Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

July 9, 2014

Abacus Column: A nation based on moral and religious principals?

CROSSVILLE — Actually paying attention to the pastor’s sermon on Sunday, I was riveted by one sentence within his sermon entitled, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” The pastor applied the last sentence of a John Adams quote, the entirety of which follows:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”-John Adams 

I am a citizen of this land of liberty and a student of admittedly limited knowledge of the world; however, my education has been based on above average world travel and a passion for reading about and viewing history, as it is made. You may agree with me that current times appear as fraught with danger as any time in my seven plus decades of memory. Certainly, radical Muslim terrorism is a factor; however, I am even more concerned about the United States remaining a bastion of “moral and religious people.”

It seems that nearly every day our media informs us of crimes against citizens by individuals in lofty positions of trust; so called educated leaders of elected office, business, medicine, sports, technology, and even entertainment. You may question the addition of entertainment on this list of professions; after all, haven’t there always been less than exemplary individuals in the movie and TV business? The answer is yes; however, moral crimes can be as damaging to society as drugs, monetary or espionage crimes. I will not mention specific programs, but the lives of celebrities with less than moral values are flooding TV programs these days. How can parents shield their children from these influences? They cannot. They can only follow John Adams advice and armor their children with moral and religious principles. 

If you are not familiar with John Adams, allow me to introduce him. John Adams lived from Oct. 30, 1735 to July 4, 1826. He was one of four U.S. presidents to reach the age of 90. His great-great-grandfather and grandmother landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. As a youngster, he skipped school to hunt and fish; however, he loved to read and became a champion of books and reading. He earned two degrees at Harvard. As a lawyer, he defended the British soldiers accused of the Boston Massacre at Lexington. Abigail Adams became his loving wife and advisor. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in the draft of our Declaration of Independence from England. He would serve as vice president to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, after he had previously served as our second president and was defeated for a second term by Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson died the same day and a few hours before John Adams. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence that later became presidents died on the 4th of July, 50 years after risking their lives by endorsing that great document.

I believe it is of great value for citizens to understand John Adams view of religion, government, and education. The following quotations are as enlightening today as when they were penned by Adams two centuries ago. I welcome your consideration and response.

Selected quotes of John Adams on religion:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Muslims, and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohammedan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

 

“The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan Nation.” 

 

On government:

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” 

 

“...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.” 

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