Sunday, April 22, 2018

(207) THE FOUNDING AMERICAN IDEALS & RIGHTS BETRAYED: FROM SLAVERY TO ABORTION.........May we make the ideals of our founding fathers a reality in our businesses, communities, and ultimately in our nation.


Paintings of the Declaration of Independence (1776) by Trumbull in Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  The signers of the declaration risked their lives and property for freedom which is costly to obtain and then maintain.

“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, ---” (From the Declaration of Independence  

        Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft and is considered to be the father of the Declaration of Independence.  He didn’t like his writing to be revised by the cosigners.  The Jesuit educated Catholic Charles Carroll (1737-1832), a plantation owner in Maryland, was one of the 56 signers.

The Constitutional Convention (1787) in Independence Hall, Philadelphia.  In the photo George Washington is recognizable and so is Benjamin Franklin who at 81 had to be carried in.  The original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights can be seen by all in the Archives Building in Washington, D.C.  It has excellent displays that give a panoramic view of United States History. 
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” (Preamble of the Constitution with James Madison the lead author.  There were 39 signers of the final document.  See
As can be seen above, both foundational documents are based upon Christian values.  Thomas Jefferson only had an indirect influence upon the Constitution through letters since he was abroad as the American minister to France.  His best friend, James Madison, whom he mentored, took leadership and is considered to be the Father of the Constitution and the architect of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments of the Constitution), having drafted much of it and promoted its ratification.  The United States Constitution was the first of its kind in the world and was a model for later constitutions.  Poland framed the second constitution which must have been influenced by Revolutionary War hero, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817), George Washington’s chief engineer and friend of Thomas Jefferson.

The constitutional convention was deadlocked and apparently not going anywhere.  Thus the members decided to take a recess for a few days for prayer and fasting.  When they returned, everything fell into place.  The system of checks and balances is ingenious as are the compromises to satisfy both small and large states.  Our country is indeed a nation under God.  Most of the founding fathers were men of faith as was the country as a whole.

     The French Revolution of 1789 had many of the same ideals, but went in a different direction.  Its basis was the so called secular and godless enlightenment.  It deteriorated into a bloody reign of terror, especially against the former royal aristocracy and the Church.  Many priests and nuns were guillotined for the faith.  Those who could fled.  Five hundred of them got as far as the New World in 1790 and founded the town of Gallipolis, Ohio, the French city.  My own St. Louis Church has its roots in the French 500.
     The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were revolutionary for the time.  With the world dominated by monarchies and their aristocracies, the colonies came up with the concept of government by the consent of the governed with basic freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, etc., due process, trial by an impartial jury, among others.  Have we remained true to these ideals?

       Interesting is that the founding fathers were for the most part men of God and well versed in the Bible with a Christian world view.  Although some were deists, 52 of the 55 framers of the Constitution belonged to a church.  James Madison, considered to be the father of the U.S. Constitution, as the author of the first draft, said: 

"We have staked the whole of all our political Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for Self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to The Ten Commandments of God."

If secularized America continues to drift away from God and the Ten Commandments (displayed in the United States Supreme Court) are prohibited from being displayed in our public schools and public places......can the vision of James Madison for our country long endure?  Then will our society eventually collapse as the Roman Empire did? 
      WomenOver our history these freedoms applied only to white males.  Women were not permitted to vote or run for public office until the 20th Century.  Women are still catching up to day in regard to equal pay for equal work and are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.  The glass ceiling for executive advancement has weakened considerably, but is still there.  

     Catholics were persecuted although not martyred.  It was intense under the Know Nothing Party when Catholic churches were burnt down in the 1840s.  In 1928 the Catholic candidate for president, Alfred Smith was vehemently opposed by Protestants.  Finally in 1960 a Catholic did become president in a close election, but John Kennedy’s faith was still an issue.

       Our treatment of the Indians is a blot on our history.  As the frontier expanded to the west, we forced them off of their lands through numerous wars.  We made treaties with the Indians and then broke them.  We forced the Indians to live on reservations where unemployment and alcoholism are high and the standard of living is low.  Today Indians have the freedom to leave the reservations and find opportunity outside, but to break out of that is not easy.   
Immigrants and Jews were victims of prejudice well into the 20th Century.  Groups, such as the Ku Klux Clan persecuted minorities while local governments looked the other way.  Unskilled workers were exploited with very low wages and poor working conditions.  None of these groups had equal opportunity for the better jobs and had to fight for their rights.   Because of the prejudice in hiring, many Jews simply started their own businesses and did well, causing jealousy and even more prejudice.  During a wave of Irish immigration in the 19th Century, there were signs:  “Irish need not apply” for job openings. 

