[Breaker: Old Lies, New Vehicle]
Defending the truth is a dangerous proposition. Socrates was forced
to drink the cup of deadly hemlock. First-century Christians were covered
in pitch and used to light Nero's gardens. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and
Maximilian Kolbe were killed in German prison camps.
Liars, on the other hand, are often rewarded. Current events abound with examples
of men and women who lie and rationalize to get what they want. We know from experience
where the lie takes a culture, but learning those lessons demands the study of
authentic history. Philosopher and author George Santayana wrote, “Those
who forget the past are condemned to relive it.” At least a passing knowledge
of history is essential to understand and interpret the events of the present.
Knowing the mistakes of the past can help to avoid them in the future. But honest
and truthful historians are requisite.
decades of public schooling that has concentrated more on social engineering
than on education, the U.S. is producing a nation of historical illiterates who
cannot put major events in their correct century, much less understand and appreciate
their meaning. Teachers often present history in such a "politically correct" and
revisionist context that it contradicts reality. For example, children learn
that the Pilgrims were travelers who journeyed to a new land where they were
helped by the Indians and held the first Thanksgiving to express their gratitude
to them. The truth, that the Pilgrims escaped religious persecution and held
the first Thanksgiving to express their gratitude to God for surviving the bitter
winter, is left untold.
sin against truth by telling direct lies or by telling only part of the truth
and withholding important information. The latter is probably more insidious
because it usually has the ring of truth, and people can be fooled more easily.
In recent decades, religion has been purged from textbooks so students learn
a sanitized version of the past. How many people know, for example, that Christopher
Columbus' primary reason for setting out on his trip to India was to bring Christianity
to the Great Khan of China? Columbus wrote about it in his logbooks, and witnesses
like Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican priest whose father traveled
with him, affirmed it.
Columbus’ faith is expressed on almost every page of the log. He believed
his name, which means Christ-bearer, was providential and that God Himself had
called him to fulfill his great ambition. Queen Isabella, a fervent Catholic
monarch, supported him primarily for religious reasons. But students rarely learn
that. They are told Columbus was motivated by fame and fortune. That is a partially
true but incomplete picture. Spanish exploration of the New World was motivated
by God, glory, and gold — in that order. The Spanish are not quite the villains
so many textbooks make them out to be.
revision that has, perhaps, had the worst effect on our nation is the myth of "separation
of church and state." It is based on the lie that the Founding Fathers were
deists who had no intention of establishing a Christian country. This view conflicts
with the words of the Founders themselves, words like those of Virginia firebrand
Patrick Henry, who said "This great nation was founded... not by religionists
but by Christians... not on religion but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Benjamin Franklin, venerable patriarch of the Constitutional Convention, called
for daily prayer during its proceedings to beg God's blessing. He firmly believed
in the necessity for Divine help in the affairs of government and, in fact, declared
a few years earlier that, "He who shall introduce into public affairs the
principles of Christianity... will change the face of the world." John Quincy
Adams, sixth president, said the "glory of the American Revolution" was
that it joined "civil government with Christian principles," a direct
contradiction of the separation claim.
The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, stated that "Providence
has given to our people the choice of their rulers... and it is the duty, as
well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation, to select and prefer
Christians for their rulers." For over a hundred years, most states
required public servants to be Christians.
who wrote the Virginia Constitution that served as the model for the federal
document, warned that the country must embrace moral principles because "As
nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world... they must be in this. By
an inevitable chain of causes and effects... Providence punishes national sins
by national calamities."
James Madison echoed Mason’s concern, saying, "We have
staked the whole future of American civilization... not upon the power
of government, far from it. We have staked the future... of all of
our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us
to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
These are the same Ten Commandments that have been prohibited from
our schools and the halls of government, ostensibly because the Founders
intended it. Their own words tell a far different story. In his farewell
address, George Washington said, "Reason and experience both forbid
us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious
words were prophetic. The bogus principle of separation of church and state
was legally imposed in the 1962 Supreme Court decision, Engel
v. Vitale, which
removed prayer from public schools. The justices cited zero legal precedents
because there were none to cite. Since then violent crime has risen 544 percent.
Divorce, cohabitation, sexually transmitted diseases, unwed pregnancies, illiteracy,
and suicide skyrocketed as well.
If we look at the world reflected in a funhouse mirror, we get a distorted
picture. If we look at the past through a flawed lens, we misinterpret
what we see. Those who value truth must depend on historians who are
honest and whose worldview is accurate. If a historian is not rooted
in respect for the truth, everything he writes will be misleading.
Those who believe that the Incarnation, God made man in Jesus Christ,
is the central event of human history and examine historical events
from that perspective will be the most reliable sources. Their basic
principle is Truth Himself from whom all other truth emanates.
Back to Thorns and Roses archives
Thorns and Roses by Mary Ann Kretizer is copyright © 2008
by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation.
All rights reserved.
Mary Ann Kreitzer has a bachelor's degree in English from Trinity
College in Washington, D.C., and a master's degree in Public Administration
from George Washington University. As a certified instructor of Natural
Family Planning, she taught NFP for 15 years at Providence Hospital
in Washington, D.C.
She is the president of both Les
Femmes and The
Catholic Media Coalition, organizations dedicated
to promoting and defending authentic Catholic faith and culture.
Mrs. Kreitzer is active in Church and community affairs and promotes
full-time motherhood as an essential and irreplaceable vocation.
She especially values time spent with her five children, their spouses,
and her 18 grandchildren. She writes from the Shenandoah Valley of
Virginia on pro-life, pro-family, and Church issues.
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