God, Religion and the First President of the United States

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The other night I watched a video I received in the mail, documenting some of the writings of America’s Founding Fathers, in reference to the need for Godly principles in American public life and excerpts from court cases upholding those principles.

George Washington, himself, in his Farewell Address, wrote that our country would fail without them.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens…Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington’s_Farewell_Address

As I consider how successful special interest groups have been in removing God and religion from so much of our public life, I could not help but draw a parallel to this past Sunday’s first reading from Nehemiah 8:2-10.  After years of captivity and being forbidden to hear the Word of God in public or practice their religion, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.  “Ezra the priest…standing at the open place…read out of the book…and all the people listened…all the people were weeping as they heard the words…”  I cannot help but think that what was foretold by President Washington if we exclude religion, is coming to pass.  I do not believe religion or faith should be forced upon a person –  the Catholic Church practiced that grievous mistake for hundreds of years.  This, after having it practiced on us for hundreds of years in an attempt to suppress us.  God gave us free will that we may come to him willingly and joyfully if we so choose.

As a modern, American Catholic, I am very comfortable with my religious freedom.  Maybe even complacent.  However, I have been hearing warning bells, and must pull myself out of my complacency.  Lest we be dragged into the abyss of secular humanism, let those of us who have faith, pray.  Let those of us who have wits, join the fray and educate, legislate and lobby to keep our Constitutional rights.  Let those of us who waver, not be swayed by popular opinion, but seek truth on our own, delve deeper into the issues, and draw our own conclusions, instead of jumping on someone else’s bandwagon in ignorant bliss.

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The Human Experience – Dignity in the Midst of Poverty

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Two young men from Brooklyn, New York set out to find out what it means to live the gospel in misery and poverty.  From the homeless in New York, to the forgotten orphans of Peru, to modern day leper colonies in Africa, we are presented with the powerful drama that is “the rest of the world”.  The masses living on the outskirts of the comfort zone that we know as modern daily life.

The creators of The Human Experience attempt “By spotlighting heartwarming stories from around the world, (to) show viewers that every single person, no matter his or her lot in life, is beautiful.”

This award winning documentary is brought to us by Grassroot Films, which also produced Fishers of Men, to inspire vocations to priestly service and God in the Streets of New York City.   Grassroots Films strives to “make great films that inspire true change”.  The Human Experience has won over 30 awards since its release last year and emphasizes this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development theme:  Fight Poverty. Defend Human Dignity.

A truly inspiring film for private or group viewing, highly recommended by Catholic Traveller’s A Simple Catholic.

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