Do our present problems with illegal immigration during a period of full employment have a xenophobic component?  Nevertheless, many, especially sons and daughters of immigrants have come a long way and many did achieve the American dream. Paying low wages did provide enough capital for self-sustaining expansion and the economic take off of the U.S. in the late 19th Century.
Thomas Jefferson’s plantation at Monticello, Virginia.  His home is in the upper left corner.  

A slave cabin.  Jefferson owned about 600 slaves over his life.
    Slaves were excluded all together, treated as subhuman property with no liberty and no rights at all.  The slave owners believed that they had the right to beat their slaves into submission, break up families in the slave trade, and even rape the women.  They kept most slaves unskilled and illiterate.  The universal Church condemned the slave trade, but the American Church, powerless to do much, lived with the status quo.  Slavery is the biggest blots on our history, a national historical sin begging forgiveness.

Slaves at work picking cotton.

A slave family in the old South.
    Many of the framers of the Constitution struggled with the issue of slavery or were opposed to it, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, but they still owned slaves.  Only George Washington provided for freeing all of his slaves in his will.  General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a hero of the American Revolution as well as in Poland’s fight with  Czarist Russia to exist as a country in the early 1790s, walked the walk.  His love of liberty was so intense that he bought slaves and gave them their freedom.  In addition he provided money in his will for freeing and educating slaves.
The Slave Trade - an advertisement posted in a public place.

        Since the founding fathers knew that the southern states would never join the union if slavery were abolished, they left it up to future generations to deal with it.  Slavery was too ingrained in the culture.  They considered slavery to be an economic necessity to maintain their life style.  The slave owners rationalized that they were “taking care of these ‘uncivilized inferior’ people who are incapable of taking care of themselves and treating them well”.  “We love our nigras”.  Thomas Jefferson, for example, had some of his male slaves learn to read and write and acquire other skills such as blacksmithing.

The permanent scars of brutal beatings.

        Don’t we also make ridiculous rationalizations today regarding the unborn?…..that the fetus is just a blob of tissue; they aren’t human beings or persons yet; that women can do anything they want with their bodies; these babies would be neglected; they would be an economic burden, an inconvenience, etc.  These rationalizations are made to maintain hedonistic life styles while working toward or maintaining a career.

     Are we even more cruel in depriving unborn babies of their right to life, using painful saline solution to extinguish their lives, dismembering their bodies in the womb even though they can feel pain and according to ultra sound videos resist and fight for their lives, (16th Century England called it quartering in the persecution of Catholics).  Do we claim to be gods in deciding which unborn baby should live and which pregnancies should be terminated (using abortionist language)…….in reality life exterminated?  How many gifted people, even geniuses, possible saints, and potential Hall of Fame athletes have we deprived of the right to live?   We can only imagine what they would have contributed to society, perhaps a cancer cure.  Who knows?
 Sin Has Consequences.  Thomas Jefferson saw slavery as depravity and predicted that our country would suffer the consequences for many years to come.  It was a prophecy come true.  Our country had to suffer through a long and bloody Civil War that almost destroyed the union.  Following that, we had years of segregation plus racial prejudice and strife that continue to this day.  That calls to mind how the Jews suffered through the breakup of the kingdom after King Solomon's sins of offering sacrifices to the pagan gods of his wives.
Will our nation suffer the consequences of having killed over 50 million babies since 1973 as sacrifices to the pagan gods of convenience, pleasure, and money?  Will we have a severe shortage of young people needed to support the old people?  China and Europe already have this problem.  Refusing to follow God and the resulting sins have consequences.  God doesn’t have to punish us; we punish ourselves.

     Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Staunton, Virginia.  After so many years of slavery, segregation, and racism, it was beautiful to assist at Mass presided by Fr. Joseph Wamala, who was born in Uganda.  To see an essentially white congregation of 600 families accepting a black pastor shows how far the Deep South has come, considering that even in Catholic churches blacks once had to sit in the back.  Who knows?  Some of Fr. Wamala’s distant relatives may have been slaves.  For years we sent missionaries to Africa; now they're sending missionaries to us because of a lack of vocations.
This  vibrant parish has a Crisis Pregnancy Center in the struggle for life, a boy scout troop, a Knights of Columbus council, library, and daily Eucharistic Adoration, averaging almost ten hours per day.  It is unbelievable how well dressed the congregation was at a well attended 7:15 am Sunday Mass.  The men wore suits and the women wore a head covering.  See
     We have come a long way in achieving racial and social justice while the pro-life vs. pro-abortion war still rages, but we still have a long way to go to truly achieve and maintain one nation under God with liberty and justice for all……born and unborn regardless of race, color, religion, ethnicity, or gender.  At least by prayer and example, in big ways or little ways……let’s do our part as citizens and leaders to make the ideals of our founding fathers a reality, first in your business and your community……and ultimately in our nation.  Then America will be truly great! 

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