One Nation Under Allah?

William Kilpatrick is an author and lecturer.  His latest book, Christianity, Islam and Atheism:  The Struggle for the Soul of the West was recently published by Ignatius Press.


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President Eisenhower famously observed that “our form of government has no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” Now that we are beginning to see the consequences when Muslims act on their deeply felt faith, it’s time to revisit Eisenhower’s statement. The question is, can we still afford to take an “I don’t care what it is” attitude toward religion? In short, does the content of a religion matter? Or are we to assume that all religions share the same essential truths, as Eisenhower seemed to assume?

It’s ironic that the part of Eisenhower’s statement which evoked criticism in the early 1950’s would pass almost unnoticed today, while the part that seemed unremarkable then would be challenged in many quarters today. When Eisenhower said, “our form of government has no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith,” he was merely echoing a widespread belief. Even William O. Douglas, the most liberal member of the Supreme Court at the time, and not a particularly religious man, opined in a 1952 decision that “We are a religious people, whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Since then, however, we’ve grown accustomed to the notion that religion ought to have little or no influence on our government and institutions. More and more, religion is looked upon as something that should be confined to the private sphere. As a result, religion has been pushed steadily out of public life—one Christmas crèche, one school prayer, one court decision at a time. These days, most of our institutions, particularly the press, the courts, and the schools, seem to presume that secularism is the officially established belief.

Conversely, the part of Eisenhower’s statement that caused many to snicker in the 1950’s would strike most today as self-evidently true. Numerous priests, pastors, rabbis, and theologians took Eisenhower to task for adding, “and I don’t care what it is” to his endorsement of religion. Long before the threat of Islamization, thoughtful Americans realized that the content of a religion mattered very much. They protested that a vague “faith in faith” would not be enough to sustain our form of society in difficult times.

By contrast, after several decades of multicultural indoctrination we have now reached a pass where “I don’t care what it is” seems the height of enlightened wisdom. Our present society is so thoroughly invested in the doctrine of cultural equivalence that hardly anyone dares to publicly express a preference or partiality for one religion over another—except, of course, if the religion happens to be Islam. In that case the neutrality rule seems dispensable. For example, New York’s city fathers granted almost immediate approval to the Ground Zero mosque project, but after nine years, the plan to rebuild St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, which was destroyed by the 9/11 blast, has met with nothing but opposition. But, apart from the occasional favoritism shown to Islam, the notion that all religions are equally OK suits us just fine.

Still, the introduction of Islam into the American equation forces us to look more closely than we ever have before at the church/state question. Is the state supposed to ignore religion, or should it encourage it? Are some religions more conducive than others to a healthy social order? Eisenhower’s famous statement provides a good starting point for framing some answers. “Ike” was right in saying our form of government doesn’t make sense without a religious foundation. The Declaration of Independence, for instance, has religion written all over it. No matter how you parse it, it’s difficult to read “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” “endowed by their Creator,” “appealing to the Divine Judge of the World,” and “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” as an endorsement of secularism. And the benefits of a religious foundation don’t end with the establishment of inalienable rights for individual citizens. Religion provides a service to the state, as well; a service that the state can’t perform for itself—at least, not very successfully. What is it? In brief, the sacred realm makes sense out of life. Religious faith imparts a conviction of ultimate meaning. And this, in turn, is good for the state because people with meaningful lives tend to be better behaved citizens.

“Ah, yes!” exclaims the half-educated leftist, “Religion—the opium of the people!” Not quite. Marx, who had a shallow understanding of religion, thought of religion as an escapist fantasy—an opium dream devised to keep people in a state of passivity. With their eyes focused on the next world, said Marx, believers wouldn’t work to change this one. But actual religious people aren’t like that. The more actively people practice their faith, the more likely they will be involved in trying to improve their community. That’s not just a theory, it’s been shown by a number of studies. Just as importantly, religious people feel a duty to improve themselves. Christians, for example, are supposed to try to conform their lives to Christ. The upshot is that people who take their religion seriously have strong incentives to practice virtue and avoid vice. All told, people who learn to govern themselves out of religious motives are better candidates for self-government than people who don’t practice self-restraint. This is what John Adams meant when he said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Thus, a society that hopes to maintain a free and self-governing citizenry will want to do everything it can to encourage and foster religion. Just because the government shouldn’t be in the business of establishing a specific religion, doesn’t mean it should be neutral as between religion and irreligion. If, as Adams wrote, our Constitution would only work with a moral and religious people, then it makes sense for the state to do what it can to provide a favorable climate for religion—as it does, for example, by providing tax exempt status to churches. Joe Sobran once made the point that although the First Amendment right to a free press implies a right not to read, along with the right to read, no one ever suggests that the state should remain neutral as between reading and non-reading. Reading, like religion, has its dangers but, on the whole, literacy is good for the health of a society. Thus, for example, lessons in reading and writing are not optional for the elementary school set.

