Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Society • Rick Perry Prayer Flap Brings Jerry Newcombe to the Keyboard
My recent 5 part series of Obama goose-stepping America to Marxism emphasized the heavy handed attack on the church, Christianity and God Himself which the Communists know is the source of strength to a free people and must be stopped. This Christian strength is precisely why America is the ONE country standing in the way of an all-encompassing One World Order. As long as there is a strong church presence, Communism cannot succeed. Governor Rick Perry of Texas recently took a public stand in asking God to put His Hand on our country and to guide us. The Socialists immediately hopped into action to oppose prayer by a governor, including an ‘emergent church’ liberal pastor and another who identifies as a ‘Christian.’ These are the Marxist’s most valuable recruits. Radio host and commentator Jerry Newcombe stopped by the keyboard this morning with his insights
Did Rick Perry Assault the First Amendment Recently?
By Jerry Newcombe
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Rick Perry led several thousand people in an all day prayer meeting for our country. The event was called “the Response,” was held in Houston, and was affiliated with the American Family Association, the conservative Christian group founded by Don Wildmon.
Regardless of what one thinks about Perry (including his more recent announcement to run for president), I want to comment on only one issue. Was his active participation in the Response an assault on the establishment clause, as some hold?
Short answer: No. Rather this was something that American leaders have done from before the country was established, through its beginning, and continuing virtually to the present day.
The event took place in a Houston football stadium on August 6, and participants were encouraged to fast as well as pray, for a nation in great need. An estimated 30,000 took part. (Others participated at satellite locations, while others followed along at home.)
Perry prayed at the event, “Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government.”
As could be expected, there arose a multitude of critics against the event.
One protester said, “It’s extraordinarily exclusionary. As a Christian, I’m appalled that my Jewish brothers and sisters, my Muslim brothers and sisters were not invited to partake in something that should be about peace and love and bring this nation together.”
Another one said, “I’m offended by the fact that my governor is using a prayer event in order to run for president.”
A pastor who disagreed with Gov. Perry stated, “The governor could probably be doing a lot more good governing the state of Texas instead of trying to put together prayer rallies.”
A law professor—-Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine School of Law—-said the governor was violating the establishment clause: “The governor of the state of Texas should not be using his state email or his office to advance [the prayer event] because that’s advancing religion.”
Chemerinsky went on to highlight the idea that the event was not inclusive: “This is not only about prayer and involving God, but it’s Christian. So, for those of us who are not Christian, we are truly made to feel as outsiders relative to our own government, which is exactly what the establishment clause was meant to prevent.”
No, in the establishment clause, the founders intended to avoid creating a state church at the federal level. The Anglican Church, for example, was not to be the national church “by law established.” Nor the Presbyterian, nor the Quaker, and so on.
Meanwhile, several states had state churches, at the time of the adoption of the first amendment. These were never declared unconstitutional. They eventually withered away of their own accord—-the last to go being the Congregational Church, which was the established church of Massachusetts until 1833.
Declaring a day of prayer or thanksgiving (to God) has never been viewed—-until recently—-as constituting an “establishment of religion.”
During the American War for Independence, on at least fifteen separate occasions, Congress called for national days of prayer, humiliation, and fasting
Furthermore, observe what an expert’s expert notes about this. David Barton, a walking encyclopedia on the spiritual heritage of America once told me, “Between 1633 and 1812, there were over 1700 prayer proclamations issued in the colonies, where the governor would call the state to an annual day of prayer and fasting, annual day of prayer of and thanksgiving.”
When the country first began under the Constitution, the Congress (many of the same men who would soon adopt the first amendment) called on President Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving (to God—-these days, you have to clarify these things) for the ability to peaceably meet and fashion our own government.
So, on October 3, 1789, President Washington made a Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he declared: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
It would seem to me that according to the law professor, the father of our country—-the very man who presided over the Constitutional convention—-was making an assault of the establishment clause.
These kinds of proclamations did not stop once we were established as a nation. For instance, on March 30, 1863, when the final outcome was not known (by humans), President Lincoln made a “Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting.” It’s a great speech summarizing American history hitherto—-how God had blessed us, but we seemingly had forgotten Him.
President Lincoln declared: “…it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
So, when Rick Perry declared a few weeks ago, “As a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that, we cry out for your forgiveness,” is this not truly in the tradition of the bulk of the founders of our nation, and of some of our greatest presidents?
I believe an honest reading of our history could lead to no other conclusion.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the senior producer and host of Truth that Transforms with Dr. D. James Kennedy. He has also written or co-written 21 books, including 14 with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Jerry co-wrote (with Dr. Peter Lillback) the bestselling, George Washington’s Sacred Fire. He hosts the website http://www.jerrynewcombe.com.