Opinion

An Alabama Sheriff Gets it Right and Tells Atheists to Take a Hike

 

An English teacher I had in high school was from Jasper, Alabama. That was an oddity for someone living in Pittsburgh, PA. We rarely if ever ran into a Southerner. A teenager visiting one of my neighbors mesmerized us with her Southern accent, especially the way she said “Norfolk.” We were boys and easily impressed and still idiots.

Now we come to a Southern hero from Jasper, Alabama, who puts most lawyers, judges, and politicians to shame. T.J. Armstrong, the community relations officer for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office in Jasper, is telling the Freedom From Religion Foundation (except the religion of atheism) to take a hike, and he’s doing it with sound reasoning. The following is from ChristianNews.net:

A sheriff’s office in Alabama says that it will not be responding to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) requesting that it cease calling upon the community to pray in the wake of tragedies. The Walker County Sheriff’s Office does not believe it is in violation of the U.S. Constitution as the atheist-run Church-State separation group claims as even the state constitution cites the name of Almighty God.

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“They’re wrong,” Armstrong said. “The United States Constitution says that Congress shall not make any law [respecting an establishment of] religion. … The sheriff’s office nor its employees are Congress, so that doesn’t apply to what we’re doing here. And there’s nowhere else in the Constitution that says we cannot mention religion.”

Finally! This sheriff gets it. He understands the Constitution. We almost never hear what the Constitution actually says. We only hear that the Constitution demands a “separation between church and state” which means God must be separated from government. The words “church,” “state,” and “separation” are not found anywhere in the Constitution. Of course, as Christians, we believe in a jurisdictional separation between church and state; that’s a biblical given, but that’s not what the First Amendment is addressing.

The First Amendment is about the relationship between the Federal government and the states. At the time the First Amendment was drafted and voted on, states dealt with religious issues on their own terms. As the Federal Government has expanded its reach and authority, it has taken upon itself the power to regulate everything state governments do. God and State Constitutions

Sheriff Armstrong goes on to say, “The Alabama Constitution mentions God four times and it mentions God Almighty in the preamble. And then the oath that every elected official has to take in the state of Alabama ends in ‘so help me God.’ In any court system in Alabama, the witness oath ends in ‘so help me God.’”

Preamble:
We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama:

Section 1:
That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Section 186, witness oath:
“… so help me God.”

Section 279, oath of office:
“So help me God.”

The same is true in one way or another of every state constitution. Download a FREE three-page chart of God and the State Constitutions.

Let’s begin with a little American history. Our founders had no problem calling the nation to prayer. They did it often. “In Congress, Elias Boudinot introduced a resolution to create a joint committee to ‘wait on the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people a day of public prayer and thanksgiving.” This was in 1789, two years after the Constitution was drafted and the Bill of Rights was added that included the First Amendment. Why would they thank God for a Constitution that excluded him? It makes no sense.

The people at the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have been apoplectic after reading the following for the call for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.

That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord.

To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Heads of the members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have been exploding all over the place.

On March 23, 1798 — less than 12 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution — John Adams, the second president of the United States, called for a day of national repentance, prayer and fasting. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, similarly called for a national day of prayer on July 9, 1812, and President Abraham Lincoln also proclaimed a national fast day in 1863.

It’s long past times for cities, counties, and states to stand firm as the onslaught of atheism continues. John Adams wrote the following to James Warren on April 22, 1776:

The Management of so complicated and mighty a Machine, as the United Colonies, requires the Meekness of Moses, the Patience of Job and the Wisdom of Solomon, added to the Valour of Daniel.

It’s no less true today.

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