The Declaration of Independence gave liberty not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. . . . I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.
Abraham Lincoln, remark on his last official act as President of the United States in signing the bill placing “In God We Trust” on all American coins
This poem was written by one of my heroes, James Ireland, a Baptist pastor in Virginia during the years following the Revolutionary War. The persecution he experienced in a then predominantly Anglican state influenced the writing of the First Amendment (particularly freedom of religion) of the Bill of Rights.
America! exult in God
With joyful acclamation;
Who has, through scenes of war and blood,
Displayed to thee salvation.
When armed hosts,
With warlike boasts,
Did threaten thy destruction,
And crossed the main,
With martial train,
To compass thy subjection;
Thy sole resource was God alone,
Who heard thy cries before his throne,
Beheld with hate their schemes of blood
Impending o’er thee like a flood,
And made them know it was in vain
To make thee longer drag their chain;
That thou shouldst be
A nation free
From their unjust oppression.
Hail! now ye sons of liberty,
Behold thy constitution!
Despotic power and tyranny
Have seen their dissolution.
No clattering arms,
No war’s alarms,
Nor threats of royal vengeance;
Thy hostile foes
Have left off those;
Now own thy Independence.
Replete with peace, valiant we stand,
Freedom the basis of our land;
Blest with the beams of gospel light,
Our souls emerge from sable night;
Jehovah’s heralds loud proclaim
Eternal life through Jesus’ name,
Point out his blood
The way to God,
For our complete salvation.
Amid the blessings we enjoy
From God the gracious giver,
Let gratitude our hearts employ,
To praise his name forever;
Beware of pride,
Lest, like a tide,
It flows and gains possession;
‘Mongst empires all,
Both great and small,
Pride always brought oppression;
Pride finds the way to rule and reign,
And forges the despotic chain;
Denies we should enjoy or have
The right that God in nature gave.
Against this baleful evil fight
Resist its force with all your might,
And join as one,
Before the throne,
That God would keep us humble.
Most gracious God, thee we adore,
Whose mercy faileth never;
Thy guardian care we now implore,
Be thou our king forever;
May gospel rays
With an immortal lustre,
And teach us how
Our hearts to bow
To the Redeemer’s sceptre!
Oh may the silver trump of peace
Within our empire never cease,
Until the ransomed, holy race,
Are called in by sovereign grace.
Then may the conflagration come,
And sinners rise to hear their doom!
Thy chosen ones,
In endless songs,
Will shout forth hallelujahs!
A note of clarification: Based on the context of this quote, Moore isn’t advocating that religion and politics have nothing to do with each other. He’s advocating that we must not use Christianity as a means to an end.
Once a religion has become a means to an end, of national unity or public morality or anything else, it is no longer a supernatural encounter with God and is just another program.
It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for their county, for us. All we can do is remember.
Ronald Wilson Reagan, Remarks at Veteran’s Day ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 1985