- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2007

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Kirby Wilbur is one of the top 100 talk-radio hosts in America, according to Talkers magazine. A longtime conservative activist and host of a popular morning show on Seattle’s KVI radio since 1995, Mr. Wilbur is co-author of “Say It Right: Talk Radio’s Favorite Conservative Quotes, Notes and Gloats.”

Mr. Wilbur is also a member of the board of directors of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF). The following are excerpts of Mr. Wilbur’s speech on the role of religion in America’s founding delivered at YAF’s 29th annual National Conservative Student Conference, held earlier this month at George Washington University:

When we look at the record, we can say this: Not all the Founders were Christians, but I think they definitely shared a Christian worldview. And the number of actual pagans, atheists, pantheists, vegetarians, whatever you’d like to call them, was actually very small. …

John Adams in 1765 wrote … “Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God. … Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments.” …

You see it all the way from the beginning of American history, as John Winthrop and others talked about the “city on a hill,” about coming to America to establish a land that would shine before all and set the example for all. Walter McDougal, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, has written “the evidence that the Colonists believed that America is a holy land (that is, ‘set apart’) is so abundant as to be trite.” And he’s right. It is so abundant as to be trite, but it’s ignored in most of your textbooks and by many of your professors.

Jamestown … the first English settlement, in 1610, they adopted Virginia Articles, Laws and Orders, to provide government for the colony. Article I speaks of “the glory of God” … that “we owe our highest and supreme duty, our greatest, and all our allegiance to the king of kings, the commander of commanders and the lord of hosts.” …

Of course the Mayflower Compact, the agreement between pilgrims and the government in the colony of Massachusetts as they landed in 1620, states clearly that the journey across the Atlantic undertaken by them was for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.

William Penn… of Pennsylvania, one of the more tolerant of colonies when it comes to religious liberties, said this. He wrote “the Charter of Liberties” and “Frame of Government” that was adopted in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682. The first sentence refers to a great and wise God making the world, and choosing man his deputy to rule over it. The second paragraph includes several quotes from Scripture. …

In 1776, Virginia declared independence — my home state is, by the way, Virginia — two months before America did, on May 15, 1776. At that convention in Virginia that decided to declare independence, there were 100 delegates. Ninety-seven were vestrymen and elders of the church. …

The Declaration of Independence, let’s talk about that for a minute. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal” — a fundamentally Christian idea at the time, that all men are equal before God. “That they are endowed by their Creator” — not that they rise from the swamp.

We are endowed by our Creator from the moment of creation with “certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They go on to state that the purpose of government is to protect those rights; when government violates those rights, it is the right of the people to change their ultimate form of government.

It is God from which we get our rights, not government. …

In Massachusetts, the clergy led the call for revolution. … In 1774, the governor of Massachusetts wrote the British government a letter. He wrote, “Sedition flows copiously from the pulpits.” I like that: “Sedition flows copiously from the pulpits.” …

Now when the Revolution was over — it was really a war for independence; it really was not a revolution. Our Founders had no great sweeping ideas of utopia or change. They wanted the rights and liberties of Englishmen, as men under God, that they thought Parliament had denied them. They fought a war of independence. The French had a revolution. The French swept away all social order, the church, they reinvented the calendar, they reinvented God, they killed 100,000 people, they got Napoleon. We had a war of independence and now a constitutional republic that has survived 225 some-odd years. There’s a difference in what they did and we did. …

President Jefferson said this — and you can find this on the Jefferson Memorial if you go over there; I’m amazed it hasn’t been sand-blasted off — “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?” …

And the Founders … virtually to a man, every Founder said the Bible is the most republican book in the world. Why? Because the Bible tell us the path of virtuous living. …

George Washington said of all the dispositions and habits which lead to national prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” …

Does that mean you have to be Christian to be American? Of course not. Does that mean you have to be Christian to be patriotic? Of course not. America, being an American, is a spiritual thing, and it’s that anyone can become an American. …

That’s why we’re the city on a hill. But we have to have a true understanding of where we come from: our belief in liberty, our belief in opportunity, our belief in who we are and what we are; as the founding, a belief in God the Creator as the source of our rights, inalienable rights that government can’t take away — that our freedom is a gift from God, as Jefferson said. But without that firm foundation, we will lose it, and what they teach in schools today isn’t going to teach that.

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