Faith — belief — religion — all help to modify human behavior. The basic tenets of our laws are founded in the Judeo-Christian religions. This cannot be denied. Thomas Jefferson’s concept of the “wall of separation between church and state” does not resemble its modern-day interpretation. Jefferson used that phrase in a letter he wrote explaining that the First Constitutional Amendment protected religious freedom from any government interference or suppression. The atheists and secular-humanists have twisted Jefferson’s words into a war-cry against any public expression of faith or any public prayer. The concern is that it is “offensive” to people of other faiths or no faith. As a good friend of mine, Roger Merry, asked: “Where in the Constitution does it say that we have the right not to be offended?” Whatever happened to being respectful of all people’s faiths and people who have no faith? Whatever happened to being polite? Whatever happened to free speech — freedom of religion — it is not freedom from religion!
Consider this quote from Benjamin Franklin, who publicly called for prayer during the 1787 Constitutional Convention: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’”
The Rev. Robert M.J. Hagopian is minister of the First Congregational Church of Rowley, United Church of Christ and also serves as the chaplain of the Rowley Fire and Police Departments, the Newbury Police Department and as a chaplain with Brookhaven Hospice.