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A Tale of Two Revolutions: The National Day of Prayer vs. A National Day of Reason

Yesterday Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx issued a proclamation declaring this day, May 2, 2013, an observation of a “National Day of Reason” in his city. This is an obvious smack in the face to Christians across the Country who set aside this day for the National Day of Prayer, a tradition that has spanned several decades. The inherent assertion in such proclamations is that it is unconstitutional and immoral to hold a national day of prayer, but that a celebration of secular-humanism is politically acceptable and socially polite. Such clear attempts to marginalize the Judeo-Christian Ethic in our culture will have a damaging effect on the future of freedom in our nation, and should not go unanswered. Such marginalization of our Judeo-Christian cultural values is continuing unabated, as exhibited in the recently revealed Obama Administration military policy of potential Court Martials for Christians who “proselytize” their faith while in military service. Such censorship is not in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution, and is in direct defiance of the principles of separation of church and state. It is an attack on religion, which is prohibited under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Such a cultural struggle reminds me of a work written by Charles Dickens titled A Tale of Two Cities, which is a commentary on life and culture during the French Revolution. In this important work Dickens declared “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” to highlight the divided nature of post-revolutionary France. Dickens was casting two contrasting views of society alongside one another to illustrate the divided nature of a democratic country that had no consistent set of beliefs. In the same spirit of telling a tale of two contrasting visions, I would humbly suggest that we now have a “Tale of Two Revolutions” taking place in America. It is, ultimately, a battle between the values of the American Founding, namely that our rights come from our Creator, and the humanist vision of the French Revolution, which asserted that government is the source of man’s rights. The outcome of this cultural clash will determine the future of free and responsible government in America.

Though the French Revolutionaries aspired to America-style Republicanism, they left out the most important ingredient: the acknowledgement of God as the source of human rights and dignity. Their failure to center their reformation on a belief in natural, God-given rights left open the possibility that a post-monarchial government would become more tyrannical than the monarchy it replaced.

That’s exactly what happened; the French Republic was based on secular-humanism, and economic socialism, both of which failed to secure minority rights and absolute freedoms for French citizens. The result was cultural and economic chaos that created a power vacuum, which paved the way for the rise of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The aftermath of the failed revolution, and the rise of the empire, left the common man in France worse off than under King Louis XVI, something French Revolutionaries never anticipated. As one might imagine, the psyche of the French citizenry was frayed, and what it meant to be a free citizen of a French Republic no one knew. There was no middle-class, there were only the politically well-connected that thrived off of proximity to power, and the working poor who endured subsistence-level living at best.

The glorious French Revolution had not only failed to create a sustainable American-style Republic, but had even erased the idea of dignified personhood. The secular-socialist state treated individuals as cogs in the wheels of industrial production, and believed people existed for the purposes of the State, not the State for the protection of the people. Thus, the title Les Miserables, which is the name of Victor Hugo’s famous work on the French Revolution, is exceedingly appropriate, for the people of post-revolutionary France were, indeed, “the miserable ones.” What had started as a revolution of human rights had descended into dictatorship, and the people were pillaged and the freedoms they fought for forgotten.

The warning that should be noted in all of this is that the French Revolutionaries claimed to be the standard-bearers of “reason,” and even renamed the Cathedral of Notre Dame the “Temple of Reason.” Reason has been, at least since the days of the French Revolution, a euphemism for secular-humanism replacing any public acknowledgement of God in a culture. The absence of any belief in God means that government, the highest human power, becomes like god and rules over the people without restraint. That’s how well-intended revolutions based on secular humanism descend into chaos and dictatorship.

On this National Day of Prayer, let us not forget that only a national acknowledgement of God makes our rights secure. Anything short of such an acknowledgement de-humanizes humanity, and jeopardizes the rights of all our citizens. Let’s stick with the ideals of the American Founding, not the dangerous and delusion ideology of the far left as embodied in the French Revolution.

May God Bless America.

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