As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
Our Nation’s Godly Heritage
Michigan – the 25th State, Admitted to the Union January 26, 1837
A Michigan case was settled in the United States District Court in January 1985 regarding student prayer and Bible reading in public schools. Some excerpt from Reed vs. Van Hoven follow:
The establishment clause of the First Amendment has two important characteristics: First, the relationship between government and religion; by that relationship the First Amendment, by its position of neutrality, protects both religion and government. Secondly, the establishment limitation serves as an instrument to the second provision of the First Amendment, namely, the free exercise clause. It is designed in this respect to insure to all the free exercise of their religion, free from the influential interference of government.
The First Amendment assures to parents the security that children attending public elementary schools are not officially taught the tenets of a religion other than that of the parents.
Each individual in society has the right to free exercise of his religion according to the dictates of his own conscience.
The child is not the mere creature of the state.
Presidential Quote of the Week
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States
In every wise struggle for human betterment, one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity. In the struggle for this great end, nations rise from barbarism to civilization, and through it people press forward from one stage of enlightenment to the next. One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege. The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immaturity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now. - At the Dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park in Kansas, August 31, 1910
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was born in October 1858, in New York City. Often asthmatic as a child, he was nonetheless hyperactive and mischievous. He also suffered severely from tone deafness. He attended Harvard College and excelled in science, philosophy and rhetoric. He was an accomplished naturalist with a photographic memory, memorizing books to their last detail. After graduating from Harvard he entered Columbia Law School. When offered a chance to run for New York Assemblyman, he dropped out of law school to pursue his new goal of entering public life.
During his years in the New York Assembly, he wrote more bills than any other legislator. He changed political parties several times in order to gain an advantage, but ultimately determined he had no further political aspirations and “retired” to his ranch in the wild Badlands of the Dakota Territory. After two desperately hard winters that wiped out his herd of cattle, he returned to Oyster Bay, New York. Shortly thereafter he ran for mayor of New York City, but came in third.
Roosevelt had always been fascinated by naval history, and upon the urging of Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge, Roosevelt’s close friend, President McKinley appointed Roosevelt to the post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish-American War with Cuba. Once war broke out, he resigned from the Navy Department, and found volunteers from cowboys he had known in the Western territories, along with friends from the Ivy League, forming the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, that the newspapers dubbed the “Rough Riders.” Under Roosevelt’s leadership, the Rough Riders became famous for dual charges up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill.
At the conclusion of the war, Roosevelt returned to New York and was elected Governor. He was placed on the slate in McKinley’s run for president, and served as Vice President. At the assassination of President McKinley, Roosevelt ascended to the presidency and served from 1901 to 1909. After his presidency, he returned to New York, and also participated in an extensive shooting safari on the African continent. Once back in the United States, he was active in partisan politics on behalf of other candidates. While campaigning in Wisconsin, a saloonkeeper shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating both his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick single-folded copy of the speech he was to give. While the shooting did not kill him, it did remove him from the campaign trail.
He led a scientific expedition along with a Brazilian explorer through the Brazilian jungle, where he contracted malaria.
When World War I began, Roosevelt strongly supported the Allies and demanded a harsh policy against Germany, especially regarding submarine warfare. Roosevelt’s son Quentin was a pilot with the American forces in France and was shot down behind German lines. Roosevelt never recovered from his loss. Despite his grief and failing health, he remained active to the end of his life, and died peacefully in his sleep at Oyster Bay. He is buried at Young Memorial Cemetery in Nassau County, New York.
Roosevelt was twice married, first to Alice Hathaway Lee and later to Edith Kermit Carow, both of whom predeceased him. He had six children. He listed his faith as Dutch Reformed.