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  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    It is grotesque by itself that nowadays we even need some second guessing as to which religion was meant by the Framers! Had then existed any nation founded on more than one religion?! What else but their own national religion could any leader in his right mind mean ?! Since the time of the Framers and up to Eisenhower our national religion was exclusively Christianity (with strong acknowledgement of Judaism). And exactly this is our exclusive religion: the best and dearest for us at least because it is ours!

    Indeed, Mr. Kilpatrick convincingly demonstrated that our Judeo-Christian faith is also OBJECTIVELY more superior than others, exemplifying the most successful achievement of the civilization so far.

    All that ludicrous guessing games as to "what is religion" were introduced by the anti-Christian progressive socialist crowd, giving Islam preferential treatment.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    I agree fully with the thesis of this article. Nevertheless, I don’t agree that Islam is a religion. I mean at first Islam was a religion, during the time when Muhammad lived in Mecca. However, after the Hijra, Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina, Islam morphed into something very different altogether: a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that seeks to subjugate the world via the imposition of Sharia as its main goal. The Islam after the Hijra only masquerades as being a religion to target the societies it intends to subjugate and subsume.

    In other words, after the Hijra, Muhammad transformed Islam from the realm of religion to the realm of jihad, politics, and conquest, and it was this significant transformation that enabled Islam to become so successful. Had Islam remained a religion after the Hijra like it was before in Mecca, Islam would have died out in the desert when Muhammad died and no one would have ever heard of Islam and Muhammad. However, because after the Hijra Muhammad turned to jihad, politics, and conquest, it set the stage for Islam to become one of the most powerful ideological forces in the world, as a mere hundred years after the death of Muhammad, Islam had conquered most of the known world.

    Furthermore, the doctrine of abrogation holds that the latter verses of the Koran, those verses of the Koran issued by Muhammad after the Hijra when he became rich and powerful, override the earlier verses of the Koran, those verses of the Koran that were issued during the time that Muhammad lived in Mecca when he was weak and feeble and Islam was a religion. Therefore, since the doctrine of abrogation abrogates and supersedes all the earlier peaceful verses of the Koran, those peaceful verses of the Koran that originated from the time when Islam was a religion, then it holds that Islam is no longer a religion, but instead the militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that it morphed into after the Hijra.

    Indeed, what faith-based religion restricts the freedom of conscience under the pain of death? What faith-based religion punishes blasphemers under the pain of death? What faith-based religion punishes apostates under the pain of death? What faith-based religion restricts the freedom of speech? What faith-based religion systematically persecutes and often violently oppresses females and unbelievers? What faith-based religion incorporates draconian punishments such as flogging, stoning, amputation, and beheading? What faith-based religion mandates jihad in the path of Allah for the spread of Islam? The answer is no faith-based religions do those sorts of things. Only Islam and Islam alone does those sorts of things because Islam is not a faith-based religion. Instead, Islam is a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that seeks to subjugate the world via the imposition of Sharia as its main goal, and it only masquerades as being a religion to target the societies it intends to subjugate and subsume.

    • TheHammer

      Very well said. How to get the West to understand this is a huge challenge.

  • Fernando

    Read Chalmers Johnson latest novel ((Dismantling the empire, America's last best hope)) he is predicting the collapse of America within next five years for many reasones, one of them bastered people like spreading heat and bloodthirsty , Chalmers says ((our continuouse depending on our mortal military force and the imperialist interventions in our relation with other countries to protect our imperialism, will lead America soon or later to three catastrophice consequences: 1 – an empire that exceeded the boundaries 2- endless wares 3- a terrifying finance bandruptcy……. these three sins and malicious immoral people like you will lead to the end of the american satanic empire …..

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Damn Chalmers Johnson sounds almost as mentally unhinged as Ron Paul and his merry ban of anarcho kooks. While the USA may go bankrupt, it won’t be by a long shot because of defense spending, and I hate to rain on your paranoid parade, but we don’t have an imperialist empire either.

      • davarino

        Yes, I worry about Ron Paul. He seems like a good man, but…… somethin fishy about him

    • RiverFred

      I guess Chalmers Johnson blames us for stopping Germany from wining WWII or stopping communism from ruling the world. That was a real evil thing the US did.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Mr Geert Wilders from the Netherlands has it right when he claims that if
    you take out all the murdering hate of non muslims and antisemitism from
    the Koran all you got left is something like the Donald duck.

  • Michael

    Mr. Kirkpatrick asks “but which Creator is the Declaration referring to?”

    A good starting point to answer that question is to refer to the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783. This is the legal document between Great Britain and the United States of America which codified not only the cessation of the hostilities of The Revolutionary War, but legitimized America’s status as a valid country amongst the nations of the world.

    Its opening line is “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, …”

    It directly acknowledges The Holy Trinity as God. Islam frames the Trinity as blasphemous polytheism. But the Judeo-Christian Deity, not allah, is the Creator mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and the Benefactor of “Blessings” referred to in the Preamble of the US Constitution. This is just one of many historical American documents which record the Creator as not just any god, but the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator and source of man’s rights.

