Join Now: 1-800-777-7731
Home  |  Contact Us  |  About Us         Join eSermons
Log In Sign Up Now! Free Demo How To Use eSermons Memberhip Benefits

One Campaign
Sermon Samples
Contact Us
Special Sections
Member Log In
User Name: Password: Log In Join eSermons |  Help

SermonIllustrations.com
A       B       C       D       E       F       G       H       I      
J       K       L       M       N       O       P       Q       R      
S       T       U       V       W       X       Y       Z      
For even more resources
click here to join Sermons.com today!

  Join our FREE Illustrations Newsletter: Privacy Policy

    FOURTH OF JULY

    French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"

    Alexis de Tocqueville.


    A few years ago, a substitute teacher wrote in the Washington Post about the depressing experience he had while teaching three advanced government classes in a suburban Virginia school. He decided to poll his students on the basic question of whether the American system of government was morally superior to that of the Soviet Union? Fifty-one of the 53 high school seniors he asked -- the brightest high school seniors in one of the best school systems in the country -- saw no difference between the two.

    These children could not morally distinguish between their own nation built on the basis of each individual having God-given rights, and another nation that has operated for over 70 years on the assumption that man is a mere creature of the state. Not coincidentally, the two children who did comprehend a difference were Vietnamese boat children. They had received a valuable education in reality when they experienced the collapse of their homeland into the darkness of totalitarianism.

    Children at Risk, J. Dobson & G. Bauer, Word, 1990, p. 180.


    Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty. At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson's home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.

    Kenneth L. Dodge, Resource, Sept./ Oct., 1992, p. 5.


    Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, has attributed the fall of the Empire to:

    1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
    2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
    3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
    4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
    5. The decay of religion--faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

    Edward Gibbon.


    It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!

    Patrick Henry.


    The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

    John Quincy Adams.


    Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

    John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of Supreme Court: One of the three men most responsible for the Constitution.


    Do not let anyone claim the tribute of American patriotism if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics.

    George Washington from his Farewell Address to the Nation.


    Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind...It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in the sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.

    Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892. The Court cited 87 precedents.


    The purest principles of morality are to be taught. Where are they found? Whoever searches for them must go to the source from which a Christian man derives his faith--the Bible.

    Vidal v. Girard's Executors, 1844.


    Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government.

    People v. Ruggles, 1811: 2 decades after the 1st Amendment.


    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    First Amendment.


    By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing.

    Runkel v. Winemiller, 1796.


    The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.

    Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States January 1, 1802 in an address to the Danbury Baptists.


    Had the people, during the Revolution, had any suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle...At the time of the adoption of the constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect...in this age there can be no substitute for Christianity...That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendents...the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    House Judiciary Committee Report, March 27, 1854 after a one year study brought about by a suit to force the separation of church and state.


    Challenges to the Constitutionality of the government being run by Christian principles continued throughout the late 1800's until finally these challenges arrived at the Supreme Court. In the case of Reynolds v. United States, 1878, the court pulled out Jefferson's speech in its entirety and confirmed that Jefferson also said that Christian principles were never to be separated from government. The Supreme Court used Jefferson's speech for the next 15 years to make sure that Christian principles stayed part of government. It remained this way until 1947, when, in the first time in the Supreme Court's history, the court used only 8 words out of Jefferson's speech.

    Unknown.


    If this court doesn't stop talking about separation of church and state, someone will think it is part of the Constitution.

    Bear v. Colmorgan, 1958. One of the justices, in a stinging dissent.


    The first separation of religious principles from public education. This is the case that removed school prayer. There were no precedents cited. The court did not quote previous legal cases or historical incidents. A new direction in the legal system - no longer constitutional.

    Engel v. Vitale, June 25, 1962.


    "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country."

    The 22 word prayer was declared to be unconstitutional and led to the removal of all prayer from public schools in the case Engel v. Vitale. This little prayer acknowledges God only one time. The Declaration of Independence itself acknowledges God 4 times.

