David Barton: America’s Religious Heritage as demonstrated in Presidential Inaugurations (part 3)
David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 3 of 5
Uploaded by ToRenewAmerica on Apr 9, 2010
Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.
David Barton did a great job with this article America’s Religious Heritage As Demonstrated in Presidential Inaugurations :
|David Barton – 01/2009|
|America’s Religious Heritage
As Demonstrated in Presidential InaugurationsReligious activities at presidential inaugurations have become the target of criticism in recent years, 1 with legal challenges being filed to halt activities as simple as inaugural prayers and the use of “so help me God” in the presidential oath. 2 These critics – evidently based on a deficient education – wrongly believe that the official governmental arena is to be aggressively secular and religion-free. The history of inaugurations provides some of the most authoritative proof of the fallacy of these modern arguments.
Subsequent presidents made similar acknowledgments:
Returning to Washington’s inauguration, following the taking of the oath on the Bible, Washington and the officials then departed the balcony and went inside Federal Hall to the Senate Chamber where Washington delivered his Inaugural Address. From the outset of that first-ever presidential address, Washington – as his first very official act – set a religious tone by expressing his own heartfelt prayer to God:
The remainder of Washington’s address was no less strongly religious; he even called on his listeners to remember and acknowledge God:
Washington and the Members of Congress then marched in a procession to St. Paul’s Church for Divine Service. That Congress should have gone to church en masse as part of the inauguration was no surprise, for Congress had itself scheduled these inaugural services.
That is, while the new Constitution had established the presidency, it stipulated nothing specific about the inaugural activities. It was therefore within the authority of Congress to help direct those activities. The Senate therefore acted:
The House quickly approved the same resolution. 24 Once the presidential oath had been administered and the inaugural address delivered, according to official congressional records:
The service at St. Paul’s was conducted by The Right Reverend Samuel Provoost – the Episcopal Bishop of New York, who had been chosen chaplain of the Senate the week preceding the inauguration. The service was performed according to The Book of Common Prayer, and included a number of prayers taken from Psalms 144-150 as well as Scripture readings and lessons from the book of Acts, I Kings, and the Third Epistle of John. 26
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The very first inauguration – conducted under the watchful eye of those who had framed our government and written its Constitution – incorporated numerous religious activities and expressions. That first inauguration set the constitutional precedent for all other inaugurations; and the activities from that original inauguration that have been repeated in whole or part in every subsequent inauguration include: (1) the use of the Bible to administer the oath; (2) the religious nature of the oath and including “So help me God”; (3) inaugural prayers by the president; (4) religious content in the inaugural addresses; (5) the president calling the people to pray or acknowledge God; (6) inaugural worship services; and (7) clergy-led inaugural prayers.
15. Public Papers of the Presidents, Herbert Hoover, 1929, p.1, March 4th, 1929. See also Herbert Hoover, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, March 4, 1929 (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=21804).(Return)
16. < i>Public Papers of the Presidents, F. D. Roosevelt, 1944, Item 7, January 20th, 1945. See also Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, January 20, 1945 (at:http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=1660). (Return)
17. Public Papers of the Presidents, J. F. Kennedy, 1961, p.1, January 20th, 1961. See also John F. Kennedy, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, January 20, 1961 (at:http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=8032). (Return)
18. Public Papers of the Presidents, Nixon, 1969, p.3-4, January 20th, 1969.See also Richard Nixon, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, January 20, 1969 (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=1941).(Return)
19. See, for example, Warren G. Harding, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1921; and Public Papers of the Presidents, Jimmy Carter, 1977, p.1, January 20th, 1977. See also Warren G. Harding, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, March 4, 1921 (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25833); Jimmy Carter, “Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, January 20, 1977 (at: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=6575). (Return)
20. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. VII, p. 139, from his “Lectures on Moral Philosophy,” Lecture 16 on Oaths and Vows. (Return)
21. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Joseph Gales, editor (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1834), Vol. I, p. 27. See alsoGeorge Washington, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, James D. Richardson, editor (Washington, D.C.: 1899), Vol. 1, pp. 44-45, April 30, 1789. (Return)
22. Debates and Proceedings (1834) Vol. I, pp. 27-29, April 30, 1789. (Return)
23. Debates and Proceedings (1834), Vol. I, p. 25, April 27, 1789. (Return)
24. Debates and Proceedings (1834), Vol. I, p. 241, April 29, 1789. (Return)
25. Debates and Proceedings (1834) Vol. I, p. 29, April 30, 1789. (Return)
26. Book of Common Prayer (Oxford: W. Jackson & A. Hamilton, 1784), s.v., April 30th. (Return)