  • andres de alamaya

    All religions had the potential of being highjacked by evil madmen and turned into a lunatic force such as Islam is today. Even in modern America there are still wannabe religious empire builders and enough mentally challenged followers to create a Jonestown. Evolution, education and general enlightening of devotees of most Western religions have brought a modicum of morality and civility to our cultures. Islam, sadly, has regressed and has become a cancer to the world. Chemo therapy or surgery is required.

    • lscott

      You forgot about radiation? :-)

  • Liberty Clinger

    "The Declaration states that men are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” but which Creator is the Declaration referring to?"

    Thomas Jefferson, author of our Declaration of Independence, answered the question in his second Inaugural address – the Creator in the Declaration is the Biblical God.

    “I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power…” Thomas Jefferson
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/jefinau2….

  • Liberty Clinger

    "Chapman maintained that even if Islam were “inherently violent and totalitarian” it would still deserve the full protection of the First Amendment."

    Steve Chapman is the moral and intellectual inferior of Samuel Adams. The First Amendmen does not protect political religion which is subversive of our sacred unalienable rights – political religion subversive of our Declaration and Constitution.

  • Liberty Clinger

    “In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live.” Samuel Adams
    http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html

  • Wesley69

    We need to change it to make sure that Sharia is never practiced here. I propose two amendments to the Constitution as such:

    While citizens have to believe as they choose, any religious practices or beliefs that violate a citizen's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, such things shall be prohibited; and such persons or organizations which violate these rights shall be charged with a federal crime.

    While a citizen may believe as they choose, that citizen or organization shall not try to impose their religious beliefs of lack thereof on the majority of citizens within a community or state.

    For those who believe in the Constitution, what changes we need, we need to go through the amendment processes to get things done.

    1- Amendment passes 2/3rd's of both the Senate & House.
    Amendment ratified by 3/4ths of the States – Law of the Land.

    2- 2/3rd's of the States call for a National Convention. Congress must call it.
    Amendment(s) passed in the Convention are sent to the States.
    3/4ths of the States ratify the Amendment(s) – Law of the Land

    We has had only one National Convention and that came up with the Constitution. We have never used this second method, but it is a way of getting around a National Government that is out of control and dangerous to our liberties.

  • Rob

    Just proves that violence works and that is why the leftwingers love Islam. They are hoping to harness that violence for their own means. Of course the Jihadists will never allow that happen. But, in the meantime they are willing to oblige these useful idiots.

    • http://www.jojojams.com JoJoJams

      Yep. The whore of Babylon (multiculturalism?) riding the ten-headed beast (islam/islamic ummah). Riding denotes control of the beast….. but doesn't the beast destroy her in the end? At least, that's what a certain book says about certain events…… Just sayin. A lot more to it than this quick blurb – but it all does most certainly fit the narrative……

  • Chezwick_Mac

    "universalism, rationalism, and self-criticism"

    It's not just under Islam that these hold no prominent place. Multiculturalism rejects – to varying degrees – all three.

    1) By its very relativist essence, it rejects "universalism", certainly the universalism of many Western concepts and values

    2) Our obsequious media and educational validation of Islam as a "religion of peace" – all historical and theological evidence to the contrary – clearly demonstrates the absence of "rationality" in the multicultural narrative

    3) "Self-criticism" is reserved only for Western culture in the multiculti schematic; it is perhaps the only example of departure in the relativist paradigm, and this exception is designed to discredit and demonize the West as part of a larger effort to subsume it under a despotic alternative

  • pemdun

    Islam is an ideology, engineered and created intelligently with all means including force to conquer and subjugate this planet below and within a totalitarian system. As a student and observer of UFO and alien reports, I suspect this religion is not a real religion, but a machination of an evil alien called "Allah" who want to dominate the world within one closed system. That is my last conclusion, as an Indonesian who is knowing all about this religion.

    • Fernando

      stupid and ignorante !!!!!!!!!

    • Fernando

      you are cancelling my comments and any comments that oppose your satanic ideas of heat and lias and destruction of the other < you only accept the other point of view that insult and atacking islam you are a punch of insans a mix of jews, zionists, and crazy christians fundamentalists!!!!!!

  • jones123peter

    Tennessee lawmakers began consideration of a bill that would make the practice of Shariah law a felony. The bill was introduced by conservative legislators with ties to ongoing efforts to block the construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City and the expansion of a mosque near Nashville.

    Inkomstuppgift

  • Mary

    Yes, muslims are a threat and islam is a terrible monstrous ideology exactly as nazism and communism. Why do you think that most communists(many of them are Democrats) are for the muslims? Because it is the same evil.
    actions:
    New Senate and new House, New Governors who will repeal HealthCare and impeach the President and his admimnistration. WE want a big change NOW

  • davarino

    Now thats change you can believe in hehehehehehe

    Thanks Obama

  • Bear from Russia

    You think you do have problems with muslims? Travel to Europe and you'll see how terrible Islam can be. By the way forget about communism it is dead for over 20 years already. Don't mess with ghosts.