    Within 12 months of Engel v. Vitale, in two more cases called Abington v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett, the court had completely removed Bible reading, religious classes/instruction. This was a radical reversal of law - and all without precedental justification or Constitutional basis. The Court's justification for removing Bible reading from public schools. The Court at this time declared that only 3% of the nation professed no belief in religion, no belief in God. Although this prayer was consistent with 97% of the beliefs of the people of the United States, the Court decided for the 3% against the majority.

    Unknown.


    If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and had been, psychologically harmful to the child.

    Abington v. Schempp, June 17, 1963.


    Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    George Washington.


    It is unconstitutional for a student to pray aloud.

    Reed v. Van Hoven, 1965.


    The Court declared a 4 line nursery rhyme unconstitutional because, although it did not contain the word "God", it might cause someone to think it was talking about God.

    DeCalv v. Espain, 1967.


    If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon and to perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments; this is not a permissible objective. Stone v. Gramm, 1980, challenging the right of students to "see" the 10 Commandments on the wall of a school. The Court defined the posting of the document as a "passive" display, meaning someone would have to stop and look on their own volition.

    Stone v. Gramm, 1980.


    What does it mean when the Court declares something to be unconstitutional? It means that the Founding Fathers would have opposed this, would not have wanted this. As in the following:

    We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

    James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution.


    The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart.

    Thomas Jefferson.


    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people...it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    John Adams.


    Everyone appointed to public office must say: "I do profess faith in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost...one God and blessed forevermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.

    Delaware Constitution, 1776 (consistent with the First Amendment).


    Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

    Thomas Jefferson, inside the Jefferson Memorial.


    Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God's side.

    Abraham Lincoln, when asked if he thought God was on our side.


    He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.

    Benjamin Franklin, 1774, Ambassador to France.


    The Court ruled that Secular Humanism is a legitimate religion equivalent to Christianity under the law.

    Tricosso v. Watkins, 1963 and again in 1986.


    Atheism is ruled a religion.

    Court decision in 1977.


    French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"

    Alexis de Tocqueville.


    Prayer

    Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life; hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.

    Peter Marshall, Before the U.S. Senate.


    History

    The unanimous Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies in Congress, July 4, 1776

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    • For protecting them by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    • For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
    • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren.

    • We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
    • We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.
    • We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

    They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare.

    That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,

    and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;

    and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,

    and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

    New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

    Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

    Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

    Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

    New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

    New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

    Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

    Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

    Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

    Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

    North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

    South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

    Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

    Background

    On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), approved the Declaration of Independence. Its purpose was to set forth the principles upon which the Congress had acted two days earlier when it voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee's motion to declare the freedom and independence of the 13 American colonies from England. The Declaration was designed to influence public opinion and gain support both among the new states and abroad -- especially in France, from which the new "United States" sought military assistance.

    Although Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the committee charged with drafting the Declaration, the task fell to Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer. The document is mainly his work, although the committee and Congress as a whole made a total of 86 changes to Jefferson's draft.

    As a scholar well-versed in the ideas and ideals of the French and English Enlightenments, Jefferson found his greatest inspiration in the language and arguments of English philosopher John Locke, who had justified England's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 on the basis of man's "natural rights." Locke's theory held that government was a contract between the governed and those governing, who derived their power solely from the consent of the governed and whose purpose it was to protect every man's inherent right to property, life and liberty. Jefferson's theory of "natural law" differed in that it substituted the inalienable right of "the pursuit of happiness" for "property," emphasizing that happiness is the product of civic virtue and public duty. The concept of the "pursuit of happiness" originated in the Common Sense School of Scottish philosophy, of which Lord Kames was the best-known proponent.

    Jefferson emphasized the contractual justification for independence, arguing that when the tyrannical government of King George III of England repeatedly violated "natural law, " the colonists had not only the right but the duty to revolt.

    The assembled Continental Congress deleted a few passages of the draft, and amended others, but outright rejected only two sections: 1) a derogatory reference to the English people; 2) a passionate denunciation of the slave trade. The latter section was left out, as Jefferson reported, to accede to the wishes of South Carolina and Georgia, who wanted to continue the importation of slaves. The rest of the draft was accepted on July 4, and 56 members of Congress began their formal signing of the document on August 2, 1776.

    From thomas.loc.gov/