated in the practice of holding church at the Capitol. It leaves no doubt of what he really meant.
There are so many good quotes in this little devotional and bits of history that I've not heard before. I think that I will be sharing more of them in the future.
Lord, forgive us our ignorance. This nation was indeed founded on Christian principles and our forefathers never intended for You to be removed. You were as much a part of their lives as breathing. Help us to remember the foundation they laid. Open the eyes and hearts of the deceived and help those of us who believe to lead a revival in the land. Let us humble ourselves before You and repent of our neglect and laziness. Have mercy on us, Lord.