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Illinois 1870 Preamble—and Us Today

by Ron Bartanan

With all the parroting of the phrase, “separation of church and state,” in an effort to make our nation “no longer a Christian nation,” we would do well to realize that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that the founders had no qualms about it.  Although our government is not, and never has been, Christian, yet our heritage and culture are.  State constitutions have freely acknowledged God.  One example is the preamble to the Illinois Constitution, written in 1870, which begins, “We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors….” 

Until 1947 any reference to “separation of church and state” was virtually unknown in our country.  Such was not in our nation’s Constitution.  It was then that Justice Hugo Black virtually rewrote the first amendment in the “Emerson V Board” decision.  President Eisenhower and Congress were obviously unaware of the Constitution forbidding mention of God as they included “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.  From 1620, with the signing of the Mayflower Compact, until 1962, prayer was a daily practice in most schools.  Doris and I are both old enough to remember the reading of scripture in our schools.  Now it is “illegal.”  In 1980, the Supreme Court, secular humanism’s black-robed priesthood,  decreed in the Stone V. Graham decision that the 10 Commandments could no longer be permitted in government schools because (and this is unbelievable), “if the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments.” Now wouldn’t that be a tragedy?!?  Sports teams are not even allowed to have a moment of prayer before a game.  Now efforts are constantly being made to remove all references to God from public monuments and buildings.

What we have allowed to happen is the highjacking of America because we have allowed ourselves to be bullied by such God-hating organizations as the ACLU and National Education Association.  As a result, atheism and secularism now are in control of our “public school” classrooms.  These are as much a religion as is Christianity.  Religion is defined as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”  The god of “self” has displaced our Creator, even though recent polls by CNN admit that 75% of Americans still regard themselves as Christians.  We have, for the past 60 years, witnessed the enemies of God undermining what has been the strength of our nation. 

Step by step we have seen atheism and secularism displacing Christianity in our nation, and step by step we are seeing our nation decline.  It is time for us to heed God’s call: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”--2 Chronicle 7:14.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4