The way it was written:
Americans of the twentieth century often fail to realize the supreme importance which the Founding Fathers originally attached to the role of religion in the structure of the unique civilization which they hoped would emerge as the first free people in modern times.
Many Americans also fail to realize that the Founders felt the role of religion would be as important in our own day as it was in theirs. In 1787, the very year the Constitution was written and approved by Congress, that same Congress passed the famous Northwest Ordinance. In it, they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. Here is the way they said it:
“Article 3: Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Notice that formal education was to include among its responsibilities the teaching of three important subjects: Religion, which might be defined as a “fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin and relationship to the cosmic universe as well as his relationship with his fellow men.” Morality, which may be described as “a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong.” and Knowledge, which is “an intellectual awareness and understanding of established facts relating to any field of human experience or inquiry (i.e., history, geography, science, etc.).”
Having established that “religion” is the foundation of morality and that both are essential to “good government and the happiness of mankind,” the Founders then set about to exclude the creeds and biases or dissensions of individual denominations so as to make the teaching of religion a unifying cultural adhesive rather than a divisive apparatus. Jefferson wrote a Bill for Establishing Elementary Schools in Virginia and made this point clear by stating: “No religious reading, instruction, or exercise shall be prescribed or practiced inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination.” Obviously, under such restrictions, the only religious tenets to be taught in public schools would have to be those which were universally accepted by all faiths and completely fundamental in their premises.
Skousen, W. Cleon (2013-09-09). The Five Thousand Year Leap (Kindle Locations 370-372). Verity Publishing. Kindle Edition.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
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