Alabama sheriff Nick Smith is in trouble. At least with some folks. In their eyes, he’s engaged in an egregious activity that should be censured.
“What has sheriff Smith done” you wonder. “How has he violated his oath of office?”
Recently in the face of two local tragedies, sheriff Smith has asked the community to pray.
In one case, a 14-year-old boy riding a four-wheeler was accidentally hit by a sheriff’s deputy. In response, Smith posted on his facebook page: “It’s at this very trying time that we, as a county, should fall to our knees and pray fervently for mercy and peace. Now is not the time to place blame. Not on the deputy, not on the young boy, and most definitely not on his parents.”
This caught the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an organization, described by one reporter as “dedicated to challenging benign expressions of religiosity at every level of government.”
On November 26, the group wrote a letter to Sheriff Smith complaining about his prayer request and encouraging him to cease from this practice which they claim is unconstitutional.
“We consider it a great honor to be considered and to have received a wonderful letter from the ‘Freedom From Religion’ organization,” Sheriff’s Office community relations officer, T.J. Armstrong responded. “Proud to have a Sheriff that won’t bow to political pressure or the devices of the enemy!”
The FFRF is wrong. Both Biblically and constitutionally. The First Amendment of the Constitution provides freedom of religion. It was not intended to eradicate religion and purge religious speech from the public square.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals once ruled, “The purpose behind the Establishment Clause was not to create “a wall of separation between church and state.”
Furthermore, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) observed First Congress that approved the language of the Establishment Clause also provided for the appointment of chaplains in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The ACLJ also pointed out that on the same day Congress also passed the Northwest Ordinance, “providing for a territorial government for lands northwest of the Ohio River, which declared: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
It also worth noting that on March 23, 1798, less than 12 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution, our 2nd President, John Adams, called for a day of national prayer.
“The safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed.”
Similarity, our 4th President, James Madison called for a day of prayer on July 9, 1812. And our 16th President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of fasting in 1863.
It is apparent that our founding fathers from Franklin, Hamilton, and Washington believed in prayer and Divine Providence.
President Ronald Reagan expressed it this way:
“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible. Deep religious beliefs stemming from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible inspired many of the early settlers of our country . . . [and] laid the foundation for the spirit of nationhood that was to develop in later decades. The Bible and its teachings helped form the basis for the Founding Fathers’ abiding belief in the inalienable rights of the individual – rights which they found implicit in the Bible’s teachings of the inherent worth and dignity of each individual. This same sense of man patterned . . . the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution”
So, kudos to Sheriff Nick Smith for refusing to bow to the pressure of this godless group. More than ever in these turbulent times we need to follow the inspired Biblical command to pray.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman