“Under God…”


I was asked by a facebook friend the following questions on facebook the other day, and it made me think, I did not have a good answer as to why it was so bad, and such a big deal.

Why are we making political hay about the DNC and adding back in the words “in God we trust”?  Seriously help me see the value of focusing on it?  Clearly we know there are people out there who dont want God in politics and others who do.  Grasping to see the value of all the talk.

I had already started a post about the difference between the Republican and Democrat platform before this happened and the DNC.   So I am going to change it a little so that it addresses this questions.

First off, I want to dispel the myth that our country was not based or founded on religious principles.  (Yes, another facebook post that I read said that soon the non-believers will be the majority, and everyone who believes in God are idiots.)   If you think that this country was not founded on religious principles, you are rewriting history.  Look at our money, what does it say on it?  Who do we say our country is under in the pledge of allegiance?  What does congress do before each session?  Why do we have national days of prayer?  The answer is that God is important to our country, and is the basis that the government was created under.  I am not saying that it was based on Christianity or any other religion, it was based on the fact that God (whomever you belive in) gave us rights that the government and other people cannot take away, but should protect.

Ok, now on to the why is it such a big deal the the DNC almost removed any mention of God from their platform.   Here is the sentence that was put back after it was removed.  (The entire Democratic National Platform can be found here http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform.)  God is mentioned once in the platform.

We must keep moving forward and doing the hard work of rebuilding a strong economy by betting on the American worker and investing in a growing middle class. We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

Notice that the only God given right the platform gives us is our potential.  This is the line that they had to have put back into their platform.

Now, lets look at the Republican National Platform.  Below are the quotes that include God from the Republican side of the isle.

  • Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.
  • May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America.
  • This year’s election is a chance to restore the proven values of the American free enterprise system. We offer our Republican vision of a free people using their God-given talents, combined with hard work, self-reliance, ethical conduct, and the pursuit of opportunity, to achieve great things for themselves and the greater community.
  • We are the party of the Constitution, the solemn compact which confirms our God-given Individual rights and assures that all Americans stand equal before the law.
  • In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.
  • We acknowledge, support, and defend the law abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense.
  • We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.
  • …taking advantage of all our American God-given resources.
  • obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.
  • A young person’s ability to achieve in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, zip code, or economic status

Notice, that our rights in the Republican platform affirm that they are given to us by God, not by man or government.  Why is this such a big deal?  Being the Mormon I am, I found the answer Sunday while enjoying my freedom to worship who, how or what I may.

In the Book of Helaman, there is an account of the Nephite and Lamanite people.  The Nephite people are considered to be a people of God, but in the course of a few chapters, the Nephites turn against God, and the Lamanites start to embrace his teachings.   Eventually the Nephite people are utterly destroyed.  And in Helaman Chapter 12, we find the main reason why.

 2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!

5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!

It is a dangerous thing to remove God as the main source of your rights, and in Chapter 6 we see that this can happen in the space of a few years.

31 And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver.

32 And it came to pass that all these iniquities did come unto them in the space of not many years, insomuch that a more part of it had come unto them in the sixty and seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

Now, lets ask ourselves.  Why is it such a bad thing that one of the main parties in the United States is removing or almost removed any mention of God from their platform?   President Ezra Taft Benson says the following in November 1987.

Our Father in Heaven planned the coming forth of the Founding Fathers and their form of government as the necessary great prologue leading to the restoration of the gospel. Recall what our Savior Jesus Christ said nearly two thousand years ago when He visited this promised land: “For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth” (3 Ne. 21:4). America, the land of liberty, was to be the Lord’s latter-day base of operations for His restored church.

The Declaration of Independence affirmed the Founding Fathers’ belief and trust in God in these words: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

….

We must become accurately informed and then let others know how we feel. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. ‘Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it. … From henceforth I will maintain all the influence I can get” (History of the Church, 5:286).

I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it.

We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10).

May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

May we be equally as valiant and as free, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

This is why it is so important that the majority of Americans believe in God and that our rights come from God.

 

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