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A.D. and B.C. are no Longer P.C.

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Seemingly never satisfied with the successive gains made in their relentless assault on the Christian religion, the social engineers of “political correctness” are even unhappy with our calendar. There appears to be no end to their capricious desire to sanitize our society by expunging every indication of America's Christian heritage. Western civilization's reckoning of time is based on the Gregorian calendar that reflects a Christian worldview by dating the whole of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) refers to the years that preceded the birth of Christ. “A.D.” (Anno Domini—Latin for “year of our Lord”) refers to the years that have transpired since the birth of Christ.

For years, academicians have solved the “problem” by embracing the designations “C.E.” and “B.C.E.,” i.e., “Common Era” and “Before the Common Era.” Of course, such attempts to restructure our values are designed to avoid “offending” or being “insensitive” to those who do not share the Christian worldview. But the efforts are fraught with self-contradiction, and cannot be sustained consistently. While resorting to C.E./B.C.E. may be more palatable to Jews, atheists, agnostics, Hindus, and Buddhists, what will be done to accommodate the 1.2 billion Muslims—who are immigrating to America in increasing numbers? Their calendar reckons time based on the designation A.H. (after the Hegira). Hegira in Arabic means “flight,” and refers to the year (A.D. 622) that Muhammad fled Mecca and went to Medina, marking the beginning of the Islamic era. Muslims will never be fully content with any other means of reckoning time. Pluralism and “political correctness” are self-contradictory.

Many of these ardent zealots insist that they are merely championing the will of the Founding Fathers, who, they maintain, intended to establish a religionless society in which all religions and philosophies receive equal standing and consideration. They insist that the Constitution enjoins “separation of church and state” in which no one religion is given public sanction—certainly not to the exclusion of any other religion. But this claim is complete nonsense and historical bunk. Though these social liberals have been rewriting American history, obliterating public allusions to Christianity, and capitalizing on nationwide ignorance for over 40 years, the truth is still existent for those who wish to examine it.

Were there no Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, or atheists in America at the time the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and launched the great American republic? History shows that there were! While these minority viewpoints were not persecuted, the Framers did not adjust their own belief system to accommodate those who held opposing worldviews. As a matter of fact, they did not advocate pluralism. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (one of two men who share the title the “Father of American Jurisprudence”) declared in his monumental multi-volume Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States:

The real object of the [First A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government (1833, 3:728, emp. added).

Indeed, the Founders were adamant in their insistence that Christianity must remain the foundation of America. For example, after serving two terms as president of the United States, in his farewell address to the nation, George Washington explained:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.... Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle (1796, emp. added).

To what religion did Washington refer? One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll, in a letter to James McHenry on November 4, 1800, expounded further: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added). Another Founding Father, Noah Webster, in an October 16, 1829 letter to James Madison, likewise insisted: “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government...and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence” (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253, emp. added).

The second president of these United States held the same viewpoint. After serving two terms as vice-president alongside President George Washington, on October 11, 1798, John Adams affirmed: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (1854, 9:229, emp. added).

Observe that these Framers and Founders went on record, stating that should this nation ever abandon the Christian religion and Christian morality, the nation would be subject to inevitable collapse. Their words were prophetic. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, expressed the sentiments of the Founders when he stated: “The foundation of our society and our government rests so much on the teaching of the Bible that it would be difficult to support these foundations if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country” (“Coolidge-Bible,” 2004, emp. added). As French historian Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his remarks regarding America in the 1830s: “How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?” (1945, p. 307). The moral tie of America has experienced significant erosion over the past 50 years. If Tocqueville, and these American predecessors were correct, America is moving swiftly toward destruction.

So should we abandon B.C. and A.D. in deference to those who reject the Christian worldview? To do so would be to abandon the very foundations of American civilization. It would be to abandon the foundational document of the country—the United States Constitution. How so? Just prior to the listing of the 39 signatories—men who placed their signatures on this paramount document as indication of their approval of its contents—the Constitution's own closing remark reads:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names (“The United States…,” emp. added).

Will the Constitution be censored and altered to incorporate “C.E.”? Will the ACLU and the liberal social engineers attempt to remove this unmistakable allusion to the Framer's Christian orientation as well?

REFERENCES

Adams, John (1854), The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company).

“Coolidge-Bible” (2004), Minnesota Family Council, [On-line], URL: http://www.mfc.org/contents/transcript.asp?id=996.

Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York, NY: University Press of America).

Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).

Story, Joseph (1833), Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, and Company).

de Tocqueville, Alexis (1945 reprint), Democracy in America (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf).

The United States Constitution, [On-line], URL: http://uscode.house.gov/pdf/Organic%20Laws/const.pdf.

Washington, George (1796), “Farewell Address,” [On-line], URL: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/washing.htm.




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